Thought For The Day

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Mark Twain

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Young Women Lawyers: Are You Prepared for Law Practice?

I had a wonderful time speaking to the student Women’s Bar Association at the University of Maryland Law School earlier this week. It was a great audience, and the young women asked thoughtful questions during the Q and A. Here are some of the subjects that we discussed during this noon hour program:

  • The alarmingly low retention and advancement statistics for women lawyers;
  • A look backward at the progress women lawyers have made over the last 50 years;
  • The continuing challenges of a male-dominated profession for women lawyers, including the work-life struggle and other gender-related challenges;
  • The importance of young women lawyers taking responsibility for their career plans and making well-informed choices;
  • Personal Definitions of Success and the variety of satisfying career models available for women lawyers;
  • Why it is important for young women lawyers to stay in the law profession and the risks of going off ramp;
  • The need for women lawyers in positions of management and leadership in the law profession to improve policies for all women lawyers;
  • The skills and behaviors that young women lawyers need to survive and be competitive in the law profession;
  • How unintentional gender bias negatively affects career opportunities for women lawyers and how to spot it and help eliminate it;
  • The obligation for senior women lawyers to mentor and sponsor young women lawyers; and
  • The responsibility of law firm leaders to improve retention and advancement opportunities for women lawyers and why it makes good business sense.

I am enjoying doing these programs at law schools all over the country, and I hope that your law school is one of them. If that is not the case, I encourage you to talk to your Career Development Office and your women law student groups to bring this program to your law school. There is so much in this program to help you plan and execute a satisfying and successful career in the law, and you deserve this kind of help.

Time is of the essence. You will need this information and these skills on Day One of law practice, and I would be delighted to help you be as prepared as possible when that time comes.

Career Counselors, Law School Educators, Law Students, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

Bill Bradley

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Advocacy for Women Has No Effective Labels

Have you seen the article in the Washington Post (“New Wave Feminism,” Sunday, January 31, 2016, front page)?  Yes, you read that right — front page of the Sunday Post.  Both above and below the fold.  Very significant placement for an article on this topic during this crazy political season.  Or is it?  Does this placement send a political message?  I will let you decide.

If this article tells me anything — and it include a lot of valuable information — it is that labels no longer work when we are talking about advocating for women.  The surveys show that you get very different results when you ask for reactions to “feminism” than when you ask for reactions to “the women’s movement.”  And, 94 percent of those polled embraced the principles that “men and women should be social, political,and economic equals.”

As the article states, “Clearly, people believe in feminist ideals — just not feminist labels.”  That is good enough for me.  Substance over form all the way.

Although “First Wave” and “Second Wave” feminism is interesting from a historical perspective, what matters to me is how we exercise our independence as women and how our independence is received in the workplace and in society.  With respect and equality is the answer I am looking for.

I was really pleased with the research showing that “there are more similarities than differences between the politicized feminism of the 1960’s and 1970’s and the more individualized version practiced by today’s [Millennial] generation.”  This makes me a lot more comfortable than reading some of the on-line blogs by young women who say that there is no point to feminism because all the problems have been solved.  Really???? And what about pay equity, as just one example?  Apparently these bloggers don’t care about the numbers and supporting families as a single mom.  Or maybe they don’t care that only 20% of the members of Congress are women and that the figures for women in leadership and management roles in big business are hovering at the 5 % mark.

The Women’s Liberation Movement did a lot of good things for women, but it also shackled us with expectations of equality that embraced the male definition of success in the workplace.  What we found was that the male definition of success did not work for most women, whose lives included childcare and other significant family responsibilities, and those women, including women lawyers, dropped out of the workplace in droves in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Not a good result.  We are much better off with an individual approach to success like the “Personal Definitions of Success” that are keystones to my Best Friends at the Bar program.  I have been writing about it and speaking about it for at least a decade.

There is a lot more in this article about “feminist” role models that appeal to Millennial women, the role of social media in this discussion, and the rising importance of “inclusion” in the conversation.  It is a long article, but it is worthy of your attention.  You even can see where you fit among the survey profiles.

Where do you fit on this issue?



Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Lifestyle, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Nicolas Chamfort

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Thought For The Day

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Pablo Picasso

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Thought For The Day

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Thought For The Day

Snow, snow, go away.  Come again some other day!

I live in the DC area.  Get the drift?????

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