New Lawyer Launch: The Handbook for Young Lawyers

Full Court Press National Books New Arrivals Staff Picks
Author Susan Smith Blakely
Publisher Full Court Press

While law school and bar exam courses may prepare young attorneys for legal analysis, many entry-level lawyers are caught off guard by the transition to professional life. That’s where New Lawyer Launch comes in, sharing foundational, timeless, and practical advice that will prove invaluable to recent law graduates. With strong backgrounds in mentorship, Susan Smith Blakely and her noteworthy contributors guide readers through strategies critical to achieving satisfying and successful careers. From making positive first impressions, developing productive and professional work habits, building effective business networks and becoming comfortable with promoting work and professional talents, to maintaining admirable reputations, serving others, and advocating for the wider community, it is all here to help young lawyers achieve their goals in a profession that sometimes can seem illusory.


Susan Smith Blakely is a teacher, lawyer, and award-winning author of the Best Friends at the Bar series. A graduate of Georgetown Law (where she served as a teaching fellow), her practice included specialties in infrastructure construction litigation and land use and development law. She also worked in public service as Chief of Staff for an elected official. After 25 years in the profession, Ms. Blakely retired as a law firm partner in 2006 to devote herself to issues affecting the careers of young lawyers. This is her fifth book in the Best Friends at the Bar series. Her prior book titles are What Women Need to Know About a Career in the Law (2009), The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (2012), Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (2015), and What Millennial Lawyers Want (2018). She regularly speaks at law schools, law firms, and law organizations about the challenges facing young lawyers and effective ways to mentor and lead them.

New attorneys and those who train them are looking to trusted voices for guidance as we re-order our personal and professional worlds in this transition to the “new normal.” In New Lawyer Launch, the most recent installment of the Best Friends at the Bar series, Susan Blakely continues to provide just such a voice—candid, caring, never coddling, yet always compelling. With her characteristic accessible, reliable advice, Susan demonstrates her concern for the new lawyer as a whole person and demystifies the practical skills necessary to successfully transition from law school to law practice. In doing so, she offers an invaluable service both to those who support, and those who are seeking to become, lawyers in the best sense.

– Markeisha J. Miner, Dean of Students, Cornell Law School; former Assistant Dean for Career Services, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Susan Blakely’s latest book in the Best Friends at the Bar series covers all areas of professionalism that supervising lawyers would like young lawyers on their teams to consider as they build their professional brands. I encourage senior lawyers to share this resource with new lawyers in their organizations.

– Cathy Hinger, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP