Laurel Bellows

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I am a proud member of a profession that is at once both wonderful and challenging.I constantly remind myself and others that lawyers matter.Lawyers matter because we have sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution, to defend what is good in our society.Lawyers matter because we hold the keys to our justice system. Lawyers matter because we are voices for the voiceless. Lawyers matter because we promote diversity, equal opportunity and access to justice for everyone. So today let us celebrate your choice to enter a distinguished profession.As you embark upon your legal career, face down naysayers who question your decision…

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Laurel Bellows

A Passion for the Practice

I want to share my story about what Passion Forward means to me.My passion is about the practice of law. Every day, I am grateful for the ability to speak with clients and help them achieve justice and equitable treatment.When I was starting out as a lawyer, I never imagined that the law would give me the opportunity to become an advocate — to change the juvenile justice system in Chicago, to speak out about the gender pay gap and to fight human trafficking. I have found my passion in applying my skills as both a lawyer and an advocate.Whatever…

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Laurel Bellows

Negotiating Pay: Preparation Is Power

Congratulations! Your job interviews at a law firm or other business have gone well, and you are fairly certain you will be offered a position. Soon you will have to negotiate your pay.My professional expertise is in executive compensation matters, as well as employment and severance agreements and benefit plans, and I understand the importance of smart compensation negotiations.Preparation is key — disciplined preparation and not just a few notes jotted down on the run. First, think about your dream agreement and write it out. Describe to yourself the terms you would like to reach with your prospective employer.Then do some…

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Laurel Bellows

5 Top Tips for Networking in Large Groups

Face-to-face networking, whether done one-on-one or in a large group, can be challenging. In the first of this two-part series, I will share my top five secrets to successful networking in a group.1. Be ready to work the room, but narrow your focus. Do not attempt to meet everybody. If there is an invitation list or some way to figure out who will be at the event, identify the people you want to meet. Think of the large networking event not as an opportunity to accidentally make useful connections but as an occasion to connect with people you planned in…

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Laurel Bellows

3 Tips on How to Succeed at the Top

I recently spoke to young lawyers about leadership and entrepreneurship at a webcast event organized by Ms. JD. It was a high-energy, enthusiastic crowd.There were so many good questions that we ran out of time to address them all, so I would like to revisit a crucial query that emerged: What are the top three things women lawyers can do to succeed at the highest levels of our profession?First, there is no substitute for hard work — be seen, be heard and work hard. Volunteer for the toughest jobs, and do them well. Volunteer for career-making cases. Use pro bono…

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Laurel Bellows

Love the Law

February is the month for one of my favorite occasions: Valentine’s Day!At this time when we think about love, flowers and people we care about, I like to remind myself why I am passionate about being a lawyer. I have found my passion in applying my skills as both a lawyer and an advocate. I never imagined that law would give me the opportunity to change the juvenile justice system in Chicago, to advocate for women and now to combat human trafficking. I am passionate about heading the American Bar Association, an organization that fights for equality and freedom around…

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Laurel Bellows

Move Your Career Forward — Whether or Not You Make Resolutions

There are two types of people in this world: those who make and keep New Year’s resolutions and those who do not. I admit I fall into the latter category, as my discipline generally fades by Jan. 3 or 4!Making resolutions is about setting goals. Some of us easily establish goals for ourselves and are disciplined about following through with them. For example, some of us always knew that we wanted to be lawyers — and we even knew what kind of lawyers we wanted to be — and we focused laserlike on achieving that goal. Perhaps you always wanted…

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Laurel Bellows

Give the Gift of Mentoring

’Tis the season for giving. What is the best gift you can give your peers?The gift of mentoring!While young lawyers may think that mentors need to be older and more experienced, a mentor can be any age and experience level. If you are serving as a mentor, take a few extra hours to reach out and offer face-to-face advice. There is just no substitute for personal advice — especially at year’s end, as lawyers evaluate the career choices they made throughout 2012 and look ahead to 2013. December is an ideal time as a mentor to check in, at lunch…

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Laurel Bellows

Equal Opportunity For Editors-In-Chief

Tag: You’re it! The line from the children’s game relates to being “tagged” by a corporation as an up-and-coming employee.  If you are “it,” you have caught the attention of upper management and will be given high-visibility assignments. You are the one to watch.I thought about “tagging” when I read about the new report, prepared by Ms. JD in conjunction with New York Law School, showing that among ABA-approved law schools, women on average in 2011-12 held only 31 percent of editor-in-chief positions at law reviews. An editor-in-chief position on a résumé opens doors to a high-profile law career. When…

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Laurel Bellows

From the Desk of ABA President Laurel Bellows: Sponsor Your Way Up the Ladder

A mentor alone is not enough to catapult a talented woman lawyer up the career ladder. For real career advancement, women need sponsors as well as mentors.What’s the difference? A mentor gives advice, serves as a sounding board and makes suggestions, for example, on strengthening your work or searching for a job. A sponsor is an active campaigner (inside and outside an organization) on behalf of a particular woman. Even when a sponsor’s protégé isn’t present, a sponsor will tout her abilities: “Why not consider Rebecca for this position/for this client’s team/to handle a particular case? She’ll be terrific.”One Catalyst…

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