Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers: Help in Transitioning to a New Firm

  The legal field is very dynamic these days and has been that way for awhile.   Most lawyers change practice venues multiple times in their careers, and research shows that millennials will change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. Up until the 1990's, lawyers often stayed with one -- or possibly two -- firms most of their careers.  Sounds hard to believe now, but it's true.  However, the boom economic days of the 90's saw law firms grow in size and spheres of influence exponentially, and lawyers started moving around like bees in a hive…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Do Women Lawyers and Other Women Leaders Have to Be Nice?

A lot has been written in the last few days about what makes a good woman leader.  Those discussions have been within the context of the political arena, which is not too surprising because the Speaker of the House of Representatives is a powerful woman, and the roster of persons announcing to run for POTUS in 2020 is full of powerful women. So we have read here how Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota and proclaimed presidential candidate, is perceived by some of her staff as "not nice" and even "mean."  And today we read here that Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, uses her…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Need Men to “Step Up” Like They Did

It was reported in the NY Times and other news outlets recently that male managers are afraid of mentoring women in the #METOO Era.  Maybe you read about it.  Or maybe you were watching the discussion between Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC and her guests last week about those reports.  I was watching, and it was incredible.  If you did not catch it, check it out here. Or maybe you were at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January and heard the buzz about it there.  Apparently lots of males from around the world were sharing their fears. I have…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Diversity in Big Law—- An Ultimatum from Corporate America

A very large group of general counsels (170 to be exact) posted a letter and signatures on a LinkedIn group page this week in support of diversity of women and minorities in law firms.  The letter was a direct result of discussion after the Paul Wise law firm announced a new class of partners in December, complete with photos of them all.  That would be all white males and one white female. The reaction to the lack of diversity was harsh throughout the profession and in the media, and the LinkedIn effort soon was launched by Michelle Fang, chief legal officer of…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Must Retain the Law Profession’s Foundational Values

In case you missed my recent article in the ABA Journal, I am including some of it here.  The content is very important to all women lawyers as women rise in the profession to levels of supervision and management.  They must be cheerleaders for each other, and they must not give into temptation to right the sins of the past leveled by male practitioners against women in the profession.  To do so would be to unwise and shortsighted.  Here is some of what I wrote in the ABA Journal article: The senior women need to remember the words of former U.S. Secretary of…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Be Aware of Warning Signs of Instability in Young Lawyers

  The facts shared this week in an open letter from the widow of a Sidley lawyer were shocking and heartbreaking.  The suicide of a 42-year-old partner in the LA office raised many issues of our responsibilities as lawyers to our colleagues. It was discovered too late that this suicide victim suffered from a form of perfectionism that created so much pressure, anxiety and insecurity that the only way out seemed to be to take his own life.  If those facts came as a complete shock to everyone around him, that would give those of us in the profession some relief.  It…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

LSAT Haters:  Listen Up!

Everyone hates the LSAT, and that is the way we like it.  Hating people is not good --- in fact it is very, very bad --- but hating tests is OK.  So many former LSAT takers are very happy hating this ridiculous test (which only predicts success in the first semester of law school), and we want our bad memories left in tact. But, now we are told that the LSAT has a benefit beyond giving some people an edge toward law school acceptance.  The benefit approach is just plain not fair or productive in the hating process. Here's the scoop. …

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Women-Owned Law Firms As Practice Options

Have you considered the option of a women-owned law firm?  Even if it is not appropriate for this time in your career, you should file the information away for a time when it might make more sense. I have written about women-owned law firms before, especially in my second book, Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today's Woman Lawyer(Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2012).  In that book, I devoted part of the discussion about alternatives to traditional law firms to the concept of women-owned firms because I recognized the importance of that option to those women who found traditional law…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

In Praise of Lawyer Moms

I am a lawyer/mom.  Although my children are grown now and have become lawyers themselves, the memories of struggles as a lawyer/mom are still very vivid for me --- as well as the joys and the successes.  It is not an easy "row to hoe" as my own mom would have said. So, when I read several articles about another lawyer/mom, including one on Above the Law by Grover Cleveland, author of  Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks, I surely identified with it. I found, however, that my identification with Michelle Travis, the woman lawyer/professor of law/mom in these articles, ran deeper than…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

What All Young Lawyers Want:  Effective and Caring Mentors

I just finished reading a memoir by one of my favorite writers, Dani Shapiro.  Her book, Hourglass, is an exploration of relationships and how people interact and treat each other over the span of time. She is a wonderful writer, and I highly recommend her books to you. Hourglass explores what individuals need on the road to satisfaction, and it includes the following quote, "Be who you needed when you were younger." In my own writing and in many of my remarks to young lawyers and law firm leaders, I often say, "You cannot be who you cannot see."  It makes the case…

read more

 1 2 3 >  Last ›

Join Us

Contribute to our blog and join the discussion.

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Newsletter

Enter your email address to receive regular updates, news, and events.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe