Susan Smith Blakely

What is Wrong with the USNWR Rankings?

The US News and World Report 2019 rankings of law schools is out.  See it here.  Yes, it is still early in 2018.  But, as you will read, there are some folks who benefit big time each year from this early information. If you are a Pepperdine Law graduate, you are not going to like the new rankings.  If you are a graduate of a lot of other law schools, you may not like them either, but probably a little less than the Pepperdine folks.  At least you may see your school ranked. My problem with the USNWR list has…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers and the Motherhood Penalty

Are you familiar with the "motherhood penalty?"  Well, you should be.  According to an article published earlier this week, the "motherhood penalty" is identified in a recent study as one of the reasons why women make 81 cents of every dollar a man makes.  When, in fact, research also shows that having children raises wages for men, even correcting for the number of hours they work. The gap between what mothers earn and what childless women and males earn is significant, and the gap between mothers and childless women has not narrowed since the 1980's --- even though the share…

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Susan Smith Blakely

How Women Lawyers Perceive Men’s Behavior

It can be difficult to know how men and women are supposed to relate to each other in the workplace these days.  What is too much affection, and, God forbid, what is too much touching?  I have seen close colleagues in an office awkwardly come together for either a handshake or a hug or a cheek kiss, and it is not certain where the gesture will end up.  It resembles some kind of crane-like mating dance, and it is, of course, because they are uncertain about what is appropriate and not appropriate and what is allowed and not allowed.  It…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers:  LOVE YOURSELVES!

Today, Valentines Day, is a day for celebrating love.  We buy cards with red and pink hearts and poetic verses expressing our love, we share classic red (the color of love) roses with our loved ones, we have intimate candle lit dinners demonstrating our love, and we thank the powers that be for the opportunity to love whomever we wish. Oh, wait a minute .... you say you are caught in the office and not able to participate in the Day of Love?  You cannot see yourself clear to taking a few hours off in the name of love?  And…

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Susan Smith Blakely

If Notorious RBG Is Encouraged about the Future For Women Lawyers, I’m ALL IN!

By all accounts, the appearance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday at NYU Law was a huge success.  As always, she had interesting perspective on the past and future of women lawyers and on workplace dynamics.  Here is a link to coverage of the event. I heard Justice Ginsburg speak at a law banquet years ago, and I found her completely believable, entertaining and without a scintilla of hubris.  What you see is exactly what you get with her.  Her sense of humor alone is so charming when combined with the realization that she is one of the most powerful…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Beware:  Social Media Posts Could Cost You Your Job

From time to time I write about the use of personal social media and the caveats for women lawyers.  In fact, my recommendation consistently has been that you get off personal social media all together.  But, I know how attached some of you are to instant feedback and gratification, so I continue to write about it.  You need to be reminded about the pitfalls of using social media on a regular basis.  Eyes and ears are everywhere. Here is a scenario and question posed on a website addressing this issue.  The answer to the question may surprise you because many…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Not Just For Women Lawyers——All Women Must Use Power Responsibly

If you have not seen the video of CNN journalist Ashleigh Banfield responding to the accusations from an anonymous source of sexual abuse by comedian/actor Aziz Ansari, you need to.  Here's the link, as presented by newsweek.com.  The accusations and the response have given rise to a lot of impassioned discussion and controversy, and women across the globe need to sort out the facts. The point of your inquiry should be not whether the events took place but whether the events amount to the kind of sexual harassment that is the benchmark of the #MeToo movement and the #TimesUp movement…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Looking Back at 2017 at Best Friends at the Bar

The Best Friends at the Bar year is about to come to a close.  Yes, I know that the entire month of December lies ahead before the Big Ball drops in Times Square and that you still have time for holiday shopping, holiday cards, holiday decorations, attending parties, giving parties, baking and cooking ... and the list goes on.  Do not panic, you have plenty of time to accomplish all this and more.  You are young and energetic and incredibly resourceful.  I have complete faith in you. I, on the other hand, have the luxury of taking the month of December off…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Must Be on the Lookout for Sexual Harassment

You all need to be aware of possible sexual harassment in your offices.  These allegations are surfacing across all industries today, and none of us can act like it is not a problem in our profession and in our offices.  We all know that it is.  It was a problem when I first started practicing law in 1979, and it is still a problem today. If you see something, say something.  Sexual harassment can be blatant or it can be subtle --- like when a woman refuses advances from a supervising male colleague and ends up losing support for her…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Mentoring is Critical to Career Success for Women Lawyers

I write a lot about leadership in law firms.  In fact, my last book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, is all about that subject.   In that book, I address the elements of effective leadership by presenting examples of good leadership and bad leadership.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of examples of bad leadership to fill those pages. An important part of effective leadership in law firms revolves around mentorship.  Mentoring young lawyers and helping them to develop their career paths and identify and maximize on their talents is key to career success for the young…

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