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The Mental Load: Are You Plagued by Perfectionism?

Perfectionism seems to be the target of numerous attacks lately. Psychology-slanted articles describe it as an affliction that is “a very bad thing” – causing crippling fear of failure, procrastination, unrealistic standards, and low self-esteem. Business coaches preach the gospel of “launch before perfection”, and a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine (incidentally, authored by a former law firm associate), goes so far as to postulate that “Perfectionism is THE [emphasis added] biggest obstacle to productivity” and “If you won't send something until it is perfect, you’re not pulling the trigger quickly enough.” Call me sick if you want, but I…

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Three Quick Ways to Make Networking Part of Your Routine

If you've been following along, we've talked about how to be a giver when networking, how to not overextend yourself while being a giver, and how to leverage being a panelist - this month I want to touch on how to fit all this networking into your already busy schedule. You’ve heard it hundreds of times: You need to network! If you want to build your client base, get referrals, establish your brand and be a better lawyer, networking is required. But when you’re already busting your tail to bill 1,800 (or more) hours per year, and striving to be involved in…

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The Limiting Effect of Biology on a Legal Career

In private practice a lawyer’s reputation is built on the number of times they have done something: the number of times they have gone to trial, successfully settled a case, argued in a specific court, or argued before a certain judge.  Getting as many opportunities as you can early in your career shapes the opportunities and the clients you will have in your later years.  But for some female lawyers, this requirement does not coincide well with their own biology – the choice to have children and to prioritize the needs of their family.  While this is not true for all,…

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Something Blue: Embracing Your Blue-Collar Roots and Overcoming Self-Doubt

For this month's post, I wanted to write an article about "impostor syndrome."  While scrolling through LinkedIn, I noticed a recent post referencing "imposter syndrome."  Cue feelings of self-doubt.  So I quickly did a Google search of "impostor or imposter" and discovered that both versions are acceptable.  Nevertheless, my inner critic started questioning whether I should do more research (out of fear of making an egregious grammatical error) or, just select one way to spell it, be consistent throughout the post, and move on with my life.  Oh the irony!  By now, you're likely familiar with impostor syndrome and its prevalence in the legal profession.  In the 1970s, two clinical psychologist coined the phrase “impostor phenomenon” to describe…

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You Can’t Be Everything to Everyone: Top Ten Pieces of Wisdom from In-House Mentors

As I come up on ten years of in-house practice, I’ve started to reflect on my legal practice journey up to this point.  From the time I had to hide in the restroom to make a quick call to my outside counsel for confirmation on a particular point of law, seconds before I had to walk into a board meeting, to the closing where I was so exhausted I tripped over my own feet and faceplanted into the floor in front of about 20 executives, I’ve had a lot of memorable moments.  Most memorable, though, are the lessons I’ve picked…

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The FDA on CBD: What to Know Before Opening Shop

Many people assume that any and all hemp-derived CBD products are legal and can be sold pursuant to passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. But those people are wrong and could unknowingly place themselves in legal jeopardy. For practitioners looking to break into the cannabis law field, understanding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) position on CBD products in food or cosmetic products is a good way to start. The 2018 Farm Bill exempts hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD, from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). But the FDA has made clear that it retains authority to regulate products…

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The Art of Networking: Introvert Edition

An introvert is typically characterized as an individual who focuses on internal feelings rather than external sources of stimulation. An introvert is typically drained by being around too many people, enjoys solitude, and naturally learns through observation. For individuals who identify as introverts, it can be difficult to network because networking requires opening up to others, which expends energy. It is well known that the legal profession is quite social and requires a certain level of relationship-building that is typically created through networking. Because of this dynamic, it is important for an introvert to get comfortable with networking. Identifying as…

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Millennial Women

Is “Busy” the new buzzword?

Ask anyone how they are doing, and one of the most common responses (other than maybe “fine”) is “busy.” How are you? Busy. How’s your summer? Busy. How is so-and-so? Busy. Certainly nothing is wrong with being busy- none of us want to sit at home or at work bored to tears. It can even be a good thing! The best kind of busy is when you’re able to fill your professional and personal calendars with work and commitments that you are excited about and are meaningful to you. But—as a society—don’t you think we could all benefit from taking…

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How to Get Leadership Positions to Build Your Practice

Ask most experienced attorneys how they built their practice and they’ll tell you they “got involved” in the community or professional organizations. Maybe this advice doesn’t always use the term “leadership” but that’s what it means. If you really want to “get involved” and build your reputation, you need to do some real work rather than just paying a membership fee and adding your name to a list. This may be a little scary for young attorneys, since it is easy to think that you haven’t paid your dues long enough to qualify as a leader. It may be easy to…

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The Double Glass Ceiling: A barrier to female and minority retention

One reason for the inability of law firms to keep their female and minority lawyers may come down to two words: business development.  Or more accurately, business generation and the lack thereof.  I met a female in house counsel at a conference last fall.  She had gone in house after 8 years in a law firm.  I asked her what made her go in house and her answer was that she had been practicing in a very niche practice at her firm that wasn’t easy for her to develop her own business.  I asked other female in house counsel at the…

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