delidacostin

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Confessions of a General Counsel: Are You Ready For The Top Seat?

So you want to be a general counsel? You've worked as a lawyer for some years and the top legal seat is starting to interest you. You've watched your bosses and other executives who sit in the top seats, but what does it all really mean?   The legal department, like all enterprises, exists in a marketplace.  All market participants have a few things in common. They must develop visions that define their future goals.  They must design products and services that will appeal to customers, and then they must sell those products and services into the marketplace.   Our technical skills as…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical advice for new lawyers

Q: I have gotten lots of advice about getting off to a good start at a firm. Do you have any advice on things I should not do? A: Yes. I will start with a list of top-ten goofs to avoid from Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks and expound from there. Here is the list: Blowing a deadline or forgetting a task Citing an overruled case or statute in a legal document Coming up with the wrong answer to a legal question that has a fairly definite answer Not finding the answer to a legal question that has a fairly…

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latancs

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Ten Most Common Interview Blunders and How to Avoid Them

In a perfect world, the most qualified candidate always gets the job. Needless to say, this isn’t always the case. Gain the competitive edge by avoiding these simple mistakes. Failure to Practice Typical Interview Questions Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to work here?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What do these questions have in common? The answer is that they’re open-ended, designed to get you to reveal as much of yourself as possible. A good interviewer knows that the interviewee should be doing most of the talking. Let’s examine each of these questions. Tell me about…

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Susan Smith Blakely

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Women Lawyers Are Working More Hours Than Their Male Colleagues

There is a new study from the Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession that reports, among other things, that women lawyers are working more hours than their male colleagues.  The survey is limited to Harvard Law grads from the years 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2000, and the conclusions may or may not match your experiences.  The study shows that women outpaced men in all four classes, with women in the class of 2000 working nearly eight hours more per week. The report on the study seems to acknowledge that the data indicating that women lawyers work more hours…

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APYTJD

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Why You Should Be A Mentor

I had another topic all ready to go, but after Sunday’s events, I feel I must write about mentors. Don’t roll your eyes. I know if you’re reading this post and you’re under the age of 28, you’ve probably had it beaten into you about the benefits of having a mentor. However, if you’re a professional of a certain age, you might not have thought about the benefits of having a mentee. As a life-long member of a certain organization that is near and dear to my heart, part of the training program encourages older members to reach out to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

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Best Friends at the Bar: The New Reality of Law Practice and the Effect on Women Lawyers

Recently I read an article in the Virginia Lawyers Media that interested me.  The title alone was enough to catch my eye:  Thought for the New Year:  'Not your father's legal marketplace'.  I, of course, would have added that it also is not your mother's legal marketplace.  But, this is, after all, Virginia, the Commonwealth, a place I love but that is not always on the cutting edge when it comes to issues of diversity and political correctness.The gist of the article was that the changes in law practice in the last ten years have transformed the profession in ways…

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Susan Smith Blakely

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Best Friends at the Bar: Women Lawyers Beware of Playing the Gender Card

I love it when I hear from young women I have met on my Best Friends at the Bar speaking trips.  Recently, I received an e-mail from one of them, a law student at the University of Miami Law, who wanted to know how I felt about the issues covered in an article she had read on line.  I had read the same article and had filed it away for a future blog.  So, hearing from this young woman compelled me to pull it out and shine some light on it for you.The article, "Lawyer on Maternity Leave Brings Baby…

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shaynamichelle

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On Combining the Things You Have to Make Stuff Work: Managing Partners

As in the verb, not the title. Managing partners. Managing bosses. Managing up. This skill is quite possibly the most important thing I’ve learned to do since graduation, so I thought I’d share some tips. Because, I’ve found, managing the people above you, the very people who employ you, can be a tight rope walk between organization, communication and tactful bossiness. It’s innately knowing someone’s strengths and weaknesses and showing up before you even know you should, and often only after something has gone wrong.  But only sometimes, and only if you work for someone who needs or wants this…

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Susan Smith Blakely

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Best Friends at the Bar: Law Firms Need to Learn to Retrofit

Here's something a little different today.  I have been thinking about the Empire State Building and about young women lawyers.  What a combo!I love the Empire State Building.  My daughter had a clear view of it from her apartment building across the Hudson River once upon a time, and I never tired of admiring the majestic spire.  So, when I saw an article on the recent renovation and retrofitting of the Empire State Building in the on-line Harvard Magazine , I just had to read it.  What I discovered was not only an interesting business story but also a lesson for law…

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Susan Smith Blakely

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Best Friends at the Bar: A Success Story For Young Women Lawyers

It is wonderful when it works the way that it is supposed to.  The"it" is the process of advice and counsel and having a happy ending.  Here is an example.Recently I heard from a young woman lawyer, who I met over a year ago at a law school event.  I spoke that night to law students and law alumni about my book, and this young woman was in the audience.  I met her afterwards, and we stayed in touch.  At one point, she contacted me when she was at a real crossroads in her career, and she needed advice.In short,…

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