Thought For The Day

“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling that they are important.  When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling that I am important.”

Alexander Den Heijer

Thought For The Day | Comment

Thought For The Day

“Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end.”

Dr. Thomas Dooley

Career Counselors | Comment

Thought For The Day

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Jim Rohn

Career Counselors | Comment

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

Thought For The Day | Comment

Women Lawyers: Could This Happen To You?

Scary.  Just as we are hearing about the battle between Apple and the Feds over reaching behind a telephone password for reasons of national security, we have a possible techy invasion a lot closer to home.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, companies (law firms and other law employers?) are hiring consultants to sleuth to find out how many of their employees are pregnant — or even thinking about it.  Yes, you read that right? Pregnant.  Like it is any of their business.  Talk about a smoking privacy invasion.  So what are they actually doing and why are they doing it?

Apparently, these employers are collecting data about a female employee’s age, her Internet search history, and whether she has stopped filling her birth control prescriptions.  The consultants — the ones with the black stocking caps and flashlights — say that, “generally” speaking, the employers don’t have the information to connect the data to individual employees.  Doesn’t that “generally” speaking language make you feel all warm and fuzzy?????  Yeh, me, too.

So, you still  must be wondering why some employers are risking the possibility of this kind of unlawful privacy invasion.  Protection of profits, of course.  They want to get an idea of how much money the company will spend on healthcare related to employee pregnancies and associated medical costs.  So, for them, the question becomes whether the end justifies the means.  I guess it depends on how greedy the company is.

Another important question for me involves what other ways this “data” can be used by companies to adversely affect women employees?  After all, the issue of a company’s responsibility for an employee’s pregnancy-related healthcare costs disappears into thin air when the employee is terminated by the company for unrelated reasons.  Could the  healthcare coverage that employees hold dear be used as a sword and not a shield in this way?

We can hope that law firms —- full of folks who presumably should pause to contemplate the legality of these practices — would not take such risks.  But, who knows?  Lots of bad things are done in the name of money.

What to do?  Protection is key.  You may want to fill your birth control prescriptions no matter what!  Just saying!



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

“Agreeing to Disagree” Can Be a Useful Tool for Women Lawyers

Maybe you do not like the sound of “agreeing to disagree.”  It may be too soft for you and not protective enough of your turf.  Maybe you always want to have people know exactly where you stand on everything and be prepared to do battle if your way is not the highway.

Well, that is certainly one way of behaving.  But, it often is not the most effective one and sacrifices too much.  I was reminded of this last weekend when I heard the sad news about the death of Justice Scalia.  I remembered his well-publicized friendship with Justice Ginsburg.  They were two people at the polar opposites of legal theory and interpretation, but they enjoyed each other’s company, attended the opera side by side, and laughed a lot together.  From all accounts, it was an unlikely but rather beautiful friendship.  My best guess is that they both had to agree to disagree a lot, and it was well worth it.

Agreeing to disagree can be a powerful negotiation tool.  When things get heated and positions are becoming too entrenched, it is often time to step back and reassess.  Ask yourself whether it is worth it to embarrass and infuriate the opposition or whether something less will accomplish more.  No one ever taught me this in law school, but I remember the power of it as if it happened just yesterday.

On that day, so many yesterdays ago, I found myself on the opposite side of a senior lawyer, who had been one of my revered mentors at my first law firm.  This time, however, he was railing at me over the phone and reminding me that he had “taught me better” than to be taking certain positions, and I was tempted to fire back at him in kind.  But, I could not.  He truly had taught me so much, and he had trusted me with valuable trial experience very early in my career.  I knew that he deserved to be treated like the elder wise man that he was — even if he was yelling at me!  So, without understanding exactly where it came from, I told him that he and I would have to “agree to disagree.”  I was not sure that he had heard me through his indignant diatribe, so I repeated it.

Silence.  That is what I heard next.  I had disarmed him with such unpredictable but firm and effective language.  How do you argue against agreeing to disagree?  And why would you want to?

Recently when I was speaking to a law school audience, a young woman asked me if it was true that women are too nice to be trial lawyers.  My response was exactly what you would expect.  Absolutely not.  Being nice and being a tough opponent are not mutually exclusive, and women should use their inherent charm and intuition to combine the two for a winning outcome.  It is a very effective strategy.

That is what agreeing to disagree is all about.  So, the next time that you feel boxed in, try it and live to fight another round before anger and contempt take over. 

Every fighter gets sent to his or her corner for a reason.  I suspect that Justices Scalia and Ginsburg understood that.

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

Thought For The Day

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Norman Vincent Peale

Thought For The Day | Comment

Thought For The Day

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Eliot


Thought For The Day | Comment