Speaking, Media Publications, Awards & Consulting

Susan Smith Blakely regularly speaks and consults to law firms, law organizations, colleges, law schools, and professional groups about the important insights from her own extensive experience and research for her books.

As a consultant, Susan brings practical, real-world solutions to law firms, law organizations, and law schools to make them more competitive for the 21st century. A gifted public speaker, she brings warmth, wisdom, and a fearless look at the challenges facing young women lawyers and the legal profession to all of her conversations and speeches.  As one audience member put it:

Susan Smith Blakely is a warm and confident speaker who shares her experiences and ideas while providing work-life balance and career advice for women attorneys—her recent engagement to speak for a Women’s Bar Association of Maryland event was enlightening, entertaining, and informative. Thank you, Susan!

L. Teri Spradlin-Dahn, Attorney at Law, LEED AP; Former-Chapter President Women’s Bar Association of Maryland

Susan has guided and mentored young lawyers throughout her career as a way of giving back to her profession. Whether she presents lessons learned through public speaking, consulting, career counseling, or in her groundbreaking books, Susan continually strives  to improve conditions and retention rates for all young attorneys.


Retaining young lawyers can be a challenge for law firm leadership. Susan will work with young women lawyers in your firm and consult with diversity leadership and women’s initiatives to develop programs that benefit both your firm and women attorneys.  She also will work with millennial lawyers and law firm leadership to address the new set of values represented by millennial lawyers and ways for your firm to respond to those values and needs.  Her program on Soft Skills for Lawyers is a MUST for young lawyers and will reap countless benefits to the law firm.  This is what they do not teach in law school.


Law Career Counseling

Law school educators and career counselors find that Susan’s messages contain just the right balance of emphasis on education and planning, caution, and empowerment. If young lawyers don’t recognize and prepare for the challenges that await them in their careers, they will not thrive and many will abandon practice. Having a time-tested mentor, who shares their experience and insight, can make all the difference between success and failure. Best Friends at the Bar is a great place for young lawyers to start the journey toward successful firms and more balanced law firms.


Public Speaking

Whether you are looking for a vibrant speaker for your college, law school, professional organization, or law firm Women’s Initiative or retreat, you can demonstrate support for young lawyers by inviting Susan to speak about successful career planning, realities of the legal profession, cutting edge solutions to help retain valuable talent, effective leadership for young lawyers, and the soft skills that they will need to succeed in the profession.  Her programs will appeal to all young lawyers and law students, and to program leaders and managers at law firms.


Podcast Guest, Indiana Public Radio, April 2023, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/[email protected]/WhctKKXwvpJtFWBFPgjrGKvFCrZXNJjLHdNRQQBQMnfRmCsrvZbHBxwfTwRCKfvMltnCbwb?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1

Speaker, Montana Defense Trial Lawyers, November 2021.

Guest, Wake Up Call Podcast, July 2021, https://anchor.fm/christina-previte/episodes/82–Exclusive-Interview-with-Susan-Smith-Blakely-Her-Response-to-the-ABA-Journal-Article-e14q80e

Webinar Presenter, Durham University (UK) Women in Law Society, March 8, 2021

Webinar Presenter, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, November 2020, : https://www.masslomap.org/what-millennial-lawyers-want-and-how-to-effectively-lead-them-webinar/

Video Interview, American Inns of Court, December 2019

Speaker, ABA Anti-Trust Women’s Initiative, Washington, DC, November 2019

Panelist, Bast Amron, Miami, FLA, November 2019

Professional Development Program,  “Owning Your Career,” Thompson Reuters/West, November 2019

Speaker, Skarzyniski Marick NYC, Partnership Retreat, July 24, 2019

Speaker, Sidley NYC, July 23, 2019

Podcast Speaker, Gen Why Lawyer, May 16, 2019

Webinar Speaker, Celesq AttorneysEdCenter/Thomspon Reuters/West, May 22, 2019

Speaker, Pro Bono Institute Annual Conference, Washington DC, March 2019

Panelist, DC Women’s Bar Association, IP Group, March 2019

Speaker, Weil Gotshal DC and DC Women’s Bar Association, March 2019

Podcast Guest, Legal Talk Network/Legal Toolkit, February 2019:  https://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/legal-toolkit/2019/04/millennial-lawyers-what-they-want-what-they-need/

Speaker, University of Detroit Mercy Law School, Detroit, MI, February 2019

Book Launch, Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago, February 2019

Speaker, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, MO, October 2018

Speaker, Charlotte Women Lawyers, Charlotte, NC, February, 2018

Speaker, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher Law Firm, New York, NY, November 2017

Speaker, Oklahoma City Bar Association, Oklahoma City, OK, September 2017

Speaker, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Washington, DC, April 2017

Keynote Speaker, Federal Bar Association Women Lawyers Conference, Tampa, FL, April 2017

Speaker, American Health Lawyers Association Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 2017

Speaker, Presidential Inaugural Scholarship Summit, Washington, DC, January 2017.

Speaker, Jackson Walker Law Firm, Dallas, TX, November 2016

Speaker, ACI Healthcare Law Conference, Boston, MA, July 2016

Speaker, Simpson Thacher Law Firm, New York, NY, July 2016

Panelist, Federal Bar Association Women Lawyers Conference, New Orleans, LA, April 2016

Webinar Featured Speaker, Practising Law Institute (PLI) , March 30, 2016

Speaker, Catholic University Law, Washington, DC, March, 2016

Speaker, University of Baltimore School of Law, Baltimore, MD, March 2016

Guest, Your Working Life Podcast With Caroline Dowd-Higgins, February 2016

Speaker, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD, February 2016

Panelist, Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) Conference, Washington, DC, October 2015

Discussion Leader, NewLAWu.s. Legal Market Roundtable, New York, NY, September 2015

Panel Moderator, Georgetown Law Women’s Forum, Washington, DC, February 2015

Speaker, Women’s Business Roundtable, McLean, VA, January 2015

Speaker, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, December 2014

Speaker, Georgetown University Alumni Career Services Webinar, November 2014

Speaker and Classroom Lecturer, Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC, October 2014

Speaker, University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, WA, October 2014

Panelist, International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA), Seattle, WA, October 2014

Speaker, South Carolina Women Lawyer’s Association, Charleston, SC, October 2014

Keynote Speaker, Erie County Bar Association, Erie County, PA, September 2014

Webinar Speaker, Women in Business Superseries (UK), August 2014

Webinar Speaker, Georgetown University Alumni Career Services, August 2014

Keynote Speaker, University of Baltimore Law Women’s Bar Association, Baltimore, MD, April 2014

Webinar Panelist, American Bar Association Copyright and Trademark Section, March 2014

Panelist, WAPLA Pre-Law Conference, Denver, CO, March 2014

Speaker, Polsinelli Law Firm, Chicago, IL, February 2014

Speaker, Baylor Law School, Waco, TX, February 2014

Speaker, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA, November 2013

Guest, Voice America Radio with Host Chris Efessiou, September 2013

Speaker,Washington Women’s Weekly, Washington, DC, June 2013

Speaker, National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (AAUW), University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, May  2013

Speaker, Ladies DC, Washington, DC, May 2013

Speaker, Lerch Early & Brewer Law Firm, Bethesda, MD, May 2013

Guest, CBS Radio with Host Bonnie Marcus, April 2013

Panelist, George Washington University Women in Business Conference, Washington, DC, April 2013

Speaker, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD, April 2013

Speaker, College of the Holy Cross Pre-Law Program, Worcester, MA, February 2013

Keynote Speaker, Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, October 2012.

Speaker, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, MI, October 2012.

Panelist, Ms. JD National Conference, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DC,  October 2012.

Speaker, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations Leadership Summit, Chicago, IL, August 2012.

Speaker, National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (AAUW), University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, June 2012.

Speaker, Whiteford Taylor Preston Law Firm, Washington, DC, March 2012

Speaker, Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, VA, November 2011

Panelist, American Bar Association Air & Space Law Conference, Washington, DC, October 2011

Speaker, University of Miami School of Law, Miami, FL, October 2011

Speaker, Holland & Knight Law Firm, Miami FL, October 2011

Speaker, Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami, FL, October  2011

Speaker, St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens, FL, October 2011

Panelist, George Mason University Law School, Arlington, VA, September 19, 2011

Speaker, DLA Piper Law Firm, Washington, DC, July 2011

Panelist, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, April 2011

Speaker, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ, April 2011

Speaker, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI, April 2011

Speaker, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI, April 2011

Speaker, Georgetown Law, Washington, DC, March 2011

Panelist, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD, March 2011

Speaker, University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, VA, February 2011

Speaker, Paul Hastings Law Firm, Chicago, IL, December 2010.

Speaker, Polsinelli Shughart Law Firm, Chicago, IL, December 2010

Speaker, George Washington University Law School/DC Women’s Bar Association Joint Program, George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC, November 2010

Speaker, National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Teleconference, October 2010

Speaker, University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law, Detroit, MI, October 2010

Speaker, University of Baltimore Law School/Maryland Women’s Bar Association Joint Program, Baltimore, MD, September 2010

Speaker, Virginia Women Attorney’s Association, Alexandria, VA, June 2010

Speaker, Crowell & Moring Law Firm, Washington, DC, March 2010

Keynote Speaker, Roger Williams University School of Law, Bristol, RI, March 2010

Speaker, American University Washington School of Law, Washington, DC, February 2010

Speaker, DLA Piper Law Firm Book Reception, Washington, DC, December 2009

Panelist, American University Washington College of Law Lawyer Re-Entry Program, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, November 2008

If you would like to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact Ms. Blakely at [email protected].


Susan Smith Blakely is a prolific writer on issues related to young lawyers.  Her writings include a five-volume book series and scores of articles in mainstream legal media. In addition to being one of only ten monthly columnists for the American Bar Association Journal, she also publishes a periodic newsletter and makes some of her presentations available on YouTube.

BOOKS by Susan Smith Blakely

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

Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, 2012)

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

What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2018)

New Lawyer Launch:  The Handbook for Young Lawyers (Full Court Press, 2022)

All books are available for purchase on this web site and through Amazon Books.

 ARTICLES by Susan Smith Blakely and Reviews of Her Work

The Washington Lawyer, May/June 2023, “Purposeful Mentoring Helps Young Lawyers Thrive”, https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/mayjune2023/index.php#/p/34

The Anchora of Delta Gamma, Spring 2023, “Written”

Law 360, March 23, 2023,  “Practical Skills That Young Lawyers Should Master to Become Happier,” https://www.law360.com/articles/1588386/practical-skills-young-attorneys-must-master-to-be-happier

ABA Journal On-Line, June 29, 2021, “Are Women Lawyers Paying Enough Attention to Upward Mobility?” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/are-women-lawyers-paying-enough-attention-to-upward-mobility

ABA Journal On-Line, May 29, 2021, “Whether to Return to the Office and How to Handle Those Tough Conversations,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/whether-to-return-to-the-office-how-to-handle-those-tough-conversations

ABA Journal On-Line, April 27, 2021, “In Defense of the Team:  What Basketball and Law Practice Have in Common,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/in-defense-of-the-team-what-basketball-and-law-practice-have-in-common

ABA Journal On-Line, February 24, 2021, “How Lawyers Can Reengineer Our Profession from the Bottom Up,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/reverse-engineering-the-law-profession

ABA Journal On-Line, January 26, 2021, “How to Restore Trust for a Profession in Transition,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/restoring-trust-for-a-profession-in-transition

ABA Journal On-Line, December 23, 2020, ” Holiday Wishes for Women Lawyers,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/my-holiday-wishes-for-women-lawyers

ABA Journal On-Line, November 19, 2020, “The Power of Decency in the Law Profession,https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/the-power-of-decency-in-the-legal-profession

ABA Journal On-Line, October 26, 2020, “Law Firms Must Do More Effective Damage Control to Survive,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/law-firms-must-do-more-effective-damage-control-to-survive

ABA Journal On-Line, September 24, 2020, “Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” https://www.abajournal.com/columns/article/in-appreciation-of-a-tiny-and-gentle-giant

ABA Journal On-Line, May 14, 2020, “What Can Law Firm Leaders Learn from a Pandemic?” https://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/what-can-law-firm-leaders-learn-from-a-pandemic

ABA Journal On-Line, March 25, 2020, “Law Firms are Making the Same Mistakes with Women and Millennials,”  https://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/law_firms_are_making_the_same_mistakes_with_women_and_millennialsYou harnessing your millennial power?,”  http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/mind-the-gap

ABA Journal On-Line, March 7, 2019, “Law Firms Shouldn’t Overlook the Value of Soft Skills,”  https://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/law-firms-shouldnt-overlook-the-value-of-soft-skills

ABA Journal On-Line, “As Women Lawyers Gain Influence, They Must Retain the Law’s Foundational Values,” http://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/gaining_in_influence_women_lawyers_must_be_careful_what_they_wish_for, December 20, 2018

ABA Business Law Today, “Good Law Firm Business:  Protecting Millennial Talent,” https://businesslawtoday.org/2018/11/good-law-firm-business-protecting-millennial-talent/, November 15, 2018

Law360, “Losing Law Firm Talent at Both Ends,” https://www.law360.com/articles/1094538/protecting-law-firm-talent-at-both-ends-, October 30, 2018

Corporate Counsel, October 2018, ” What Millennial Lawyers Want,” https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/2018/10/25/what-millennial-lawyers-want-a-bridge-from-the-past-to-the-future-of-law-practice — October 10, 2018

Lawyer & Statesman, “Flexible Work Models Should Improve Law Firm Culture,” , National Jurist, March 21, 2017

DC Women’s Bar Association Raising the Bar, “Recent Developments on Gender Pay Equity,” Raising the Bar, December 2016

Corporate Counsel,  June 2016, “Is Work-Life Balance a Hopeless Goal in the Legal Profession?” reprinted in DC Women’s Bar Association Raising the Bar, (archived and only available through Nexis Lexis)

University of Michigan Website, “The Law School Decision,” https://careercenter.umich.edu/articles/popular/writing-better-bullet-points?…60…

Law 360,Protecting Law Firm Talent at Both Ends”, October 2018, https://www.law360.com/articles/1094538/protecting-law-firm-talent-at-both-ends-

NALP Handbook for Pre-Law Advisors, “Special Challenges for Women Lawyers,”  Book Chapter, 2015

Noted and Quoted In:

Bloomberg Law, Vivia Chen, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/theres-a-new-episode-of-mommy-wars-at-the-american-bar-association

Above The Law, Nicole Black, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/11/what-in-the-world-can-be-done-about-millennial-lawyers/

Above The Law, Nicole Black, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/12/millennial-lawyers-what-you-need-to-know-to-succeed/

Minnesota Lawyer:  https://minnlawyer.com/2019/12/04/heres-a-2019-holiday-gift-guide-for-lawyers/

Law Absolute:  8 Skills for a successful law career, http://www.lawabsolute.com/recruitment-news/article/8-skills-you-need-for-a-successful-legal-career

Triad Business Journal, “Pursuing Partnership is Still the Norm, but Millennials are Altering the Legal Landscape” April 19, 2019.

Book Review:  Above The Law: Review in Two Parts of “What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice;” https://abovethelaw.com/2018/11/what-in-the-world-can-be-done-about-millennial-lawyers/, November 29, 2018 and https://abovethelaw.com/2018/12/millennial-lawyers-what-you-need-to-know-to-succeed/, December 13, 2018.

Book Review:  The Virginia Lawyer, October 2018, Volume 67.

Law 360, https://www.law360.com/articles/1104964/newlaw-is-wooing-biglaw-s-young-talent-

University of Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, Fall 2018, Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43204524-wisconsin-alumni

Daily Report: http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202793623943/Law-Firms-WorkLife-Warrior-Award-Recognizes-Messy-Truth-Theres-More-to-Life-Than-Work

American Assoc of Law Librarians – Book Review: https://aallspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/book-review-best-friends-at-the-bar/

Women’s Law Journal (WLJ) published by NAWL: Book 3 Review in Vol 101, No 1, page 32 (2016)

American Bar Association — Cites BFAB: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/litigation/materials/2014_sac/2014_sac/lean_in_for_lawyers.authcheckdam.pdf

Examiner Newspaper: /www.examiner.com/article/best-friends-at-the-bar-author-susan-smith-blakeley-says-women-can-have-it-all

Forbes Woman, www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2012/07/20/your-bff-at-the-bar-would-like-to-have-a-few-words-with-you/

Girl’s Guide to Law School http://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com/05/should-i-become-a-lawyer-some-advice-from-the-author-of-best-friends-at-the-bar/

 Her Campus — How to Get Into Law School — http://www.hercampus.com/life/academics/how-get-law-school

Intern Queen: Speech Review: https://www.internqueen.com/blog/2015/02/people-inspiring-us-2015

LA Daily Journal: https://issuu.com/elizabethblakely/docs/dailyjournal

Law Insider: www.thelawinsider.com/insider…/five-things-women-can-learn-from-sheryl-sandberg

 Lawyerist — Book Review — https://lawyerist.com/52562/best-friends-at-the-bar-the-new-balance-for-todays-woman-lawyer-book-review/

National Jurist:  http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/lawyerstatesman2016/#/16

National Jurist:  http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/op-ed-flexible-work-models-should-improve-law-firm-culture

 Daily Muse — Why Do Women Leave the Law: A Q and A: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-do-women-leave-the-law-a-qa-with-susan-smit…

Huffington Post — Advice for Women Lawyers: www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smith-blakely/women-lawyers_b_2155906.html

Law Bank – Book Review:   law-bank.com/three-tips-for-women-in-law/

Law Society of Upper Canada: www.lsuc.on.ca/uploadedFiles/…/career_advancement_lawyer_August_2012(1).pdf

 Litig8or – Advice for Women Lawyers: blog.litigatortechnology.com/…/best-friends-at-the-bar-an-interview-with-author-susa..

 Media Bistro: http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc/book-party-best-friends-at-the-bar_b83709

 PR Underground: www.prunderground.com/women-lawyers-leaving-profession-in-record…/007379/

TimeSolv:   Book Review: https://www.timesolv.com/traversing-the-legal-world-as-a-female-attorney

Women’s Law Journal (WLJ) published by NAWL:  Book Review of “Best Friends at the Bar:  What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law” in Volume 95, No. 2 (2010)


The Best Friends at the Bar Newsletter is published by subscription only.  To be added to the mailing list, please e-mail [email protected] or subscribe through the website.  The newsletter updates readers on issues affecting lawyers and law firm leadership and includes articles from guest contributors.


YouTube Videos,”Susan Smith Blakely” channel

Video of Presentation at Womble Carlyle,  http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/592612/Recruiting


Ms. Blakely has received the following recognition for her work on behalf of young lawyers:

Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Award, 2016

Ms. JD Sharing Her Passion Award, March 2015