Susan Smith Blakely

Welcome 2021!

Below is an excerpt from the November/December Best Friends at the Bar Newsletter published just in time to say goodbye to 2020. The newsletter publishes bi-monthly, and you can receive it by signing up on the website or e-mailing me at susansmithblakely@gmail.com. You will be joining more than 800 lawyers and law firms that receive the newsletters and rely on it for updates on news about millennial and women lawyers.  As we bid an enthusiastic farewell to 2020 and look forward to the new year, the challenges of 2020 have focused my thoughts on the importance of empathy and caring for the less…

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Susan Smith Blakely

It’s All About The Women

I am always advocating for capable women, and I love doing it. That includes not just women lawyers, but also women doctors, women business owners, women sales clerks, women astronauts, and women who teach our children. Women have been overlooked for too long, and they deserve the recognition. But right now, I am particularly enthused for the future of women lawyers. I am seeing women advanced in the judiciary in increasing numbers. I am seeing unprecedented percentages of women lawyers elevated to cabinet positions, and I am seeing women lawyers step up in leading roles in Congress. For example, earlier…

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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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