Susan Smith Blakely

How RBG Helped Lead the Way to Women’s Financial Independence

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is gone. Our mentor is missing. We all should be very sad. Our politics do not matter in this context. We all are women. We all should be grateful that this small and powerful woman walked amongst us. I was in law school at Georgetown Law (then Georgetown University Law Center (GULC)) during the mid 1970’s when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was arguing cases on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and setting the foundation for women’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is entirely possible that most…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What’s Up With the July Bar Exam?

Just when we thought that the legal profession was finally showing signs of thinking with a new collective brain while problem solving during a pandemic, along came the July Bar Exam, and bar examiners across the country short circuited and set us back again.  They have demonstrated once again that the profession is archaic and stuck in past practices just for the sake of it.  Certainly not for the logic of it.   Here is a link to provide some of the sordid details about how this has unfolded.   It is amazing to see bar examiners struggle with decisions of whether to continue…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Dilemma Surrounding the July 2020 Bar Exams

The pandemic has caused a multitude of problems for our world and our country. Some of them involve life and death issues, and, certainly, nothing compares to those. Others involve economic issues like business closings, bankruptsy filings, struggles to feed families and pay the rent and issues surrounding school closings. Still others involve interference with important highly anticipated events involving families and friends, which have had to be cancelled or rescheduled, and the list goes on and on. Concerns about an entire generation of young people, Generation Z, whose members have experienced gratification postponement and the effects of isolation that…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Maternity Leave For Women Lawyers is No Vacation

    Maternity leave is a precious and necessary time for bonding with a newborn. It also is a woman’s contribution to a more evolved and stable society.  But it ain’t no vacation. It ain’t no boondoggle. Let’s get that straight. There are many inequities for women lawyers — still. You know it. Yes, things have improved since I was climbing the ladder to partnership so many years ago, but progress has been slow. The profession is still riddled with both conscious and unconscious bias, sexual harassment is still practiced as if without impunity, and women lawyers bear the burden…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Promo Strategies for Women-Owned Law Firms

A lot is changing in the law profession today.  The legal websites, blogs and periodicals are following all of it, and I have an article coming out soon in the ABA Journal addressing what law firm leaders can learn from coronavirus.  I will share a link with you when I have it. Technology has rapidly changed law practice during the isolation we all are experiencing, and there is well-informed speculation that these same technological applications will be just as valuable post COVID-19 as they have been during mandatory working from home.  The need for expensive brick and mortar offices will be…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What Can Law Firm Leaders Learn from a Pandemic?

Law firm leaders come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors and backgrounds.  They are both male and female, young and old.  Some are effective, and some are not.  And the differences in their effectiveness as leaders are especially apparent during a challenging time like a pandemic, which changes all the traditional rules in a very traditional profession.  Like wheat and chaff, like milk and cream.  Only the best rise to the top --- or, at least, that is the way it should work. So, what can effective leaders learn from a pandemic.  It is an odd question, but it needs…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Are Law Firms Training Leaders or Followers?

I have been wondering about this for years.  Are law firms training effective leaders --- or are they simply creating followers?  We are seeing a lot of ineffective leadership in public office these days on both sides of the aisle --- “leaders” who would rather tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.  And some of that ineffective leadership also is right here in our own profession.  Effective leaders have plans to make things better.  They do not shy away from leadership because they know that will create models for followers.  And followers do…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Will Kindness Prevail in Law Firms Beyond the Days of Coronavirus?

  The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to so many lives and complicating and stressful to so many others.  It has left many experiences in its wake that will best be forgotten, if that is even possible.  Images from the news each night, alone, will be hard to forget. As much as we want to forget much of what has gone on in America during the last 90-plus days, there are some things that I hope we remember. I hope that we remember the kindness.  I hope that we remember the caring.  I hope that we remember the civility.  I…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Working at Home During Coronavirus

      I know that you probably have read articles on line recently with advice about working from home in the age of coronavirus.  The themes are generally the same.  Here is my take on it for young lawyers. I believe that the best way to survive an extended isolation and working from home is to maintain a ROUTINE.  Establishing a routine and sticking to it will reap huge rewards when the time comes to go back to brick and mortar places of business.  You will have created fewer bad isolation habits.  Routine also will help you establish a healthy mental…

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Susan Smith Blakely

How is COVID-19 Affecting the July Bar Exam?

So what about the July Bar Exams amid COVID-19? Here is some information about what is being considered if July Bar Exams cannot go forward for reasons related to coronavirus and COVID-19. You will see there the options being considered. Some are not so good, and others are better. But one may be missing altogether. It seems to me that the option for "emergency diploma privilege-plus" is the best option and could work --- with one caveat. I agree that "diploma privilege" might be a good idea to meet the needs of Spring 2020 law graduates to enter the workforce as…

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