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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Susan Smith Blakely

The Effect of a Greedy Profession on Women Lawyers

The greed will consume our profession.  I first called the law profession "greedy" in an article that I wrote for Corporate Counsel magazine in the Fall of 2016.  My comments at the time were part of a discussion about women lawyers "having it all" --- or not --- and the impact of the values of money, power and greed on the well-being of law practitioners. Since that time, I have seen more commenters willing to call our profession what it is --- a well intentioned endeavor overcome by negative values.  This kind of candor is necessary if we are going to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Advice for Millennial Lawyers (including Women Lawyers!)

Earlier today I was the presenter on a webinar for Thompson Reuters/West on "What Millennial Lawyers Want."  It was a 65-minute program and contained a lot of good information on millennial lawyers, how their behaviors and expectations have developed, the responsibility that parent generations and society have in influencing that development, the values that are common to millennial lawyers and Greatest Generation lawyers, and the roles of millennial lawyers and law firm leaders in a shared solution to the Generational Divide. Admittedly, that is a lot of content, but it was a long program!  That is how CLE works --- you…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Trouble With Women Lawyer—- OR Is There Trouble?

  I have just returned from a reunion with 14 of my college girlfriends.  We get together as often as possible --- traveling from both coasts and points in between --- to make sure that our friendships remain kindled and that we provide support to one another as our journeys through life ebb and flow.   These times together never disappoint, and we always leave planning the next one. This is my way of reminding you that I am and always have been an advocate for women, dating back to college when we all needed each other's support dealing with our…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The High Price of Over-Parenting for Millennial Lawyers

I have written extensively about millennials and millennial lawyers, including about how members of the Millennial Generation were shaped by societal influences as they grew to adulthood.  Those societal influences have limited their abilities to fit into traditional workplaces and, in some cases, have lead to anxiety and depression. Those societal influences include: rapid advances in technology, including social media; the impact of the 2008 recession, which resulted in insecurity and risk aversion; and helicopter parenting that sheltered children from disappointment, interfered with decision making, and put pressure on coaches and teachers to improve outcomes for their children.  These influences have taken a…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Intersection of Motherhood and Partnership

A recent edition of in the London-based Financial Times included a very thought-provoking article that is a must read for all women lawyers and those who lead them.  The sources are both UK and US based and there is no single geographic focus. This is not just the "same old same old" you have read in the past.  Yes, the statistics will be recognizable because the percentage of women equity partners in law firms has not changed in recent history.  But there is much beyond those statistics for you to chew on and some new approaches that you may or may not agree with.…

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