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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Susan Smith Blakely

Making the Case for Recruiting On-Ramp Lawyers

This blog is courtesy of Rebecca McNeill, a founder of McNeill Baur in Cambridge, MA.  She addresses the importance of recruiting on-ramp employees.  I enthusiastically support these initiatives and the work of the OnRamp Fellowship where I have served as a consultant. Law firms can access wider talent pools by creating on ramps for attorneys and support staff who have left the work force to care for growing families or for other reasons. While many law firms, including ours, offer part-time employment, sometimes an employee, such as a working parent, leaves the work force for a period of time. Whether working parents lean…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Salary Negotiation Tips for All Young Lawyers

Last week I attended the Georgetown University Women's Forum, an expanded version  of the Georgetown Women's Law Forum.  As a Georgetown Law grad, I am a big fan of this conference.  Keep your eye out for it next year!  You don't have to be a Hoya to attend. Here are some tips that I picked up on salary/benefits negotiations, and they apply to all young lawyers.  Think of it as your Ten Step Method to Greater Job Satisfaction. 1. Set the stage. In preparation for a meeting to discuss more salary or benefits, ask your supervisor for time to discuss your career development.  Thank…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The College Admissions Scandal and the Importance of Values to All Young Lawyers

The current college admissions scandal.  How awful. Not that we did not suspect lack of fair play in college admissions.  We all are aware of the legacy preferences and how the issues of societal inequities play out in this setting, but the magnitude of the alleged criminal behavior and its impact on applicants nationwide is nothing short of disgusting --- and very predictable.  It was only a matter of time before the misplaced motives of helicopter parents reached such a low. Coincidentally, my new book addresses the erosion of values in the legal profession, specifically the current toxic cultures of…

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Susan Smith Blakely

International Women’s Day

  Today is International Women's Day.  I hope you are celebrating being a woman or having a wonderful woman at your side. Today we remember that we have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go in terms of equal opportunity, equal pay, implicit bias, and respect.  Even equal protection comes to mind as we are reminded of the recent disclosures by Senator Martha McSally--- women are not protected adequately within the military ranks any more than they are protected in society at large.  Sexism is still baked in the cake of our culture, and we…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers:  Beware of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Mental illness and substance abuse are big problems in our profession today.  I call attention to these issues whenever I get the opportunity to speak to lawyers, young and older.  I did it at the event for the launch of my new book at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago on February 4th and also two days later at a program for law students in Michigan.  I implored them to be careful personally and to be vigilant on behalf of colleagues. I noted at both events that the American Bar Association (ABA) has identified an initiative to address these issues and…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers: Help in Transitioning to a New Firm

  The legal field is very dynamic these days and has been that way for awhile.   Most lawyers change practice venues multiple times in their careers, and research shows that millennials will change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. Up until the 1990's, lawyers often stayed with one -- or possibly two -- firms most of their careers.  Sounds hard to believe now, but it's true.  However, the boom economic days of the 90's saw law firms grow in size and spheres of influence exponentially, and lawyers started moving around like bees in a hive…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Do Women Lawyers and Other Women Leaders Have to Be Nice?

A lot has been written in the last few days about what makes a good woman leader.  Those discussions have been within the context of the political arena, which is not too surprising because the Speaker of the House of Representatives is a powerful woman, and the roster of persons announcing to run for POTUS in 2020 is full of powerful women. So we have read here how Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota and proclaimed presidential candidate, is perceived by some of her staff as "not nice" and even "mean."  And today we read here that Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, uses her…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Need Men to “Step Up” Like They Did

It was reported in the NY Times and other news outlets recently that male managers are afraid of mentoring women in the #METOO Era.  Maybe you read about it.  Or maybe you were watching the discussion between Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC and her guests last week about those reports.  I was watching, and it was incredible.  If you did not catch it, check it out here. Or maybe you were at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January and heard the buzz about it there.  Apparently lots of males from around the world were sharing their fears. I have…

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