Presentations, Awards & Media Publications

Retention, Work-Life Balance and Career Advice for Young Lawyers:  Learn More by Bringing Susan Smith Blakely to Your Event


I welcome public speaking opportunities to discuss key issues addressed in my Best Friends at the Bar books for women lawyers and What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice for ALL young lawyers.  My programs are consistently approved for CLE credits.  If you would like to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact me at [email protected].

The presentations for women lawyers address the low retention rates for women lawyers due to lack of systemic support for the issues of work-life balance and gender parity that affect so many women lawyers.  My research and conclusions detail the benefits of change for lawyers and law firms and the approach that young women lawyers take to their careers.

I speak on a wide range of subjects related to women lawyers and millennial lawyers. Here are some representative speech topics:

*What Millennial Lawyers Want;

*The Low Retention Rates for Women Lawyers and What We Can Do About It;

*Effective Leadership for Women Lawyers;

*Effective Negotiations For Women Lawyers — For Clients and For Yourself

*Why Women Lawyers Leave;

*Why Law Firms Should Care about Retention and Advancement of Women Lawyers;

*Why Law Firms Should Care about Retention and Advancement of Millennial Lawyers;

*What to Look for in a Law Firm and How to Succeed;

*The Role of Law Firm Leaders in the Success of Women Lawyers;

*Negative Leadership Behaviors and How They Impact Young Lawyers;

*How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a Male-Dominated Profession;

*Navigating the Gender Issues;

*How to Develop Personal Definitions of Success;

*The TO DO List for Success for Young Women Lawyers;

*The Art of Negotiations — for Others and for Yourself;

*The importance of Networking and Business Development;

*The Issues Surrounding Leaving the Profession and Re-entry;

*How to Create Balance Between Your Professional and Personal Lives;

*Myths Affecting Women Lawyers;

*How to Avoid the “Golden Handcuffs” of Private Law Practice and Keep Your Options Open;

*Pay Equity For Women Lawyers;

*Implicit Gender Bias and Its Relationship to Effective Leadership for Women Lawyers;

*How to Transition from One Practice Setting to Another.; and

*The Responsibility of Law Firm Leaders to “Lean In” on Retention Issues.

Here is what one audience member has to say:

The Women’s Bar Association of Maryland was honored to host Susan Blakely in September 2010 at the University of Baltimore School of Law to discuss her book. Susan is an interesting and personable woman who took the time to talk one on one with attendees before speaking. She truly is an inspiration to women lawyers – both brand new and seasoned alike – and has some amazing insight into surviving in the legal field. I only wish she had written her book before I went to law school! I would not only recommend it as a must read for any young woman contemplating a legal career, but as an attorney with 10 years of experience and a young family, it spoke to me as well.

Kelly Kenney

President, Anne Arundel County Chapter  of the Women’s Bar Association

The presentations for ALL young lawyers are non-gender specific and address what today’s young lawyers want, how young lawyers and law firms need to work together to meet the needs of today’s young lawyers and the Soft Skills young lawyers need to advance in their careers.



Past Speaking Engagements & Events

Podcast Guest, Indiana Public Radio, April 2023,[email protected]/WhctKKXwvpJtFWBFPgjrGKvFCrZXNJjLHdNRQQBQMnfRmCsrvZbHBxwfTwRCKfvMltnCbwb?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1

Speaker, Montana Defense Trial Lawyers, November 2021.

Guest, Wake Up Call Podcast, July 2021,–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, :

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:

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].


Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Award, 2016

Ms. JD Sharing Her Passion Award, March 2015


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”,

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

Law 360, March 23, 2023,  “Practical Skills That Young Lawyers Should Master to Become Happier,”

ABA Journal On-Line, June 29, 2021, “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,”

ABA Journal On-Line, April 27, 2021, “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,”

ABA Journal On-Line, January 26, 2021, “How to Restore Trust for a Profession in Transition,”

ABA Journal On-Line, December 23, 2020, ” Holiday Wishes for Women Lawyers,”

ABA Journal On-Line, November 19, 2020, “The Power of Decency in the Law Profession,

ABA Journal On-Line, October 26, 2020, “Law Firms Must Do More Effective Damage Control to Survive,”

ABA Journal On-Line, September 24, 2020, “Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,”

ABA Journal On-Line, May 14, 2020, “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,” harnessing your millennial power?,”

ABA Journal On-Line, March 7, 2019, “Law Firms Shouldn’t Overlook the Value of Soft Skills,”

ABA Journal On-Line, “As Women Lawyers Gain Influence, They Must Retain the Law’s Foundational Values,”, December 20, 2018

ABA Business Law Today, “Good Law Firm Business:  Protecting Millennial Talent,”, November 15, 2018

Law360, “Losing Law Firm Talent at Both Ends,”, October 30, 2018

Corporate Counsel, October 2018, ” What Millennial Lawyers Want,” — 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,”…60…

Law 360,Protecting Law Firm Talent at Both Ends”, October 2018, 

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

Noted and Quoted In:

Bloomberg Law, Vivia Chen,

Above The Law, Nicole Black,

Above The Law, Nicole Black,

Minnesota Lawyer:

Law Absolute:  8 Skills for a successful law 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;”, November 29, 2018 and, December 13, 2018.

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

Law 360,

University of Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, Fall 2018, Goodreads,

Daily Report:

American Assoc of Law Librarians – Book Review:

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

American Bar Association — Cites BFAB:

Examiner Newspaper: /

Forbes Woman,

Girl’s Guide to Law School

 Her Campus — How to Get Into Law School —

Intern Queen: Speech Review:

LA Daily Journal:

Law Insider:…/five-things-women-can-learn-from-sheryl-sandberg

 Lawyerist — Book Review —

National Jurist:

National Jurist:

 Daily Muse— Why Do Women Leave the Law: A Q and A:…

Huffington Post — Advice for Women Lawyers:

Law Bank – Book Review:

Law Society of Upper Canada:…/career_advancement_lawyer_August_2012(1).pdf

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

 Media Bistro:

 PR Underground:…/007379/

TimeSolv:   Book Review:

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,