Public Speaking, Awards, Publications and Media Presentations: Work-Life Balance & Successful Law Careers for Women

Retention, Work-Life Balance and Career Advice for Women in the Law: Learn More by Bringing Susan Smith Blakely to Your Event


I welcome public speaking opportunities to discuss key issues addressed in my books, Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law, Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer,  and Best Friends at the Bar:  Top Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, at undergraduate colleges, law schools, law firms, and law organizations.

Retention rates for young women lawyers are especially low 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.  If you would like to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact me at [email protected].

I speak on a wide range of subjects. Here are some representative speech topics:

*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;

*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 Women 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



Future Speaking Engagements & Events

Catholic University Law, Spring 2018, Date TBA

DC Women’s Bar Association Book Event, Washington, DC, Date TBA


Past Speaking Engagements & Events

Speaker, Charlotte Women Lawyers, Charlotte, NC, February 2, 2018

Speaker, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, New York City, November 15, 2017

Speaker, Oklahoma City Bar Association, September 29, 2017

Speaker, Womble Carlyle, April 28, 2017

Keynote Speaker, Federal Bar Association Women Lawyers Conference, Tampa, Florida, April 7, 2017

Speaker, American Health Lawyers Association Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 31, 2017

Speaker, Presidential Inaugural Scholarship Summit, January 19, 2017.

Speaker, Jackson Walker Law Firm, Dallas, Texas, November 8, 2016

Speaker, ACI Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, July 28, 2016

Speaker, Simpson Thacher Law Firm, New York, NY, July 15, 2016

Panelist, Federal Bar Association Women Lawyers Conference, New Orleans, April 21,

Program Featured Speaker, Practising Law Institute One-Hour Briefing on “The Challenges to Women Lawyers”, March 30, 2016

Speaker, Catholic University Law, March 14, 2016

Speaker, University of Baltimore Law, March 8, 2016

Guest, International Podcast “Your Working Life” with host Carolyn Dowd-Higgins, February 29, 2016

Speaker, University of Maryland Law, February 3, 2016

Discussion facilitator, Legal Market Roundtable, NewLAWu.s., New York City, September 30, 2015

Panel Moderator, Georgetown Law Women’s Forum, February 27, 2015

Speaker, Women’s Business Roundtable, Tysons Corner, VA, January 29, 2015

Speaker, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), December 2, 2014

Speaker, Georgetown University Alumni Career Services Webinar, “Special Challenges to Women Lawyers,”November 18, 2014

Speaker and Classroom Lecturer, Wake Forest University School of Law, October 22 and 23, 2014

Speaker, University of Washington Law, October 16, 2014

Panelist, International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA), Seattle, WA, October 15-17, 2014

Speaker, South Carolina Women’s Lawyer’s Association, October 10, 2014

Speaker, Erie County (PA) Bar Association, September 19, 2014

Speaker, Women in Business Superseries (UK) — Webinar, August 29, 2014

Speaker, Georgetown University Alumni Career Services Webinar, “Relaunch,”  August 5, 2014

Keynote Address, University of Baltimore Law Women’s Bar Association, April 25, 2014

Panelist, ABA Webinar, “Getting a Book Published and Marketed:  Legal Issues, Tips and Tactics,”  March 27, 2014

Program Participant, WAPLA Pre-Law Conference, Denver, Colorado, March 27 and 28, 2014

Book Talk, Polsinelli, Chicago Office, February 28, 2014

Nominee, Ms. JD Sharing Her Passion Award, Awards Dinner, University of Texas Law School, February 20, 2014

Speaker, Baylor University Law School, February 21 and 22, 2014

Speaker, William & Mary Law School, November 12, 2013

 SAPLA Pre-Law Conference, October 30-November 1, 2013

Speaker, Washington Women’s Weekly, Washington, DC, June 26, 2013

Speaker, The National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (AAUW), University of Maryland, May 31, 2013

Speaker, Ladies DC, Washington, DC, May 28, 2013

Speaker, Lerch Early & Brewer, May 3, 2013

Guest, CBS Radio with host Bonnie Marcus, April 24, 2013

Panelist, George Washington University Women in Business, April 6, 2013

Speaker, University of Maryland Law School, April 10, 2013

Speaker, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, February 19, 2013

Key Note Speaker, Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, October 30, 2012.

Book Talk at University of Detroit Mercy Law School, October 26, 2012.

Panelist, 2012 Ms. JD National Conference, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DC, October 5, 2012.

Book Launch Event for Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer, Georgetown Law, September 27, 2012.

Speaker, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations Leadership Summit, Jenner & Block, Chicago, August 3, 2012.

Book Reception, Polsinelli Shughart, Chicago Office, August 2, 2012

Speaker, 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, University of Maryland, June 1, 2012.

Speaker, Whiteford Taylor Preston, Washington, DC, March 30, 2012

Speaker, Washington and Lee Law School, November 30, 2011

Panelist, American Bar Association Annual Air & Space Law TIPS Conference, October 20-21, 2011

Speaker, University of Miami School of Law, October 5, 2011

Speaker, Holland & Knight, Miami, October 5, 2011

Speaker, Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, October 4, 2011

Speaker, St. Thomas University Law School, October 3, 2011

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

Speaker, DLA Piper, July 14, 2011

Panelist, Georgetown University, April 15, 2011

Speaker, Seton Hall University School of Law, April 12, 2011

Speaker, Marquette University Law School, April 7, 2011

Speaker, University of Wisconsin Law School, April 6, 2011

Speaker, Georgetown University Law Center, March 24, 2011

Speaker, University of Maryland School of Law, March 23, 2011

Speaker, University of Virginia School of Law, February 9, 2011

Exhibitor, Western Association of Pre-Law Advisors (WAPLA) Conference, UNLV Boyd School of Law, February 4 and 5, 2011

Speaker, Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, LLP, Chicago, December 9, 2010.

Speaker, Polsinelli Shughart, Chicago, December 8, 2010

Speaker, George Washington University LawDC Women’s Bar Association, November 18, 2010

Guest, NAWL (National Association of Women Lawyers) teleconference, October 12, 2010, 2 PM EST

Speaker, University of Detroit Mercy Law School, October 4, 2010

Speaker, University of Baltimore Law School/Maryland Women’s Bar Association, September 28, 2010

Speaker, Virginia Women Attorney’s Association—N VA Chapter, June 9, 2010

Speaker, Crowell & Moring, Women’s Initiative, March 18, 2010

Keynote Speaker, Roger Williams University School of Law, Women in Law Day, March 10, 2010

Speaker, American University Washington College of Law, Founder’s Day, February 4, 2010

Speaker, DLA Piper Book Reception, Washington, DC, December 10, 2009

Panelist, Lawyer Re-Entry Program, American University Washington College of Law, November 8, 2008

Speaker, Symposium on Women and Economic Issues in the Law, DC Women’s Bar Association and Georgetown University Law Center, 1981

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


Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Awards, 2016

Ms. JD Sharing Her Passion Award at the annual Ms. JD conference in San Francisco in 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), was released in November 2009.
It is available for purchase on this web site and through Amazon Books.

Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business), was released in July 2012.  It is available for purchase on this web site from the publisher and through Amazon Books.

Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers) was released in July 2015.  It is available for purchase on this website from the publisher and through Amazon Books.

Articles by Susan Smith Blakely

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

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

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

The Law School Decision,” University of Michigan: Website:…60…

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

Noted and Quoted in Publications:

Daily Report:

American Assoc of Law Librarians – Book Review:

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: Cite to BFAB:…/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 — Book Review:…/007379/

TimeSolv:   Book Review:

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


The Best Friends at the Bar Newsletter is published by subscription only.  To get on the mailing list, e-mail [email protected]  The newsletter updates readers on issues affecting young women law students and lawyers and includes articles from guest contributors.


Maryland Public Television:

CBS Radio:  Bonnie Marcus Show, April 24, 2013

CBS Carolyn Dowd-Higgins, June 4, 2013

Voice America Radio with host Chris Efessiou (September 19, 2013):

Practising Law Institute (PLI) Webinar, “Challenges to Women Lawyers,” March 30, 2016

Georgetown University Alumni Career Services Webinar, “Special Challenges to Women Lawyers”, November 18, 2014

George University Alumni Career Services Webinar, “Relaunch,” August 5, 2014

ABA Webinar, “Getting a Book Published and Marketed:  Legal Issues, Tips and Tactics,” March 27, 2014

Women in Business Superseries (UK) Webinar, August 29, 2014

National Association of Women Lawyers Teleconference, October 2010

International Podcast, “Your Working Life with Carolyn Dowd Higgins”, February 2016

YouTube Videos:  Susan Smith Blakely Channel

Video of Presentation at Womble Carlyle: