My Recent Article in Law 360 on Protecting Law Firm Talent

https://www.law360.com/articles/1094538/protecting-law-firm-talent-at-both-ends-

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See Review of My New Book on Above The Law

What In The World Can Be Done About Millennial Lawyers?

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Changing the Model of Big Law …. for Women Lawyers and Millennial Lawyers

I just listened to a podcast on Law.com that every young lawyer and law firm leader should hear.  It will confirm what young lawyers know they do not like about Big Law, and it will serve as a tutorial for law firm leaders.

The interviewee is Mitch Zuklie, who has been the chairman of Orrick for the last five years.  I have been following his leadership for a portion of that time, and that is why the podcast caught my attention.   The podcast also validates the messages of my new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice.

The theme of the interview is this quote from Zuklie, “If we are going to convince the best talent to choose and stay in Big Law, we need to change the model.”  The changes that he identifies include:

  • Create a great place to work through training and identifying and inspiring talent;
  • Create models for early responsibilities as decision-makers;
  • Create increased interest in career paths and earlier promotion;
  • Create team-oriented problem solving and entrepreneurship models;
  • Increase flexibility to accommodate the needs of young families;
  • Increase periodic feedback and get away from the annual-only review model;
  • Increase the firm’s pro bono commitment; and
  • Increase diversity and inclusion by being mindful of the effects of bad policies and implicit biases.

There is a lot to think about there.  So, if you are wondering why you are not happy in Big Law, you likely will discover it by listening to the podcast.  And if you are wondering why so many associates are leaving Big Law and your law firm, in particular, you law firm leaders will probably discover it by listening as well. 

I hope so.

 

 

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

For All Women Lawyers and Those Who Lead Them

As you leave your offices and homes to travel to the places where family and friends will gather on this Thanksgiving Day, I share with you this video.  It is worthy of your attention, both in giving thanks to those who support you and in giving thanks that the journey is made easier by their efforts.

The video was sent to me by a young woman lawyer friend of mine earlier this week, and I was so pleased to respond that I know the speaker, Alan Bryan, who is an enthusiastic supporter of Best Friends at the Bar.  I was present to hear him deliver these remarks at the National Association of Women Lawyers conference several years ago, and, like so many others in the audience, I was inspired by his words.  I know that you will be also, and I encourage you to watch the video.

Be sure you watch and listen all the way to the end.  It is there that Alan talks about his aspirations for his daughter, then a two-and one-half-year-old bundle of energy and determination.  You will be cheating yourself if you skip it.

This is my gift to you on Thanksgiving Day 2018.  I wish you and your families and friends well, including safe travels, tasty food, and love all around.

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Lifestyle, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Be Aware of Warning Signs of Instability in Young Lawyers

The facts shared this week via an open letter from the widow of a Sidley lawyer were shocking and heartbreaking.  The suicide of a 42-year-old partner in the LA office raised many issues of our responsibilities as lawyers to our colleagues.

It was discovered too late that this suicide victim suffered from a form of perfectionism that created so much pressure, anxiety and insecurity that the only way out seemed to be to take his own life.  If those facts came as a complete shock to everyone around him, that would give those of us in the profession some relief.  It would give us comfort to know that no one could have known.

But, that does not appear to be the case.  It has been reported that his behavior at the office had changed.  He had stopped laughing, he became more isolated, and he was showing outward signs of extreme stress.  Yet, no one looked further than to wonder about his behavior.  No one brought it to the attention of management to get him the help he needed.  No one understood the gravity of the situation.

And that is not to blame them.  It is just to say that they did not understand that it could end so badly.

We all must keep our antennae up for changes in behavior that could evidence deep-seeded and potentially harmful problems among those we work with and those we live with.  Ours is a stressful profession, at best, and most of us learn to deal with the stress. But that is not the way it works for some people, particularly young lawyers, who view getting help with issues of mental health and addiction as shameful and threatening to job security.  Stress is an insidious actor that brings out the worst in people.  We all need to be aware of our own well-being and the well-being of those we value.

It is because cases like this have become more common in our legal spaces that the American Bar Association recently identified an initiative centered on addressing mental health and addiction issues in our profession.  All law firms and law organizations should take advantage of the research and resources to raise awareness and be prepared to help those at risk among us to the greatest extent possible. 

We need to work together for a time when finding out too late is not the only option.

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Lifestyle, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thank You to all the Veterans!

Thank you for the sacrifice.  Thank you for the example.  Thank you for the leadership.  Thank you for loving our country enough to put your lives at risk.

Thank you to my father.  Thank you to my husband.  Thank you to my friends.

Thank you to your fathers, your husbands, your brothers, your friends.  And thank you to many of you who served.

We never will forget.

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Women Lawyers and Millennials Among Big Winners in November 2018 Election

Women and millennials were some of the big winners in congressional and gubernatorial elections yesterday.  Record numbers of both women and millennials participated at the grass roots of campaigns and added energy to the political process that has not been seen in recent elections.  They organized, they knocked on doors, they canvased, and they showed up at the polls.  It was exciting — no matter what side of the aisle you support.

And at least 30 women were elected to congressional seats for the first time.  Similar to millennials, the newly-elected women lawmakers, display very diverse backgrounds.  There are women of color, women of varying religious and cultural backgrounds, a native American woman, the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, and at least one lesbian.  In addition to these future congresswomen, women made historic strides in gaining governorships throughout the country.

In all, more than 115 women won their races out of the 276 women on ballots handed out to voters at polling stations yesterday.  Ninety-five of those 115 will be seated in the House of Representatives in January 2019.  Eleven of those women won seats in the Senate, and nine of them won gubernatorial races.  That is a lot of woman power!

And some of these newly-elected women also are lawyers.  Jennifer Wexton gained a seat in the House of Representatives in my own district in Virginia and was joined by other first-time lawyer/congresswomen in Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.  They will add to the approximate 38% and 57% of the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, who also are lawyers. And women/lawyers also were elected governors in Michigan, Maine and New Mexico.

A legal education is an excellent foundation for lawmakers.  Not only do lawyers understand the legislative process, but they also are very effective advocates for the less fortunate and the wronged.

That is why women lawyers make great leaders in Congress and in Governor’s mansions and in state legislatures.  Bravo to all of these women.

And bravo to the millennials, young people who have discovered that they can make a difference — and are doing it.

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Thought For The Day: GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!

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