Thought For The Day

“It is hope, not despair, which makes successful revolutions.”


Career Counselors, Thought For The Day | Comment

Young Women Lawyers Need to Be Visible

Tomorrow I will moderate a panel at the Georgetown Law Women’s Forum where we will talk about not being too humble and making yourself visible.  It is sure to be another “must be there” day, and I hope to see many of my Hoya Law alumni there again this year.

Being visible involves a lot more than taking up space and having a corporal presence.  It means making the people who matter to your upward mobility aware of you.  Making those people think of you in a good way as often as possible should be your goal.

You never want to be one of those people who hears, “Oh, I just never think of you for that spot … for that job … for that award … for that (fill in the blank).”  That is disappointing, and it will haunt you for a long time.  Opportunities lost are hard to let go.

But, being visible does not just happen naturally.  It happens because you make it hard for people not to think of you.  “Out of sight and out of mind” works for little kids trying to raid the cookie jar, but it will not enhance your professional career.  YOU want to be caught being visible.

It is simple.  You have to stop being the “Office of No.”  You have to stop saying “no” to everything because you are too busy hiding behind your computer and billing hours.  Those impressive hours billed alone will not get you where you want to go.  They are a good foundation, but it takes more.

It takes going to the networking event — if only for awhile.  If you have to cut the evening short, make every minute there count.  Exchange cards, exchange professional information, and make mental notes for follow-up.  Then, be sure to follow up with the kind of networking that I address in my books and have blogged on here before.

I takes reaching out by e-mail for no other reason than to say “How are you?”  In most cases, you get the predictable back, “Fine, you?”  But, there is that one outside chance that you will trigger a memory or spark an idea in someone who could change your career and your life.  You will have been visible at just the right moment — when a great business opportunity arises.

Sallie Krawcheck, business woman extraordinaire, talks about these concepts, and she always makes so much sense.  If you want to read about a woman who talks the talk and also walks the walk, Google her.  She has taken 85 Broads and repackaged it into Ellevate, and she is investing in businesses with significant numbers of women in leadership and management.  Sallie Krawcheck — Smith Barney, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Citi — knows how to be visible.

You need to know it, too.

Career Counselors, Law School Educators, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

William Jennings Bryan

Thought For The Day | Comment

Young Women Lawyers Need to Speak Up!

Several years ago, the Yale Law Women reported survey results in an article titled Yale Law School Faculty and Students Speak Up About Gender:  Ten Years Later.” Reported there, among other things, was a finding that women law students were not speaking up as much in class as their male counterparts.  You probably are not surprised by that, and I know I am not.

Most of the women students in my law school were content to listen in class to find out which students were prepared for the lecture, which ones spoke intelligently when called on by the professor, and, as a result, which ones would make good study partners.  In fact, most of the young women I can remember were not motivated by having their hands in the air all of the time just to hear themselves talk.  I do not think that was because they were afraid to speak up, but I understand the possibility. I think that kind of attention just did not matter so much to women then, and maybe it does not now.

Although, some of that has changed today, it has not changed enough for young women lawyers.  Young women today are less likely to remain silent in most settings, but that does not mean that they are speaking up enough at law firms.

For many women, unfortunately, the decision to remain silent does not end in law school.  It often continues once the young woman lawyer lands her dream job and at a time when having opinions and answering questions with a strong voice and in a convincing manner are more important than a check mark on a professor’s roll sheet.  So whether it is a conscious decision or a reluctance based on fear, it needs to be addressed.

Public speaking and advocacy is difficult.  You have been exposed to it in law school through moot court and appellate or trial practice clinics, but that is not enough.

Jezra Kaye, the founder of Speak Up For Success, has a lot to say about this.  Jezra is a consultant to law firms and other businesses on public speaking, and her website is a wealth of information on this subject.  Here are a few hints on public speaking from my friend, Jezra:

  • Using the right words is not that important.  You need to focus on ideas, and the words will come.  Then you need to tune into your natural speaking rhythm—the one that you use when you are in relaxed conversation.  That is the rhythm that you are comfortable with and the one that will be most successful for you in public speaking;
  • Open your mouth.  This is no time for your introverted self.  Your words and your rhythm will not count for much if you are not heard.  And, you do not want to incur the wrath of the judge because he or she cannot hear you.  Judges tend to lose patience fast and revert to uncomplimentary monologue under those circumstances; and  
  • Practice, practice, practice.  You never can practice enough.  Speak up at every opportunity where you think you have something of value to add — that has not already been said.  (The parrot will always be exposed, and you do not want to be a parrot.)  It will get easier with time.

So, go forward and speak up!  You know you can!  (Save the silent treatment for that guy in your life who refuses to take out the garbage or clean up the dishes!  He deserves it!)

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

Thought For The Day

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”


Thought For The Day | Comment

Thought For The Day

“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.”

Richard Paul Evans

Thought For The Day | Comment

Law School Wait Lists Aren’t What They Used to Be

There was a time when law school wait lists were what they implied.  Applicants were neither accepted nor rejected, but their names were placed on a wait list pending further determination.  Typically the reason for assignment to the wait list was that the applicant did not meet the “cut off” requirements for acceptance — at least in the first round.

This wait list practice is still true, and it is especially important to law schools today because the number of law school applications are down.  With lower application pools, the schools want to assure first-year classes of the highest possible quality.  That means holding off and not accepting too many “marginally qualified” students early.

Today, however, law schools have added another “game” to their  wait list repertoire.  Now, in addition to putting lesser qualified applicants on wait lists, law schools also put more than qualified applicants on wait lists because the law school admissions committees thinks those applicants will choose higher-ranked law schools in the end.  Sounds crazy, and a bit unfair, but it is true.  In that instance, it is all about “yield rates” and not wanting to look like too many students rejected your acceptances.  It is all a game with law school alumni and law school rankings written all over it.

Being wait listed has taken on a very different meaning for these students.  The admissions committee hesitates to accept the fully-qualified applicant because the committee does not have faith in the applicant’s intentions.  Clearly, the admissions committee has no real idea what the applicant has in mind, but the committee does not want to waste an acceptance and affect the “yield” of accepted students.   Too bad for the applicant who has always wanted to go to XYZ Law School but qualifies for higher ranked schools where he does not want to go.  In that situation, we are supposed to have faith that the admissions committee knows best.  Right.

Now that you have the new lay of the law school wait list land, you also must understand that you are likely to be wait listed at one or two or more law schools — not always because you are not qualified for the entering class but sometimes because you may be too qualified.  Make sense yet?  I didn’t think so.

So, it is time to develop some strategies on how to deal with the “wait list situation.”  It is not all about leashing all your resources at one time or piling on, and you need a plan to communicate your desires effectively and keep on the admissions committee’s radar.  This article will help you with those strategies. You undoubtedly will learn something.  I know I did.

For instance, who knew that it is acceptable for alumni to send e-mails to support a law school application?  E-mails?  Make sure you check that out with the protocol folks before you request communication by e-mails.  Sounds a bit casual to me.





Career Counselors, Pre-law | Comment

Thought For The Day

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

Joseph Campbell

Thought For The Day | Comment