More from the GT Law Women’s Forum

I promised you more from the Georgetown Women’s Law Forum that was held on June 14th, and here it is.  Be sure to read this in conjunction with the last blog to get the full impact.  The panelists were all powerful women lawyers, and they were telling it like it is.  No sugar coating from them.  They want you to succeed, and they are giving you a road map to make that happen.  All you have to do is read and remember.

Here are more words of wisdom:

  • Women are hired because they are “warriors.”  They need to act like it at all times;
  • Find mentors and sponsors that will help you get where you want to go.  Mentors are teachers, and sponsors look out for opportunities for you and speak up on your behalf.  Both mentors and sponsors should be lawyers with the skill sets you want to achieve;
  • Women leaders must identify young lawyers to sponsor;
  • Doing good work is necessary but it is not enough.  You must do more to get ahead.  That involves getting out of your office and networking, developing clients and getting to know your colleagues and let them know you;
  • Women typically possess qualities that are beneficial in business.  Women are great relationship builders, natural multi-taskers, good listeners and excellent fact gatherers.  However, they often do not understand the value of these attributes in business.  Make sure you do not underestimate your value;
  • Diverse legal teams are happy legal teams.  Diverse teams are more effective because they include more perspectives.  Demonstrating the value of diversity is up to you and depends on dedication to your job and the professional nature of your work;
  • Women need to stop being self-deprecating when asked for their opinions.  That is often the result of cultural limitations, but it has no place in the office setting;
  • Although many women general counsels of corporations want to give work to outside female counsel, it is not always possible because of long-standing counsel relationships.  You cannot assume it or count on it;
  • Being “seconded” from a law firm to a corporation is an excellent way to get exposure to office of general counsel.  There is currently a “critical mass” of women in corporations, and corporations are working to promote women, both in the company and in outside counsel;
  • Cyber Security is a huge growth area in the law.  Work in this area does not require an extensive technical background and can sometimes mean translating the technical rules into English and applying the law;
  • Law firms are becoming targets of hackers because they are the repositories of client information.  Enterprise security activity in law firms is on the rise and involves integrating privacy considerations with IT and other cyber security activities.  There are great opportunities for lawyers who understand the need for and objectives of cyber security; and
  • Reducing the cyber security vulnerabilities to financial risk calculations is often the most effective way to get attention to the subject.

I hope that you see the value of knowing information like this at the early stages of your careers.  The women who gave their time as panelists last week certainly do, and it is a credit to Georgetown Law to sponsor this kind of candid and open forum on women’s issues.  Watch for it next year and Be There!  I know I will be.

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Thought For The Day

Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Anne Sexton

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The Women’s Forum at GT Law Hits It Out of the Ballpark

Every year at this time I look forward to the Women’s Forum at Georgetown Law, and the program at last Friday’s Forum lived up to its reputation.  It was inspiring and informative and first-rate.  In the interests of full disclosure, some of you know that GT Law is my school, so I am a little biased.  However, I also try to be as objective as possible, and this event needs to go on your list for next year.  In the past, the event has been limited to GT Law students and alumni, but that changed this year.  So, come one, come all for next year.  It is a great value for all young women lawyers.

From the welcoming remarks by GT Law professor Elizabeth “Ginger” Hayes Patterson, who put things in perspective in terms of how far women have come and how for they still need to go, to panels on “Women in Cyber Security” and “Why Women Don’t Ask” and “Is In-House Counsel Women’s Work?” to the awards presented to outstanding women alumnae, it was an action-packed day full of thought-provoking dialogue and inspiring stories from the women honorees.  Here are some of my favorite take-aways:

  • You must take risks with your career plan and be open to opportunities.  You need to think about yourself as the client and ask what YOU want and how you can get it;
  • Do not be afraid to ask for what you want and do not take rejection personally;
  • You must create a “brand” for yourself and what you want your career to look like.  You must be true to your own personal style in developing that brand;
  • You must be visible and stake out territory that will make you more visible;
  • Be ambitious.  It is not a bad thing.  Your main goal is not to be liked;
  • You must create value in your early years of practice to have bargaining power to get what you want in later years.  Your goal should not be to act like a man but to create value as a woman and use that value to accomplish your career goals; and
  • You must be your own best advocate.

And more!  Tune in to Thursday’s blog for more wisdom from the participants in the GT Women’s  Forum.  You will be glad you did.


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Thought For The Day

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Thought For The Day

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.

Peter F. Drucker

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Make Your Future More Manageable

This might seem like a little thing to you—-the vision of me thrashing through papers and files and every address book that I ever have owned to find information about MY OWN PAST.  Silly, you say, well read on.

By the time that you have graduated from college and are applying to graduate school, you have lived a lot of places and have had a lot of jobs.  If you are like me, you had a different residence every year of college, and you often had other residences during the summers.  The same was true for jobs.  Yes, you say, so what?  Here’s what.

Every one of those addresses—-and a contact at the leasing company—-and information about past employers can become information that you need for graduate school applications.  That becomes exponentially true after you graduate from law school and are applying to sit for the bar exam.  The bar examiners want to know EVERYTHING about you.  And it does not stop there,  When you pass the bar exam—and you will—the bar association wants to know EVEN MORE about you when you apply for membership.  And then, when you are applying for jobs and receive an offer of employment, it starts all over again.

It becomes a big pain in the neck to garner all that information on short notice.  The solution, of course, is to keep good records as all of this happens.  Buy yourself a small spiral notebook—like the one I carry in my bag at all times because I must write EVERYTHING down at this point in my life—and keep a record of your prior residences, including addresses and zip codes, the name of the person you dealt with at the leasing company, your employment information, and any other important details that you might need to access later for what will seem like top security clearance applications related to becoming a lawyer.

Fortunately, you all have cell phones these days, and your cell phone numbers rarely change.   At least you can get in touch with your former roommates, who might remember more about your past than you do.  However, keeping your own records is so much easier and tends to annoy those former roommates a lot less.

Other information that can go in that handy-dandy spiral notebook includes bank account types and numbers.  Have you ever been on hold with a bank trying to get that information when you cannot remember your pin number or your grandmother’s maiden name?  Trust me, you do not want to go there……  The spiral notebook is SO much easier.

I hope that my starts and fits with information gathering seem a little more serious to you now.  It is frustrating and exhausting and does absolutely nothing for a positive self image.

Do not do as I do!  You can do so much better.


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Thought For The Day

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Only Two Days to Register for the Washington Women’s Weekly Event

Time is running out!  There are only two days left to register for the Washington Women’s Weekly event where I will be the featured speaker on the subject of “Defining Your Own Success.”

This popular networking event for Washington DC area business women will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 PM at the Sofitel located at

806 15th Street, NW
Lafayette Square
Washington, DC 20005

Join Us For Cocktails + Connect this Thursday!
Find out how to define your own success
With Susan Smith Blakely

Register on line at
$50 per person includes complimentary, first-ever signature WOMEN’S WEEKLY cocktail, wine, or beverage & truly timeless French hors doeuvres with a contemporary twist.

WASHINGTON WOMEN’S WEEKLY is an e-publication that shares news, knowledge and networking events to connect and build alliances among professional women. Sign-up to receive news and invitation: www.

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