Susan Smith Blakely’s groundbreaking books have the potential to change the lives of women and men in the law and support the legal profession as it reinvents itself for the 21st Century. Realism, empathy, and honesty—not blame—drive the Best Friends at the Bar project. Ms. Blakely is dedicated to improving the retention rates for women in the law and changing the way lawyers define success and achieve satisfying work-life balance.
Praise for the Book
Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law is a marvelous book, and Susan Blakely is a gifted and vibrant role model for law students!
Paula Franzese, Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law sets the bar high with an easy, practical format. This is a timely, insightful read, replete with sound and practical advice for every law student, associate and partner. Best Friends is a must-read for the managing partner, recruiting chair and diversity committee leader of every major law firm in the country.
Antonio Calabrese, Partner
With Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law, Susan Blakely makes a huge contribution to our profession. Her thoughtful presentation and her thorough research will help young women lawyers understand more about their chosen profession and have the tools to craft successful careers. I am delighted to be a part of this book, and I encourage all young women attorneys and aspiring young women attorneys to read it.
Mary Gately, Partner
As an experienced lawyer, this is the kind of book I have been waiting for all of my career. “Best Friends at the Bar” is wonderful combination of helpful advice, insights from practictioners, judges, law school deans and others as well as a framework upon which a reader can make choices about her/his future in the law. Because the author spent much time polling those in the legal profession, the advice comes from many points of view including the male perspective. All of it is interwoven seemlessly so the reader is taken through many topics without much effort. It is a must read for anyone considering a career in law but it would also prove useful to those in recruitment at law firms to understand the challenges that still face women in the law.
Monica McCabe, Partner
I am happy to recommend this book to all young women lawyers. As a litigator, especially, I understand the challenges that women face in this profession, and I know the importance of addressing these issues. Law firms and other legal employers are losing far too much excellent talent every year as women opt out of the law, and this book has the potential to open up the dialogue and improve that situation.
Richard Voigt, Partner
McCarter & English
My compliments to Susan Blakely for a book which captivates the essence of the problems of women lawyers in yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s environment!! I was particularly impressed with the information in Chapter 4 and the appealing writing style and thoughtful manner in which she presented the problems, potential solutions, career choices, and a practical approach to career planning and choices for women lawyers and young lawyers just starting out in practice. I believe that this book should be “required” reading for every law student in the country–but also for every managing partner in every law firm in the country. This book should be a fundamental “change entity” if read and practiced by men!
William Rountree, Esquire
The Rountree Group
Thank you to Susan Blakely for producing this book. Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law more than compliments my own efforts with the Opt-In Project that I initiated at Heller Ehrman years ago and continue today at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The mission of the Opt-in Project is to tap into the wisdom of industry leaders to find innovative strategies for the retention of professional women in the workforce. With this handbook of sorts, Susan Blakely is helping to bring us one step closer to our objective.
Patricia Gillette, Partner
There is a great need in law schools and the legal profession for a book like Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law. I’m very pleased that Susan Blakely has written this book and commend her for taking on this project.
Paula Monopoli, Professor of Law and Founding Director
Women Leadership & Equality Program, University of Maryland School of Law
Press for the Book
The Best Friends at the Bar books continue to receive attention and praise in the press. Read more about what the press and Susan’s colleagues in the legal profession have to say about these groundbreaking books. Susan is continually collaborating on projects to advance women in the law. Read about some of these project below.
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)
All books are available for purchase on this web site and through Amazon Books.
Articles by Susan Smith Blakely:
ABA Journal, “Law Firms Shouldn’t Overlook Value of Soft Skills,” http://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/law-firms-shouldnt-overlook-the-value-of-soft-skills?icn=sidebar&ici=image, March 7, 2019
ABA Journal, “As Women Lawyers Gain Influence, The 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, “Protecting Law Firm Talent at Both Ends,” https://www.law360.com/articles/1094538/protecting-law-firm-talent-at-both-ends-, October 30, 2018
Corporate Counsel, ” 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/?slreturn=20180926090755, 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, http://www.wbadc.org//Files/Newsletters/2016-2017/WBA_RTB_2016-2017_Issue4_NovDec.pdf
Corporate Counsel, “Is Work-Life Balance a Hopeless Goal in the Legal Profession?,” September 2016, and reprinted in DC Women’s Bar Association Raising the Bar, October 2016, http://www.corpcounsel.com/id=1202760663523/Is-WorkLife-Balance-a-Hopeless-Goal-in-the-Legal-Profession-?slreturn=20160810140531 (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…
NALP Handbook for Pre-Law Advisors, “Special Challenges for Women Lawyers,” Book Chapter, , 2015
Noted and Quoted In:
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.
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 American Lawyer: Article on law firm discounts for women-owned start-up clients: http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202752950292/Perkins-Coie-Offers-Discount-to-FemaleRun-Startups?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=2
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.
Past issues of newsletters are available by contacting the author.
YouTube Videos,”Susan Smith Blakely” channel
Video of Presentation at Womble Carlyle, http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/592612/Recruiting
- DC Spotlight interview of Susan Smith Blakely, https://youtu.be/m3uxTEAbu5k
- Legal Bisnow coverage of Susan Smith Blakely and Book Launch Event: https://www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/washington-dc-legal/book-launch-at-the-national-museum
- Georgetown Law, “Alumni Events,” Fall/Winter 2015 reports Susan Smith Blakely as moderator of a panel at the Georgetown Law Women’s Forum 2015.
- Georgetown Law, “Alumni Authors,” Fall/Winter 2015 (page 66) announces Best Friends at the Bar: Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2015)
- Girl’s Guide to Law School article by Susan Smith Blakely: http://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com/08/time-law-firm-leadership-lean.
- Georgetown Law, “Alumni in the News,” October 2015, “Don’t Squander Female Lawyers’ Talent. Susan Smith Blakely Shows You How,” featuring Legal Bisnow coverage of the Best Friends at the Bar book launch event in DC on October 26, 2015.
- Wake Forest Law News features remarks by Susan Smith Blakely on the importance of law students pacing themselves in approaching their careers, from remarks delivered at Wake Forest Law in October 2014.
- Susan Smith Blakely coaches women lawyers and is a member of the Brain Trust for the OnRamp Fellowship.
- Above The Law quotes Susan Blakely on appropriate behavior for women lawyers in the workplace.
- William & Mary Law School uses a Best Friends at the Bar book as required reading in a “Women in Law” seminar at the law school;
- The University of Michigan Career Center, publishes “The Law School Decision,” by Susan Smith Blakely, careercenter.umich.edu (January 24, 2013);
- The University of Colorado Pre-Law Department recommends the Best Friends at the Bar Blog;
- The Daily Muse, January 24, 2013, “Why Do Women Leave the Law? A Q and A with Susan Smith Blakely,” http://www.thedailymuse.com/career/why-do-women-leave-the-law-a-qa-with-susan-smith-blakely/;
- Huffington Post, January 9, 2013, “Predictions and Advice for Women in Law in 2013,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smith-blakely/women-lawyers_b_2441104.html;
- Huffington Post, November 19, 2012, “Advice for Women Lawyers,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smith-blakely/women-lawyers_b_2155906.html?;
- Lawyerist.com, “A New Balance for Young Women Lawyers?”, November 27, 2012;
- Smart CEO, Travel Tips from CEO and Book Launch at Georgetown Law, December 2012;
- Book Launch at Georgetown Law for Best Friends at the Bar, December 2012;
- Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 83, No. 8, August 2010, Book Review;
- Venable On-Line News, http://www.venable.com/diversity/events/#2010;
- ABA Aviation Space Law Program, http://www.kreindler.com/Speaking;
- Suffolk University Law School, Bibliography for In-coming Students;
- Bar Association of DC Magazine, December 2010;
- Macomb County Legal News, October 19, 2010;
- University of Buffalo Law School, Career Development Library;
- Virginia Lawyer Magazine October 2011, Professional Notices;
- University of Connecticut Law has added the book to its bookshelf;
- Minnesota Women Lawyers recommends the book on its web site www.mwlawyers.org;
- UCLA Law recommends the Best Friends at the Bar book;
- Cleveland-Marshall College of Law recommends the book;
- Ms. JD, Marquette Univ Law Professor Lisa Mazzie Blog, April 10, 2011;
- Here is what Georgetown Law has to say about the book in a recent review for its law newsletter:Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law was written by Georgetown Law alumna Susan Smith Blakely. The book is “meant to assist women preparing for the profession to enable them to begin their legal careers with open eyes and with more of a level playing field than women lawyers of prior generations.” Blakely focuses mainly on large law firm practice, and she provides useful advice from attorneys, judges, law school career counselors, and law firm managing partners;
- National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)‘s Monthly Book Group October 2010 book choice;
- “Bookshelf: Fall 2010“, OnWisconsin, Fall 2010;
- “So You Want To Go To Law School: How To Get There,” HerCampus.com: A collegiette’s guide to life, June 10, 2010;
- “Book Review – Best Friends at the Bar,” American Association of Law Libraries Spectrum Blog, May 2010;
- “Author Aims to Aid Female Lawyers in Finding Success,” Sun Gazette, April 15, 2010;
- “Life as a Female Attorney,” LA and SF Daily Journal, February 25, 2010;
- “Work, Life and Balance,” National Jurist, February 2010;
- “Antigo Native Writes Book to Smooth Way for Young Attorneys,” Antigo Daily Journal, “January 20, 2010; and
- “Women In Law,” Legal Bisnow, December 14, 2009.