About the Books: Advice for Young Women Lawyers and Law Firm Leaders

Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2009)

Best friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012)

Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer Law and Business/Aspen Publishers 2015)


By Susan Smith Blakely

Why are the  Best Friends at the Bar books timely?

Retention rates for women lawyers are low, and that creates problems for the legal profession where retaining talent is an important goal. The law is a demanding and male-dominated field posing many difficulties for women, especially during the childbearing years. Men and women in the law should be concerned.

How will we respond to changing professional realities and create new approaches to retaining top talent in law firms?

Start by purchasing the groundbreaking books Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law and Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer because they celebrate young women and combines a focus on improving their futures with a focus on the future of the legal profession.

The books include insight, anecdotes, profiles and career advice from more than 60 contributors with long and distinguished legal careers. They are filled with candid advice and address challenges facing women in the law by offering solutions tailored to the needs of pre-law and law school students as well as young legal professionals.

Readers will get the inside story from attorneys and judges, as well as insights from managing partners of large international firms, law school deans, and directors of law school career services.

What will keep women in their chosen field and benefit the legal profession?

Whether you are considering a career in law, are pre-law, in law school, or just getting started in your practice, career advice from the contributors will be invaluable. They will become your best friends at the bar.

Many people will benefit from the career advice in the Best Friends at the Bar books, including:

The books also serve as valuable resources for men at the beginning of their legal careers. Men will benefit from historical information about the legal profession and from discussions about achieving work-life balance, and they will gain important insight into the issues facing their colleagues and women lawyers they will marry, supervise in the future and be supervised by in the future.

The chapter in the first book about economic effects on the legal profession is a “must read” for all young lawyers, men and women alike. More importantly, career advice, including how to make good choices and avoid the pitfalls of practice, will resonate with men as well.

The Best Friends at the Bar books will:

  • Help young lawyers plan satisfying and successful careers;
  • Provide candid and valuable advice for young lawyers who want to change the future of women in law;
  • Entertain with “Case in Point” true-life experiences of women in the law who represent different ages, races, and ethnicities;
  • Provide role models through interesting profiles of women in transition in the profession;
  • Address business, cultural, and personal conditions of women in the law; and
  • Explain why it is vital to retain women in law for the future of the legal profession itself.

Join Forces in Facing Professional Challenges Together

The Best Friends at the Bar books are all about problems and solutions, but Ms. Blakely does not point fingers.  After learning about her books people often ask:

“Is the legal profession at fault because women have these life-altering challenges? Or does the fault lie with young women in the law?”

Ms. Blakely refuses to be distracted by thinking in terms of fault.

Instead, she emphasizes the power of defining challenges that come with a career in the law today and of working together to meet those challenges.

Although the flexibility needed to balance work-life responsibilities may seem to be on a collision course with the institutional demands of law firms, Ms. Blakely refuses to accept shortsighted solutions. She urges members of the profession to seek out solutions that will retain talented men and women and improve the profession.

Ms. Blakely leads readers towards solutions while reaching out to the best in her profession. Her mission is to enlist the cooperation of law firms, lawyers, law schools, and law school career counselors to create new options and environments where everybody wins.

             Multi-Session Program for Law Firms

Contact Susan to explore a program that works for your firm.  There are so many possibilities with the Multi-session Program to supplement law firm Women’s Initiatives.  Designed as a year-long program, the sessions can be tailored to the needs of your law firm and presented on a time table that works best for your lawyers.  The subjects for this program include:

Session One: Developing Effective Leaders to Meet the Special Challenges for Women Lawyers;
Session Two: Owning Your Career;
Session Three: Achieving Both Commitment to Career and Balance Between Personal and Professional Lives;
Session Four: The Importance of Networking and Client Development; and
Session Five: Looking Back and Moving Forward to Successful and Satisfying Careers.

This program is what your law firm needs to assure that it is protecting the talent that women lawyers represent and educating ALL lawyers in the firm about the challenges to women lawyers and how to address and help overcome those challenges —for the sake of the women lawyers, the law firm, and the law profession.

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