Dress Professionally and Be Excellent, NYSBA Advises Women Attorneys

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Remember the “distinguished panel of gentlemen from the legal field” who were going to  discuss women’s strengths and weaknesses at the annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association?   (See here, here and here.)   The organizers changed the title of the proposed panel,  â€œTheir Point of View: Tips From the Other Side,”to”Sharing Their Points of View: Tips From Both Sides,” and the January program went forward with different participants and a modified program description (see here).

In case you missed the live program, here’s how Patricia Sears Doherty, Editor of the NYSBA State Bar News, writing for that publication, described the event’s substantive discussion:

The three actions most recommended by the panelists were the need to find a personal brand, the need for a professional mentor, and the over-riding need to”be excellent”at the law.  

“Branding yourself means building the equity that you need to advance,” said Katherine Frink-Hamlett, president of Frink-Hamlett Legal Solutions, Inc.”Today, [women lawyers] need to make sure that we don’t toil in obscurity.”   That means women lawyers should be unafraid to tout their skills and successes to their colleagues as well as to potential clients. * * *    

Terri A. Mazur of New York (Mayer Brown, LLP) suggested a deliberate cross-marketing effort among many practice areas for women at law firms.”To succeed in this world, we all haveto be much more focused on marketing at each stage of our careers,”said Mazur.”Display your credibility in everything that you do: dress professionally, act mature at all times and be ethical and honest. To mis-cite or not have all of the facts could be a death knell for your career,”Mazur said. The most important strategy that women lawyers need to display is accuracy and knowledge of their chosen field of expertise, said Angela S. Barker of New York (Law Office of Angela Barker & Associates).”You can’t say that you do an area of the law and not understand that area inside and out,”she said. * * *

“The key to success is to be excellent in what you do,”said State Bar Past President Mark H. Alcott of New York (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton &  Garrison LLP).”If you focus primarily on the quality of what you do, it will stand you in good stead.”

The full article is available here (access by NYSBA members only; can’t find an open source – sorry).

Any acknowledgment by the organizers that the original program was ill-conceived and terribly described?   Nope.   Any great take-away advice from the panelists of the revised program?   Nope.   Any possibility that the reputation of the NYSBA Committee on Women in the Law will improve because of the program it sponsored?   Nope.

Don’t forget to dress professionally and be excellent.

-Bridget Crawford

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