Full Time Practice

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pearls of Wisdom from Trailblazing Lawyers

A recently completed survey has compiled a list of the first one hundred women to be members of the Utah Bar. The list, with brief bios of most, is an interesting insight into the history of the state and the state of women lawyers. The list includes the current Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, Christine Meaders Durham.

The attorneys on the list were invited to give advice to newly minted women lawyers. Below is a sampling of their wisdom:

“I think it’s a great career for women – better than in the 60s and 70s: but I’d counsel both women and men strongly to make sure there’s a fit with the practice. It’s changed so much and it’s a much harder, more hostile place for those interested in a balanced life with children and community service (men and women).” --Kristine Strachan, admitted to Utah Bar in 1973

“I am enthusiastic about legal training for women. The major problem occurs for those who choose to take time off from practice. They fall behind in experience and then when they resume practice may run into hard-to-prove age barriers.” --Barbara P. Heaney, Admitted to Utah Bar in 1954

“Get yourself an experienced mentor. Your legal education is not totally complete just because you graduated from law school and were admitted to the Bar. Your mentor can be a man, or a woman, or a series of older lawyers who can teach you.”-- Elaine D. Larson, Admitted to Utah Bar in 1963

“Over prepare.”--Constance K. Lundberg Erickson, Admitted to Utah Bar in 1972

“Never assume malice. Recognize that fatuousness and inexperience explain a lot of behavior.”--Carolyn Nichols, Admitted to Utah Bar in 1976

"Work hard, strive for excellence and invest in yourself. Make friends all along the way and build networks. Give back by service to your community and pay kindness back by paying it forward.

"You don’t have to be all things at the same time, for there really are seasons to life. The challenge is figuring what is most important for you to be doing in the season of life you are in, prioritizing and then balancing all of the desires of your heart with the demands on your heart and time. AND, 5 things you didn’t learn in law school: keep your license current; dress to inspire confidence; learn how to pick up/divide the check graciously; don’t take yourself too seriously, learn how to tell a story or joke; treat others with respect and kindness; and high ground is always safer and better in the long term.”--Judy Lever, Admitted to Utah Bar in 1975

For inspiring stories and more sage advice, the link to the publication is:

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