Thought For The Week

“Play Like A Girl”. Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt soccer and first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game last weekend.

Thought For The Day | Comment

Follow the Women and Be Thankful

There has not been a lot of good news nationally during 2020. The pandemic, forced isolation, shutdowns and other related economic issues have given us little to smile about and be hopeful.

But now that has changed. Finally, after voting in the presidential election was concluded more than three weeks ago, the transition between administrations is underway, and President-elect Biden has announced a White House staff and cabinet picks reflecting the talent and the power of women.

For the White House, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, will be the Deputy Chief of Staff. Dana Remus will be White House Counsel, and Julie Chavez Rodriguez has been chosen as the Director of the White House Office of Governmental Affairs. And Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon will be the Chief of Staff for Dr. Jill Biden, who rumor has it will continue her teaching responsibilities at Northern Virginia Community College. An awesome First Lady in waiting, who values her work outside the home. Bravo to that!

Picks for the cabinet include: Janet Yellen, former Fed Chair, for Secretary of Treasury; Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as Ambassador to the United Nations.

These women, some of whom require Senate confirmation, all represent experience and proven competence. No new-comers to government or dilettantes here. Just good solid hit-the-ground- running women. What we so desperately need after such a long and dry spell.

So, be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that our national leadership will represent us well — as citizens and as women.

And also be thankful for the vaccine — or three — ready to launch against COVID-19 in a matter of weeks or months. That is huge, and we must give thanks to the medical and research communities for work around the clock administering care to victims of the pandemic and pushing hard for effective treatments and vaccines. We will never forget.

The table at our house will look different this Thanksgiving Day, and that may be true of yours also. Keep the faith and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! 2021 is shaping up to get us back to our friends and families with strong and lasting memories of what we learned from 2020 about the priorities and values we hold dear.

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | 1 Comment

Thought For The Week

“Being thankful is strength training for the heart.” Larissa Gomez

Career Counselors, Thought For The Day | Comment

Webinar for Millennial Lawyers and Those Who Lead Them

Earlier today I presented a Webinar for Busy Lawyers. The format of this webinar series is 20 to 30 minutes of remarks plus Q and A. I was pleased to get so many questions at the end and to feel the enthusiasm from the moderator and the attendees. We could have taken more questions, but there just was not time. Those busy lawyers needed to get back to work!

The topic was “What Millennial Lawyers Want,” and the webinar was directed at millennial lawyers and the senior lawyers who lead them. It is always an interesting topic, and one that I love to present. My remarks began with research about millennials in general. How millennials were raised, what social issues affected them during those formative years, and what values they acquired early on is the only logical starting point for a discussion about millennial lawyers. After that, we moved on to the millennial lawyers in particular, and the generational divide that exists between them and more seasoned lawyers. I shared recent developments at law firms, where the issues are being effectively addressed, and other information about mentoring, effective communication, the special challenges for women lawyers, and the elements of a shared solution for the dilemma posed by the generational divide … and much, much more.

Here is a link so that you can enjoy listening to the webinar and seeing the Power Point on your own time:

Thank you to the webinar hosts and to all of you who submitted questions. It was a pleasure speaking to you!

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

Thought For The Week

Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. Cynthia Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks

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Thank a Veteran Today

I am very proud of my father (US Army WWII) and my husband (US Marine Corps, Vietnam Era) for their service. I also am proud of all of you who remember the service of others and thank them for it. Everyone cannot serve, but everyone can appreciate the sacrifice.

Career Counselors | Comment

Witnessing a First for Women Across the Nation

I will never forget where I was for a variety of significant events in America. Some, like the assassinations of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy are burned in my brain as if by a branding iron. They brought such fear and dread that was indescribable for a child of 16 and then 21. I was in a high school algebra class when JFK was assassinated, and my teacher was not able to conjure up enough perspective to comfort me and my fellow classmates. I was in college for the following two assassinations, and it was phone calls to my father that helped me through. As a student at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960’s witnessing civil rights protests and Vietnam War riots up close and personal on our campus, those were very scary times.

And some of those significant moments in history were completely joyous. I witnessed man take first steps on the moon, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Berlin Wall coming down, and, yes, the Beatles coming to America!

Scary times still exist today, as do joyous times. On Saturday, November 7, at 11:24 AM, I was not frightened. I was joyous, relieved, elated and hopeful. I had been watching cable news for four days straight, refusing to leave the house or the TV for fear that I would miss experiencing the moment when the first woman in our country’s history became the second most powerful person in America.

My tears flowed like so many others because decency had been restored to the office of the presidency and Kamala Harris had become the first woman vice president elect of the United States of America. Yes, she also will be the first black woman, as well as the first Asian woman, to ascend to that high office, but for me it is all about her being the first woman.

Women across American knew at that moment in history that their opportunities for being seen and being heard had just taken giant leaps forward. They likely recalled hearing Senator Harris say to a man, who had interrupted her at the vice presidential debate earlier in the Fall, “Excuse me, I am speaking. I am speaking.” And they knew that she intended to be heard. And perhaps they also knew that they would be heard by her and by so many others because of her.

100 years after women finally were given the right to vote in our great nation, Kamala Harris stepped onto the stage Sunday night in suffragette white to be recognized as “The First.” And I only can imagine that playing like a video loop in her mind were the words of her mother that she so often recites, “Kamala, you may be a first in many things. But make sure you are not the last.”

Something tells me that she will keep those words close and make sure her mother is honored in all that lies ahead for her and for us.

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

Millennial Lawyers Think They Work for Jerks: Are They Right?

I hear it all the time from our newest generation of lawyers. “I work for a jerk.” “I can’t please my supervisor with ANYTHING I do.” “Everything has to be PERFECT. Nothing else matters,” and “This guy thrives on my weaknesses and failures.”

According to a recent article, there are some tell-tale signs that, indeed, your boss may be a jerk. A brilliant jerk at that, but, nonetheless, a certifiable jerk.

So what does it take for a hardworking and dedicated boss to become a jerk? Here is how it is explained in the article:

A brilliant but abrasive leader is extremely talented but is driven to gain recognition above all else. They are exceptionally intelligent, but they use that intelligence for their own professional benefit rather than in the best interest of the company. … They are blinded to the costs their behavior has for individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole. They can destroy people’s self-confidence and inflict serious, lasting damage on their company. This toxic environment erodes morale and causes turnover to spike.

Pretty harsh but probably well-deserved. Even though it may be difficult to be a manager — and I know from personal experience that it is — that is no excuse for the kind of self-centered and destructive behavior described above. And that kind of behavior needs to be called out and avoided at all costs.

So beware of these bad managers. Look for the following characteristics:

  • Lack of empathy;
  • Volatile and manipulative behavior;
  • Perfectionism, including setting unrealistic standards and deadlines for themselves and others;
  • Difficulty with personal relationships, including low emotional IQs and trouble dealing with individual weaknesses; and
  • Fear of failure and belief that their leadership is always being challenged and judged by the failures of their direct reports.

And commit the following words to memory:

Abrasive leaders can be incredibly charismatic, especially to clients. Due to their razor-sharp intelligence, they have strong powers of persuasion. But they also create a culture of fear that robs employees of their voice and deadens creativity.

Don’t be robbed. Leaders with these kinds of negative characteristics do not change. But you can. You can change departments or change employers. Anything less is self torture.

And you deserve more.

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