Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Taunting Turkeys

Yesterday a flock of 30 wild turkeys were on the peak of our roof, and one by one they flew into the oak trees, where they roosted for the night. Don't they know it's the last week of November?!! Not a good idea to taunt the hungry right before Thanksgiving! Hope you all have a lovely day with family and friends. For my favorite recipe, see Pumpkin Soup.

Cynthia

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hastings Leadership Academy 2010

2009 has been such a high anxiety year I just can't wait for it to be over. And I really like the sound of "2010". It seems like it will be a nice, poetic, balanced year. Just from the number. I'm not a numerologist or anything; just want this year of uncertainty, anxiety, and volatility to end. I'm counting down the days to 2010.

So it is nice to see announcements of interesting things that will be coming down the pike next year--helps to keep my hopes up that the happy days will be here again. Here's the first good thing to look forward to (professionally) in 2010: The Project for Attorney Retention and The Center for WorkLife Law at Hastings College of the Law have just announced the 2010 Hastings Leadership Academy for Women, an executive education program designed exclusively for women law firm partners. The program is designed to help experienced women lawyers stride confidently to the highest levels of success in their law firms, their communities and the legal profession.

Leadership Academy participants learn skills, knowledge and techniques that will enable them to assume leadership roles and make their contributions visible, valued, and rewarded. The course curriculum has been designed to provide a unique, hands-on learning experience and will be taught by distinguished faculty from leading law schools, business schools, and law practice. Learning will be enhanced by opportunities to build a strong network of other women partners with leadership aspirations and responsibilities. The program includes follow-up “check-in” calls during the year for small groups and a webinar on a topic to be decided.

As an alum of the first class, I highly recommend the program. It includes far more than just marketing and networking training; the goal is to touch on the full array of skills needed to be an effective law firm leader.

Think about how the program fits into your 2010 business plan. Why, you ask, would you worry about it now, since the program isn't until next July? Because this is when law firms are developing their 2010 budget; get your request in now and you'll have a better chance at getting funds for the program! You can get more information here.

Cynthia

Monday, November 16, 2009

Haiku # 11

Trying to sip from
A fire hose, is exhausting--
Still thirsty, now wet.

Cynthia

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Service to the Bar

Since my early days as a tax lawyer, I have agreed with my mentors (not that I ever disagree with them!) that as professionals, we are expected to give back to the profession in a meaningful manner. In addition to writing and advancing the knowledge base by teaching, mentoring or writing, one very important means to serve the profession is in service to bar associations. This service can be local, regional, national or international; the important point is that professionals must be committed to the betterment of the profession.

One woman who has contributed greatly to the tax bar in California is Joanne Garvey. Her illustrious career is chronicled in a number of places, including her current firm's website. But it is not just her partners who think highly of her; the California State Bar Taxation Section has an award in her honor , the Joanne M. Garvey Award, which is an annual award given to one attorney in the state in recognition of his or her outstanding lifetime achievement and contributions to the field of tax law.

I am particularly pleased this year that my partner Jeffry Bernstein is the recipient of the Joanne M. Garvey Award. I first met Jeff in the early 90's when I was presenting a paper in Washington DC as part of a California coalition of tax lawyers, sponsored by the California State Bar Taxation Section and the Los Angeles County Bar. Several years later I was lucky to be invited to join our the firm, and eventually became a partner. Our firm's tradition of service to the profession continues to this day, particularly among the tax lawyers.

Thanks Jeff!

Cynthia

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Librarians Rock!

Today I had a quite interesting morning with NOCALL: Northern California Association of Law Librarians, to be exact. One of my favorite librarians invited me to pose as "Exhibit A: A Social Networking Lawyer" for their half-day Fall Workshop: Marketing Uses of Social Media in the Law Library. I learned how hopelessly behind the social networking curve I am, compared to the amazing law librarians who make a profession out of researching and finding useful information. Awesome group.
So now I am fired up to explore new territory. My main goal is to start a Delicious list, so watch for that in the near future as soon as I get it populated with useful stuff.
In the meantime, here are some social media sites for you to consider:

The original, with actual links, can be found at http://tinyurl.com/GatzkeLOGO2-0PartII, so take a look and be inspired to expand your social networking media skills.

Learning new things can be fun!

Cynthia

Friday, November 6, 2009

Five Unwritten Rules Women Need to Know (Now Written!)


Today's guest post is written by Debra Shigley. She writes about the "Five Unwritten Rules" about the work world women need to know to succeed:

What are the secrets of women who get ahead fast? It’s not magic; it’s strategy, as I learned through interviewing dozens of successful women for my new book The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide. Here are some of the “unwritten rules” women need to know to get the job or promotion you want, even when times are tough:

1. A nice degree is good, but not everything. Being a hard worker and intellectual is not the same as being resourceful. Bosses need resourcefulness, and appreciate your ‘can-do’ attitude. Figure out how to solve your employer’s problems, and you’ll succeed.

2. The work world is not a meritocracy. It can be unfair. Favoritism exists. Nepotism exits. You need to cultivate mentors (i.e., people who can offer pointed advice at a certain point in your career) and establish allies and advocates (i.e., people that respect your work and root for you when employment decisions are being made) in order to get ahead.

3. Looks matter at work. Flip-flop office culture is sort of a lie. Colleagues do judge you by your appearance, and may cast you in a certain role based on how you dress—for the good or the bad. It’s not about being beautiful or looking perfect, but about presenting a polished, put-together image. One study even found that women that wear makeup are perceived as having higher income and earning potential.

4. Work-life balance doesn’t really exist. Many successful women think more in terms of what I term work-life “triage” than balance. In other words, a constant reprioritizing of what sphere matters most at the moment—and these priorities change throughout the day, month, even years. Also, early in your career, the emphasis may be more on the “work” than the “life." You can leave early everyday to go to the gym if you want, but you won’t be on the fast track.

5. It’s unlikely someone will just hand you a raise or your dream job. You have to ask for it! People that have those dream jobs and great salaries? They've taken the initiative, asked for more money/responsibility, self-educated, pitched ideas or new business opportunities, been bold-- and made those opportunities happen. You won’t always get the raise or promotion you want at exactly that time, but if you don’t ask for it, you’ll never know if it was possible. Plus, it’s good practice to build your confidence and negotiation skills.

About Debra Shigley:

Debra Shigley is a journalist and author of the book The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide (St. Martin’s Griffin). She completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard and her JD at Georgia State, the latter while working full-time as an editor for Atlanta magazine. She has been featured as a lifestyle expert on national outlets such as The View, CNN, ABC News, and been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AJC, Redbook, and many more. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Fast Company, Allure, Daily Candy, and Heart & Soul.

Please visit her website, her blog, GoGetterGirls, and you can buy her new book at http://bit.ly/1Sm0ST.

Thanks Debra!

Cynthia

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Make Your Voice Heard--Vote!

Election Day 2009: here we go again! Make your voice heard and vote!

Lest we women take this precious right for granted, there is a nice history of the women's suffrage movement Wikipedia. I was surprised to learn that our sisters worked from 1848 to 1920 to achieve the right to participate in electoral politics. It's a good time to reflect on the need to patiently continue to chip away at the barriers to equality at leadership levels in business and law. Real equality will one day be achieved, though it may be decades away.

When I was 17 and looking at colleges, my "reach" school was best known for its men's sporting teams, and it was also considered by my family to be the greatest Catholic university. I wasn't all that interested in men's sports, but I was interested in going to the best school that would have me. Even though it was historically an all-male institution, since women undergrads had been admitted for some five years or so, I thought they'd had plenty of time to work out how to deal with girls by the time I arrived. Although I had a wonderful time there and learned many life lessons, it was only in retrospect some 20 years later that I realized how long it takes to really integrate a new group into a historically segregated one. Simply put, they had the best intentions, but the implementation was sorely lacking. It was a difficult environment for young women.

I think many women today are observing that both at a macro level of the business environment, as well as at the organizational level, it takes a long time and a great deal of effort to level the playing field for women. The success rates of various integration initiatives have to be monitored, kinks worked out, roadblocks examined and removed. It's a long process, and even if well-intentioned, there are bound to be glitches. It takes more than five years; I suspect it takes decades. Since the business world has only in the past 10 years or so recognized that there are real barriers to women's success at the highest levels, it should come as no surprise that much hard work remains to be done. Many of my contemporaries seem to be wondering why the progress we thought already existed, still seems so out of reach. See, for example, The Mismeasure of Women. So that is my observation today: the path is a long one, and there is still a long way to go. May patience and perseverence guide the women who continue the struggle for equality and opportunity.

In any event, Go Irish!

Cynthia