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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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“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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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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“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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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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“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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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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“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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Real Life Practice

www.reallifepractice.com


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Lesson 5

Chances & Ampersands


“Before I went to college and law school, I was a professional musician. I played the guitar and sang. Still do—sometimes. Music has always been a big part of my life. In fact, my first TV memory was watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was only four years old, but after the show, I nagged my dad until he bought me the “Meet the Beatles!” album. I still have it. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was listen to music and learn to play the guitar. I could never have imagined where my life would take me. From growing up in Wilton Manors, Florida, to becoming a musician – yes, I did learn to play the guitar – to going to law school, practicing law, teaching, running a bar association, coaching other lawyers, and now having the privilege of writing a book with 49 incredible women as contributors.

This life is one awesome journey. The thing about journeys is…they can be risky. You might not be sure of the best route to take to get to your desti-nation. Sometimes you might not even be sure of your destination. And you know what? That’s OK.”


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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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Lesson 6

You Decide What It Means to Be Successful


“Everyone wants to be a “success.” But what does that mean, and who decides what constitutes success? The answer isn’t as complicated as it might seem. You define success, no one else.

It is so important for young attorneys – especially women – to acknowledge and embrace this concept. Don’t let anyone else define success for you. Allowing others to do so is a mistake and one that has the potential to drastically affect your sense of self-worth for years to come.

This was a lesson I learned the hard way in 2003, when I left the law firm where I worked as an associate. I’d been there for nearly four years – after another four years working for the public defender’s office – even though I’d never envisioned myself in a law firm. And yet there I was.

But, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I wasn’t happy. I felt trapped, claustro-phobic. I couldn’t put my finger on it, although I knew that work-life balance had something to do with it. But that wasn’t the sole problem.”


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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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Lesson 7

Don’t Listen to Your Father: How Ignoring the Well-intentioned Can Make You Wealthy


“If prayer is focusing on an idea with a firm belief that it will become reality, my father and I were both atheists who prayed. That is all we had in common. He was born on a backwoods farm in Cuba the year the world’s economy hit rock bottom. I was born in New York in 1969, the year the internet was invented.

He focused on the myriad disasters that could befall his loved ones. In short, he worried incessantly. Go to California? Are you kidding—with those fault lines? His past experiences included surviving the Great Depression and fleeing his homeland. I understand why he lacked rose-colored glasses. To the opposite extreme, I focus unfailingly on bringing irrational goals to fruition. I dream with eyes open of a future where nothing is impossible. Don’t you see, the word impossible says I’m Possible? This hope was born in the incredible events of my generation: the moon landing, the Civil Rights Act, and the proliferation of smartphones.

Thinking back on our relationship, I know he loved me. Just as strongly, however, I know that discounting his guidance, as highlighted below, led to my professional success.”


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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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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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“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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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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“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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The Woman’s Lawyer

www.thewomanslawyer.com


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Lesson 10

They Will Crush You, If You Let Them. Don’t.


“As a young associate at large law firm, I worked hard. I arrived before everyone else and left after everyone else. I never spent less than 10 hours at the office on weekdays and always worked a few extra hours in the evening, after my son (and then children) went to bed. I traveled whenever requested. I made out-of-the-office engagements as brief as possible. I responded to emails immediately, regardless of the time of day. I dutifully did what I was told, regardless of the toll it took on me or my family. I tried to complete every task as fast as possible and as well as possible. I had one son during law school, another 19 months later, and another 23 months after that. I didn’t skip a beat. I put my job before anything else. It wasn’t enough.”


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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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