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jennyrpatten

Five Tips to Maximize Your Efficiency When In-House

When someone asks what in-house practice is like, I often reply that it is like drinking from a firehose. The legal department is the starting and ending point for a lot of projects and issues, and tackling everything that hits your desk without a game plan can feel daunting. While everyone takes a different approach to managing their workload, I’ve outlined a few tips that I’ve initiated during my in-house practice that help me maximize efficiency while in the office. 1. Keep Organized. Staying on top of your various task lists, emails, meeting invites, updates and follow-ups can feel like…

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mjtimko13

Something Blue:  Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession – On Foie Gras & Food Faux Pas

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I experienced heightened self-awareness about my blue-collar roots once I entered the legal profession.  For this month’s blog post, I wanted to share some of my awkward workplace encounters involving food.  I am fully aware that these awkward food encounters are trivial in comparison to larger socioeconomic issues such as structural inequality.  However, I think it’s important for us first-generation lawyers to share our personal experiences, frustrations, and lessons learned.     As a newly minted lawyer, I found that the majority of my coworkers appeared to possess sophisticated palates and expansive culinary vocabularies.  Casual lunchtime conversations typically revolved around food (in addition to work…

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ktran227

Why Can’t Law Firms Retain Their Female and Minority Lawyers? Because Conformity is Exhausting.

A common topic of conversation among my female professional friends is how much of our work lives are controlled by gender and racial stereotypes.  The most common one is being told to smile.  I can’t tell you how many times in my working life that a male partner or associate has walked into my office while I was deep in thought working on a brief or an important client memo and looked at me and said, “is there something wrong?” or “are you ok?” When I say that everything is fine, they often say something like, “you’re not smiling, you…

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Millennial Women

Purpose over Paycheck

As millennials, we’re certainly interested in pursuing our careers and investing in our professional development. But we also are interested in doing more than just “work”—we want to find ways to give back to our communities and help change them for the better. This month, we wanted to focus on how, as millennial attorneys, we can emphasize the purpose or meaning in our careers over just receiving a paycheck. As attorneys (or future attorneys!) we have some unique opportunities, including: Pro Bono. Nearly every state bar encourages attorneys to do pro bono work, and some even have a mandatory reporting…

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jennyrpatten

Problems to Solve, or Tensions to Manage?

A few days ago, I ran into a colleague that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks at our company café. As we caught up while standing in line to order our lunches, he commented on the fact that I carry two phones with me and asked why. I explained that I try to keep my personal and work communications separate, and this allows me to “put away” my work texts and emails when I’m spending time with my kids by physically placing my work phone in my purse for a few hours. I admitted that while this tactic had…

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ktran227

Pay and Power Disparities and the Retention of Female Lawyers

Women lawyers leaving big or established firms are not always leaving law firm life.  Many are leaving to start solo or small law firms.  The reason may come down to the numbers.  According to the December 2018 report by Major Lindsey & Africa, male partners earn 53 percent more than female partners at top U.S. law firms. The reasons for this disparity include originations and billing rate discrepancies.  Add to that the issue that the amount of originations is often a key factor in making equity partner versus non-equity partner at many law firms.  Equity partnership means more voting power and…

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XpYmu98NtP

The Mental Load: Unlock the Golden Handcuffs

Feeling trapped in a job, career, or any other aspect of your life can be crippling. For a handful of years, I felt trapped in the BigLaw life. We all know the “golden handcuffs” analogy, but viewing things now “from the other side”, I’m here to tell you that you are not imprisoned. Unless you truly are in prison, you have a choice every morning when you wake up about what you’re going to do that day. No really, you do! You’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whatever type of…

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Caambridge

Managing the Costs of Law School

The costs associated with seeking higher education can be astronomical. At this point in time, debt is an issue that plagues many students and their families. As the nation becomes more sensitive to the negative implications associated with student debt, it is essential to seek ways to keep the costs of receiving an education low. 1. Make sure you apply to law school early The majority if not all law schools have rolling admission. Rolling admissions means the law school evaluates applications as they are received and continue to evaluate applications until the seats are filled for the incoming class.…

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mjtimko13

Something Blue: Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession - Finding Purpose and Giving Back

As I continue to move forward in my career and slowly chip away at my student debt, I feel more compelled to pay it forward.  I often wonder whether us “Straddlers” and first generation lawyers have a greater propensity to engage in volunteer work, perhaps as a way to reconcile the duality of gratitude (for how far we have come) and guilt (for what we may have left behind).    I attended a pro bono training several years ago, sponsored by an area bar association.  At the time, I had been feeling a little uninspired by the daily grind of my work in healthcare…

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Millennial Women

What’s in a number?: Navigating different personality types at work

Has anyone else gotten swept up in the personality test craze lately? Here, over the last six months, it seems like every leadership or team-building program we’ve been to has involved some discussion of the Enneagram test, 16 Personalities or the Myers-Briggs, just to name a few. As an aside, Melanie, Elise and I all took the Enneagram test this past winter. (Fun fact, we’re all 9’s!) These tests can be helpful in a variety of ways. Some identify your “default” tendencies—the ways you process information or what motivates you to action. Some help explain how you relate to others.…

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