Susan Smith Blakely

Best Law Firms for Women Lawyers——How Reliable Are the Lists?

I know that I have published list after list of the "Best Firms for Women Lawyers" over the years in my blogs and on my website.  It seems like the right thing to do for someone who has been devoted to the retention and advancement of women lawyers for more than a decade.  But, honestly, I did it with some reluctance.  I always was a little skeptical about how those lists were compiled, whether the research was based on an even playing field for all contenders, and the nature of the relationships between the ranking entities and the firms ranked…

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Susan Smith Blakely

It is NOT OK For Women Lawyers to Cry at the Office

  If you have followed my writing for the last ten years, it will not surprise you that I do not advise crying at work --- unless it is behind closed doors and the telltale hints of crying are erased before you re-enter the office common space.  Or unless you are facing some devastating personal loss. So, when I saw the article "It's Okay To Cry At Work" on Above the Law recently, I had a visceral reaction.  Visceral because I am trying to help you become the most competitive and highly competent and regarded professionals possible --- and crying…

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Susan Smith Blakely

More on Women Bullying Women

  I hope you read the article on women bullying women (aka Queen Bees) that I wrote about in last week's blog.  In case you missed the conclusions from that article,  I am here to help you.  It is a very long article, replete with research findings, and you have so many demands on your time. In recognizing that the answer can't be to simply give into and tolerate the Queen Bees, the writer makes these conclusions about how to eliminate women bullying women in the workplace --- and, of course, that includes women lawyers bullying other women lawyers: Better…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Bullying Other Women Lawyers—- Not a Pretty Picture

If you never have been bullied in the workplace, you are lucky. If you never have been bullied in the workplace by another woman, you are very lucky. It happens much too often, and you need to make sure that you are not the bully.  That is the only way we will get this under control. I, like most women lawyers, have been bullied at one time or another.  We are minorities, and that, unfortunately, is how minorities get treated.  Many of us were "pioneers" in our fields, and, because of that, the forces were against us in an even…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Leadership Lessons for Women Lawyers

  My friend, Caroline Dowd-Higgins, is an excellent career coach, motivational speaker and author of "This is Not the Career I Ordered."   Her recent blog "15 Leadership Lessons to Invigorate Your Career"  is worthy of your attention.  Caroline and I first met when she was the Career Services Dean at Indiana University Law, and I think it is no accident that her advice rings true for young lawyers. Here is her list (with a little editorial help from me!): Be Confident:  Confidence can be more important to career success than competence.   Confidence is developed by you and comes…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Why Young Lawyers Need Mentors—- and Why the Profession is Failing Them

It is not just young women lawyers who desperately need mentoring --- it is all young lawyers.  And, the profession is failing them. Young lawyers need mentors to help guide them in their professional growth and provide opportunities to discuss their futures as lawyers.  Instead, too often, young lawyers flail around doing what they think they should be doing without knowing what it is they should be doing. And, that leads to a lot of insecurity and loneliness on the job.  The profession has evolved in such a way that an associate lawyer can spend eight to ten hours a…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Need Balance

Every year at this time, I put Best Friends at the Bar on hold to spend time with family and friends.  It is a month-long hiatus that I know is enviable but that I feel entitled to after all these years.  And I LOVE it.  I will be at the Massachusetts shore with friends and at the Maine shore with family, and I can't wait for the games to begin! It is not that my work is over or that my desk is clear. That is not the case at all.  I am completing the manuscript for a new book, on deadline…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Should Avoid the Heat

Yes, it is very hot this summer in most parts of America, but this is not the kind of heat I mean. The heat I am talking about occurs when boys and girls start fooling around on the job.  There is no place for this in the law profession, and I hope you know it.  I made it clear to you in my first book, Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Aspen Publishers 2009).  Presenting yourself as a professional to avoid mixed or wrong sexual/relationship messages is serious business and needs…

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Susan Smith Blakely

In Praise of Independent Women Lawyers

Happy Independence Day!  Yes, it is about small town parades, fireworks and sparklers, burgers on the grill, mountains of ice cream, and being together with family and friends. It only comes once a year, so knock yourself out!  But, during the festivities, do not forget about the "independence" part. I am not just talking about the Declaration of Independence or what it has meant to the evolution of this country where we all enjoy freedoms and independence unparalleled in the world.  That is the focus, but it goes much further than that.  It is about national independence and also about…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Good News for Women Lawyers With Families

Here is some very good news for women lawyers with family responsibilities.  In her article for Above The Law, Staci Zaretsky describes a new program for women litigators who no longer can make traditional law firm practice work because of childcare responsibilities and other aspects of family life.  She outlines a "hot new trend" of lawyers leaving law firms to join what she describes as a growing field of litigation finance and highlights the efforts of Fulbrook Capital Management in developing a program to fit the needs of women lawyers. Known as "Virtual Women in Law," the program is Fulbrook's…

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