Advocate for Yourself: Practical Tips for Women Lawyers
As a successful female attorney, there will be subtle challenges that the opposite sex will not have to face. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to face and overcome small challenges that will appear. Let’s look at few simple everyday ways you can advance your legal career while maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Always Be your Own Advocate
As an attorney, you are a paid advocate for others. Well, it is time to use this skill for your own benefit. Whether it’s a request for raise, promotion, time off, a flex schedule or to handle a specific type of case–be your own advocate and ask for what you want and deserve. From salary negotiations through promotion to senior associate positions, get into the habit of being your own best friend. This is especially important as women are traditionally paid less than their male colleagues.
As an attorney, you are trained to identify what is right and what is wrong. This can be an area that women practice self-doubt, while men seem to have no problem with. If you are having doubts about a client or a case strategy-listen to, trust your gut instincts. Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask well-thought questions or voice a good idea, even if you think others may not agree. This is can be one of the toughest, but important, skills that you will need to be viewed as an active partner in your law firm.
Shorten Your Commute
Consider the many demands placed upon you throughout your career, including billable hours, pro bono work, trainings and networking. May sound silly, but in the end a shorter commute means that more time for errands and downtime. And often, even as a professional woman, you will end up running the household and taking care of the children. Whenever possible, shortening your commute should be a consideration that will save you many hours in the life of your legal career and away from the office.
These suggestions are simple, yet can act as a springboard on how you want to handle these common, minor everyday challenges. Taking a few steps can often lead to empowerment and maybe new and exciting areas in your legal career and as a woman in general.
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