Susan Smith Blakely

Young Lawyers:  Ask for What You Want!

Asking for what you want?  Ah.  It is much harder than it sounds.  But, you must master the fine art of identifying what you want and asking for it.  Especially at work where every opportunity lost can negatively affect your career path. My friend Anne Loehr just posted an article about this, and I thank her for that.  As a leadership consultant to companies and firms, she has done a lot of thinking about this.  She isn't always writing for lawyers, but the same rules apply throughout the working world. Anne rightfully points out that the response "I don't care" is…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What All Lawyers Need to Know about Origination Credit

If you are a lawyer just beginning your career, you probably don't spend a lot of time worrying about origination credit.  In fact, maybe you never heard of the concept.  That makes sense.  You have a lot of other things to worry about that affect you on a daily basis in pursuit of improving your skills and becoming the best lawyer you can be. But there is a difference between "worrying about" and "being informed about."  As far as I am concerned, every private practice lawyer, regardless of experience, needs to at least be familiar with the concept of origination…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Future of Billable Hours—- What All Young Lawyers Love to Hate

Billable hours.  Ugh.  The end all and be all in most law firms today.  Together with client origination, billable hours have been the measure of success for law professionals for generations. 2200 annually.  2000.  1950.  It really doesn't matter.  The ounce of flesh that is exacted to reach those numbers is considerable and should be of primary concern. Wellness of professionals, wholesome law firm values, training young lawyers to become law firm leaders, and client service should matter most --- not billable hours. Despite these countervailing considerations, we keep concentrating on leveraging and law firm profits, all of which derive…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Law Firms Should Follow Corporations In Looking Beyond Self-Interest

Law firm greed.   I have been writing about the negative impact of greed in the law profession since 2016.  It was then that I first discussed how the greed manifested by large law firms is undercutting the professionalism of the business of law.  Those comments appeared in an article I penned for Corporate Counsel in its September issue that year, and I have discussed the concepts many times since in articles and remarks to legal audiences. In essence, I argue that it was the greed of Wall Street that brought our economy to its knees in 2008, and it will be the…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Family Planning For Women Lawyers

Last week's blog addressed the realities of non-equity partnership.  As pointed out in that blog, there is a lot of difference between equity partnership and the increasing non-equity partnership cohort.  If you have to refresh your memory, this might be a good time to do it because family planning for women lawyers builds on some of the themes of that blog. For example, even though non-equity partnership may not include all that women lawyers are seeking, it could be a fine landing place for them while they are trying to make motherhood and lawyering work. When making that decision for…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Reality of Non-Equity Partnership

Lawyers at all levels of practice can be valuable members of the profession and can find satisfaction in their work.  That is a given, and the decision where you want to fall along the gamut is up to you.  But, before you put that decision in motion, be sure that you understand the terms.  For law firms, that includes being familiar with the ins and outs of non-equity partnership. Non-equity partnership sounds good to many young lawyers who think they understand the demands of equity partnership and want something less. The thinking goes something like this:  I will still have an…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Lawyers of the Sandwich Generation

I know a little bit about the Sandwich Generation.   I was 30 years younger than my mom, and, at the same time that she was becoming aged, my own two children were teenagers.  It seemed like everyone needed help --- or tending --- and I knew that I had to find a way to be there for my mom. So it goes.  If you ever have found yourself in that situation, you know that you are caught between two devotions just like a big ole piece of bologna is caught between two delicious pieces of bread with no way out. …

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Could Use Golf “Fore” Business

This is where I tell you to do what I say and not what I do.  I am not a good example of what I am about to tell you. I was raised in a family of golfers.  My grandfather was a par golfer plus and designed a few courses.  He taught my mom to play golf when she was a teenager --- long before there were many women on the links.  My mom was a good golfer, better than my dad, if truth be told.  She loved the game and played at least three days a week during the…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What Happens When Women Rule?

I never have met Swanee Hunt or, more accurately and respectfully, Ambassador Swanee Hunt.  She is the former US ambassador to Austria, the founder of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the founder of Seismic Shift, an initiative dedicated to increasing the number of women in high political office. We share a mutual very good friend, but I keep missing Ambassador Hunt at events.  I hope that changes one day soon because we both are dedicated to advancing women in positions of leadership.  And I would like to thank her for her work. In a recent…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Dangers of Leaking Young Lawyer Talent

For more than a decade I have been urging law firms to retain and advance the talent of women lawyers.  The three-book Best Friends at the Bar series has been my effort to spread those messages, and most recently I have expanded my work to include cautionary messages about ignoring and losing the talent of all young lawyers --- men and women alike --- in What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2018).   Those books and the hundreds of blogs and articles I have written and speeches I have given include…

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