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Ida Abbott Consulting

www.IdaAbbott.com


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Lesson 1

Stay Curious


“Being a lawyer is tough. Working with lawyers is also tough, even when you’re trying to help them. Yet after more than four decades as a lawyer and consultant in the legal profession, I still love what I do. One of the reasons for this long-term satisfaction is my abiding curiosity. There is so much I don’t know, and every situation and person I encounter presents a chance to learn something new. Even if what I learn is of no particular significance, the experience is usually fun, useful, or even inspiring.

As children, we all start out curious. Every day is magical as we explore, inquire, and learn about everyone and everything that surrounds us. Many people, especially those who later become lawyers, continue that quest as we grow up. We love to learn, and we develop and pursue many interests. Then, as our careers take hold, much of that curiosity dims.”


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“Just say ‘no’ to the naysayers. They will not see the vision you see, and…It’s your responsibility to live that vision and believe in it.” from Overcoming the Obstacle of Naysayers, by Wendi Weiner


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Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP)

www.masslomap.org


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Lesson 2

Shaping Your Own Path to Career Success, Satisfaction, and Happiness


“I attended a state school, Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. I made the most of my law school experience—I led student-run activist groups, participated in a domestic violence survivor advocacy program, worked in the constitutional litigation clinic, served as editor-in-chief of the law review, and more. Upon graduation, I clerked for a justice on the highest court of the state of New Jersey. If that wasn’t enough, at the same time I got my EMT license and volunteered on a local squad. After failed attempts to obtain a post-clerkship public interest fellowship, I focused my job search on joining a practice aligned with my passion to advance civil rights and to make a real difference in the world. After what felt like a never-ending spiderweb of networking, I stumbled upon a small general practice firm in Boston that excelled in special education and plaintiff’s-side employment law. I joined as an associate with its employment law and litigation team. … What I didn’t take into consideration was whether I’d actually enjoy the work. Clerking was a wonderful experience and taught me valuable skills, but I wasn’t particularly good at it, nor did I love the actual work—reviewing loads of documents, conducting research, developing arguments, drafting memos, briefs, and even opinions. Yes, I said it. Feels nice to get that off my chest.”


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“A good workout takes one hour. That’s 4% of your day. No excuses. I had never thought about it in that way. I decided I deserved 4% of my day! I was worth it!” from The Power of Putting Yourself First, by Kristine Reed


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Upton & Hatfield, LLP

www.uptonhatfield.com


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Lesson 3

Discovering Your Authentic Self


“She looked me in the eye and said, “You need to get comfortable in your own skin.” I doubt that she remembers saying it, but those words from my mentor, Judge Pamela A. M. Campbell, struck me at my core. I recognize that I was fortunate to receive her honest feedback, but it bothered me that she called me out. I was a twenty-something new lawyer and had done very well until that point. Why was Judge Campbell criticizing me? My self-perception was that I projected as a very confident young attorney. After all, I had always been a good student and excelled at most things that I tried, from athletics in high school through the moot court board in law school. But my mentor saw through all of that and called me on it.”


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“Rejection is valuable. It forces me to re-examine my approach. It prevents complacency, and it pushes my boundaries.” from Pushing Past Fear and Failure, by Artie Renee Pobjecky


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Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard

www.lawla.com


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Lesson 4

Developing a Book of Business


“Whether you call it networking, marketing, or developing a book of business, it is a must for a woman (or a man). Your destiny depends on it. As Melanie D. Wilson reported in her article, Sentencing Inequality Versus Sentencing Injustice, in the July 2014 issue of The Federal Lawyer, women lag behind men in pay for equal work and in positions of prestigious employment. The statistics are telling. One author has observed a trend of little to no increase of female CEOs, CFOs, and board members over the past three years, noting a particular absence of influential businesswomen in Fortune 500 companies. Others have lamented the lack of women in academic positions, representing only a quarter of university presidents and even fewer law school deans. … Remember: Everything you do and say is a form of marketing. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And have fun developing business and building new relationships!”


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“Not just advice, but affirmation that so much of what we feel and have experienced has been felt and experienced by others.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Taylor English Duma, LLP

www.taylorenglish.com


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Lesson 8

Find a Mentor – Be a Mentor


“According to Dictionary.com, a mentor is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher” and “an influential senior sponsor or supporter.” All of my early mentors were men. My law school mentor, and all of the attorneys who trained me in the area of entertainment law were men. I am thankful for all of them because I received excellent training; but I think it would have been helpful to have had a woman or a minority woman attorney as a mentor as I made early career decisions.

Young women lawyers are high achievers. They have graduated from high school, attended college, gotten into and graduated from law school, passed the bar, and started a very strenuous career. But, they are sometimes frustrated – as I was – with how difficult it is to find a mentor.

My advice to young women lawyers is: Don’t become angry or frustrated, because 10-20 years from now, the person who does not have the time to sit and chat with a young lawyer could be you.”


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“My hope is that this book will empower women lawyers to bring their whole selves to their work, to their loved ones, and to their lives.” from the Introduction, by Nora Riva Bergman


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Circuit Court Judge
Kimberly Campbell


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Lesson 9

Who Says I Can’t? Watch Me!


“Do you ever realize how much one decision can change your life? Sometimes, you cannot even imagine. I am a sitting circuit court judge for two counties in Florida with almost 1.4 million people. Twenty years ago, I moved from a town with a total population of less than 60,000. How did this happen? What was the catalyst? Was it luck, hard work, perseverance, stubbornness, or all of the above?

In 1997, I was bored. I had a job I enjoyed, was married to a wonderful man, we had a great home, I was close to family, and I was bored. Johnson City, Tennessee, is the town where I grew up. I was 28 years old and had never lived outside of a 20-mile radius … I was bored.”


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“It’s all about helping others – lifting them up and helping them achieve what they want to achieve.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Carmody and Associates

www.carmodyandassociates.com


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Lesson 11

Effective Organizational Habits Open Doors, Including Those that Allow You to Be Your Own Boss


“As a teenager, I was an organizational mess. My room was such a disaster that when my father came into my room to investigate after hearing someone (my boyfriend) knocking on my window one night, he crawled through my room to make sure he did not trip over the piles of clothes, books, and other items on my floor. Although being scared to death by my dad – I had not heard him come in – should have encouraged me to change my ways, it did not. When I married my boyfriend four years later, it was he who prompted the beginning of my organizational transformation. He lived by the motto, a place for everything and everything in its place. I started hanging up my clothes in the closet, putting things away in their place, and began to appreciate some of the benefits of being organized.

Still, it was not until I started my career that the benefits of having good organizational skills were proven to me.”


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“If a woman reads this book and thinks to herself, ” That’s me,” or “If she can do that, so can I, that would be awesome.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Bailey & Glasser LLP

www.baileyglasser.com


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Lesson 12

Three Things I Wish I’d Remembered at the Start of My Practice


“Practicing mindfulness and meditation were part of my childhood. I grew up in a family of communicators, counselors, and wonderful people who support their communities. I always wanted to help people; the question was how. Before I practiced law, I worked in professional theater. While maybe not a traditional pre-law profession, theater ignited my desire to pursue the law.

When I started law school, I knew I wanted to be there—I was there to help people. And I knew it would be hard. What I didn’t know was that I would question being there. I didn’t know how I would be helping people. And I didn’t know how hard it would be.

When I am asked how I found my path or how I ended up interested in my current area of practice, electronic discovery, I respond that I found an area that engaged me and ran with it. When I am asked how I balance work and life, I explain that it isn’t easy. I don’t always find balance, which is OK.”


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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Mediator, Author, and Speaker

www.susandaicoff.webs.com


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Lesson 14

Honoring Yourself


ALWAYS DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT NEXT, NOT THE JOB YOU HAVE NOW.
This may not be trendy or popular in today’s business casual world, but it has stood me in good stead. It makes me feel more confident and capable. Someone may notice you and think, “She would be a good candidate for promotion to president/dean/director, etc.” Do you want to move up with more responsibility? Do you think that your ideas might move your organization or firm forward into a brighter future? Treat yourself to an amazing wardrobe.


SPEND ENERGY WISELY (“BE THE WATER THAT FLOWS AROUND THE ROCK AND EVENTUALLY WEARS IT AWAY”).
Women lawyers – still – apparently receive inappropriate and offensive words, looks, gestures, and actions, probably daily. It has taken me 38 years to acknowledge many situations in law school and practice that were wrong. I should have complained and may have had good causes of action. There’s a balance here between honoring yourself and honoring how you spend your time and energy. There’s no need to pretend that offensive things didn’t occur or aren’t occurring, but there’s no need to wear oneself out, either. I choose to spend energy on my own personal goals and actions, which leads to the next point.”


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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Affinity Consulting Group

www.affinityconsulting.com


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Lesson 15

Do What You Love


“If you don’t love your job, it is time to consider a career change. You might not have to look as far as you might think to find a rewarding alternative career.  Many attorneys no longer excited by the prospect of walking into the office or courtroom every day have found satisfaction just outside of the practice of law. Your license is still valuable, even if you leave the actual practice of law.

I was working in a small specialty law firm when I started dreading going to work every day. The dread crept in; it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took me months to realize that the career I worked so hard for just wasn’t a good fit for me. After months of convincing myself to get out of bed and drive to work, I realized I needed to make a change.”


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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