Susan Smith Blakely

Top Women Lawyers Tell ALL about Landing Clients

Most of you know by now that developing clients is the road to success in law firms.  Crudely, it has been said that "you eat what you kill."  In other words, if you bring in the work, you will be paid handsomely.   Nothing else comes close to assuring a successful career as a lawyer. That is why there is so much emphasis today on client development and networking.  Concentrating on acquiring the soft skills that are necessary to make you attractive to potential clients is time well spent.  However, soft skills are not taught in law school, and very…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers and Lawyer Couples

Two-lawyer households:  I know a little about those.  My husband and I graduated two years apart from law school, and the following 40-plus years are history.  Not only the history of our two careers and more than three law firms and public service for each of us, but also the history of a couple and a family --- which now includes two children, both of them lawyers.  As we prepare to celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary, I think you could say that it worked for us.  But, it was not easy. First, there were the years when our two careers…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Retaining Valuable Associate Lawyers—- But for How Long and Why?

For those of you who care about what is going on in Big Law, here is a new development worth checking out --- and with critical eyes. Weil Gotshal & Manges announced last week that the firm "hopes to improve associate retention by cutting the wait for partnership" from 9 1/2 years to 7 1/2 years.  Sounds good, right?  Still a long time to wait for partnership, but better by two years.  The firm also stated that "substantially all" of the 7 1/2 year associates will be promoted to partner or counsel. That takes a little more explaining.   New partners…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Seasoned Lawyers are Critical as Mentors for All Young Lawyers

Sometimes you just read something that you know is wrong.  Not just wrong, but Wrong, Wrong, Real Wrong. Well, that happened to me just the other day.  I was reading the Above The Law blog, and I came upon an article captioned "Why Today's Seasoned Lawyers Shouldn't Mentor Newbies."  Because I have written so much on mentoring, including in my new book to be released this summer, the article immediately interested me.  In that new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers), I argue that young lawyers want more  --- not less --- attention from senior lawyers.  I argue that it is the isolation…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Career Tips for Women Lawyers

Recently I attended the Georgetown Women's Forum, which expanded the Georgetown Law Women's Forum to Georgetown University graduates in celebration of the 25th year of the Forum.  As in years past, the program was inspiring.  Having attended the Forum for many years and also participated as a panelist, I take great pride in the quality of the programs. From the welcome by Savannah Guthrie, a Georgetown Law graduate, to the keynote address by Sally Yates, who briefly joined the Georgetown Law faculty after departing the Justice Department last year, to the final moments of dedication to careers, the program was…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Are Young Women Lawyers Still Enamored With Law Firm Jobs?

There was a time when most young lawyers --- male and female alike --- found law firm jobs desirable.   The pay was good, the hours were manageable, and the upward mobility and financial rewards were inviting.  But, is that still true today? According to today's article on the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) online Issues Blog, it may no longer be true for young women lawyers.  Based on statistics from the Colorado Supreme Court's Attorney Regulation Counsel, the article identifies a "trend" away from law firm jobs for young women law graduates in that state.  Those…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Speaking Out Against Gender Inequality

The most recent example of women lawyers speaking out against inequality is the employment discrimination suit filed this week by a group of women lawyers at Morrison Foerster alleging that they were discriminated against after taking maternity leave.  Their suit is styled as a $100M putative class action, and they have retained the same law firm, Sanford Heisler Sharp, that got the $3M settlement plus $1M in attorneys fees against Chadbourne & Parke (now Rose Fulbright) in a gender discrimination suit under the Equal Pay Act recently.  So, hold onto your hat.  Here are the details. After reporting recently in this blog…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Important Information for Women Lawyers on Female-Friendly and Family-Friendly Law Firms

Drum roll, please.  The lists are out! Yale Law School has once again published its lists, and the results are reported in a recent article in The American Lawyer.  This is the 10th year that the law school has published a family-friendly list, but this year, in an attempt at gender neutrality and elimination of gender stereotypes, Yale Law has published two separate lists:  The traditional family-friendly list and a separate female-friendly list. The two lists make sense to me, and I am happy to see the research and reporting take this new direction.  Not all women lawyers will have families, and…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Big Law Responds Positively to Millennial Generation Lawyers

In identifying what it calls a "broken system" for associate reviews, Big Law's Hogan Lovells has abandoned the system of once yearly reviews in favor of more frequent periodic reviews.  This is very good news and for some very good reasons that also will be discussed in my new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want, scheduled for release in the summer of 2018. Here are some of the reasons cited in the article about the decision by Hogan Lovells: Playing to the employment market:  The desire for constant performance evaluations are a characteristic of Millennial lawyers; Developing a program that is focused on growth…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Attention Women Lawyers:  The Facts on Pay Disparity

April 10th was Equal Pay Day, which draws attention to a subject that is very important to all women in the workforce.  That includes all women lawyers, of course, so I want you to have the facts you need to protect yourselves and get what you deserve. As a source for this information, I looked to an article on law.com by Mark Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Elevate,a law profession consulting entity.  Pay equity can be a complicated subject, so looking at a little history and applying it to the current conditions is not a bad idea. …

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