Associate Advice: Six Tips for Successful Work Lunches

Happy Hump Day, Law Babe!

It’s finally summer (officially not until tomorrow, but whatever).  That means that plenty of summer lunches are on tap, whether you’re a full-on associate or a summer associate.  I’ve had more than my fair share of awkward business lunches, so I thought we’d cover some ground here today and go over five tips for making these necessary (but sometimes evil) lunches at least palatable.

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1.   Napkin Etiquette.  Your napkin should go into your lap as soon as you’re seated.  If you get up at any point during lunch, your napkin should be placed on your chair, not on the table.  Don’t place your napkin back on the table until you stand to leave the restaurant.

2.   Put your phone away.  Unless you have a really good reason to keep your phone on the table (yes, waiting on a call from a partner probably does count), you’re just not that important that you need to keep your phone(s) on the table.  Don’t be that person.  If you must sneak a peek at your phone during lunch, do so quickly and under the table towards end of the meal (when the bill is being paid, for example).

3.   BMW: Bread, Middle, Water.  Your bread plate is to your left, your water cup is to your right.  That’s easy enough to remember.

4.   On appetizers. If everyone else at the table orders an appetizer, go ahead and order one too.  However, if no one in your party orders an app, you should skip it.  If you end up being the first to order first, feel free to ask around the table to see if everyone is ordering starters.

5.   No alcohol, no exceptions.  It’s a work lunch.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the summer associate and all the associates hosting you order drinks.  No alcohol.  End of story.

6.   This isn’t the time or place to be ask for a doggy bag.  Don’t ask for your leftovers unless you truly haven’t touched your meal for some reason.  Otherwise, you run the risk of coming across as a bit desperate.

There you have it!  Hopefully these tips will pave the way for a summer’s worth of successful (and un-cringeworthy) lunches.

Stay Smart and Sexy, Law Babe! xoxo.

Travel Tips: A Solo Business Trip to San Antonio

Hi again, Law Babe!

I’m writing this post from the San Antonio airport, where I am ready to head home after a quick 48 hour trip to San Antonio to give a presentation.  This was my first trip to San Antonio, and I am impressed! I’d love to come back at some point for play.

In the meantime, though, I got a bit of the lay of the land and am sharing some of my perspective and tips for San Antonio travel if you ever find yourself heading to San Antonio on a solo business trip.

First things first.  I stayed at the lovely Hotel Valencia, which is situated perfectly on San Antonio’s River Walk (which I had heard about, but never experienced firsthand!).  Hotel Valencia was elegant and felt like a far departure from the typical corporate chain hotels that I typically stay at.  And yet, the meeting I was attending was held here and the space for the meeting was great.  From a work perspective, this hotel was great for getting a few things done.  When I needed to print my PowerPoint presentation, the lobby printers worked perfectly and spared me from any last minute tech anxieties.  My room was huge by my east coast standards, and I had more than enough room to finish my presentation at the hotel desk.  My only critique would be that the second night of my stay, a Thursday, a group of girls were next door, and definitely preparing for a night out on the town around 9 or 10 pm.  I would have been upset if I had had an early meeting today and needed to sleep, but no big deal since a) I had no meetings today, and b) once they left, it was fine.  I would 100% consider staying at Hotel Valencia if I find myself coming back to San Antonio for work or for play.

Looking for a place to eat solo that won’t be too awkward?  I found two great spots right along the river walk, where I felt both welcomed and relaxed as a solo diner.

First, I loved The Iron Cactus.  The food was great, the margaritas were amazing, and there were lots of other solo people sitting outside for happy hour, which made me feel totally at ease.  The outdoor garden is beautiful, and the abundant plants provided some cooling shade.

I also enjoyed eating at Ostra.  Ostra also had a lovely outdoor patio that felt a bit more upscale than some of the other super touristy bars and restaurants along the river walk.  As a solo traveler on a work trip, I certainly wasn’t looking to go nuts!  San Antonio definitely seems like a drinking town, so I was glad to have found a spot that didn’t feel so much like that.  The staff at Ostra also made me feel very welcomed as a solo diner.  I would go back!

Do you have any solo travel experiences with San Antonio?!  Comment with your tips!

Stay smart and sexy, Law Babe!

Beauty Files: Perfume Etiquette and 5 Office Appropriate Perfumes

Let’s talk about perfume etiquette today, Law Babe.  Every one of us has encountered a coworker who subscribes to the “more is more” philosophy when it comes to perfume.  An overpowering scent is distracting and can even make you sick.

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Let’s touch on some rules when it comes to perfume in the workplace:

1.  Less is more.  You already know this, but it bears repeating.  The cardinal rule for perfume in the office (and everywhere, if you ask me) is that a little bit goes a long way.  Please do not take a bath in your heaviest perfume.  A light spritz will do just fine.  Others should only be able to smell your perfume if they come within a foot or two of you.  If your colleagues can smell you before you come into a room or after you leave, you need to put the bottle down.

2.  Stick to a light scent for the office.  The office is not the place to debut your new bottle of Chanel No.  5.  Save the heavy/musky/sexy/grandma scents for date night.  Light floral and citrus scents are best for the workplace.  Similarly, you may wish to wear an eau de toilette rather than an eau de parfum, because the eau de toilette has a lower concentration of aromatic oils (and therefore a lower risk of offending everyone around you).

3. Don’t reapply.  You swear you applied perfume before heading out the door, but now you can’t smell it.  Or you hit that Chinese joint for lunch and now you swear you smell like a greasy kitchen.  Resist the urge to reapply your perfume!  We become nose blind over time, so even if you can’t smell your fragrance anymore, others still can.  That extra spritz or two can turn your subtle scent into an overpowering one.

More and more workplaces have outright banned fragrances in the office, so definitely play by the rules if yours is one of them.  If not, here are five office-appropriate perfumes that smell gorgeous and won’t offend your colleagues:

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Chloe Eau de Parfum Spray ($105-$132) smells like a beautiful garden party, and is light, refreshing and summery.

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Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette Spray ($80-$130) is both delicate and radiant, with a light, fruity trail.

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Jo Malone fragrances are all amazing, but the Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne ($65-$135) is combination of bergamot and driftwood, making it fresh, alive, and woody.

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Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Toilette ($95-$135) was inspired fig tree in the heat of the summer in Greece.  Enough said.

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Atelier Cologne Clementine California Cologne Absolue ($135-$195) was inspired by clementines in California and is fruity, sweet, and sunny.

Do you have any favorite perfumes for daily wear?  Share with us in the comments below!

Stay Smart and Sexy, Law Babe!

xoxo.

Beauty Files: Top Tips for an Office Appropriate Manicure

Hey, Law Babe.  I want to talk about nails for a minute.  I have seen far too many travesties in my professional life to ignore this topic.  You are a Law Babe, and your manicure needs to reflect that.  You know when you show up to a meeting with a chipped aquamarine nail polish and ragged cuticles leftover from your 10 day old manicure? The answer is no, you don’t.  Why?  Because duh, you’re so much better than that.  Don’t ever be that girl.

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That said, let’s talk about some basic office manicure principles.

1.   Stick to neutrals.  Save the wild colors for the NKOTB rerun tour, not Tuesday’s client meeting.   I assure you that your senior partner does not give a hoot that metallic nails are so summer 2018.  Seriously, please stick with neutral nail polish.  For what it’s worth, I also think that reds and pinks are socially acceptable nail colors in a professional setting.  Sorry ladies, but this goes for toes too.  Let Debbie in receivables get wild with her nails, but please keep it basic on your end.  Plus, let’s just call a spade a spade, everyone knows that wild color nails are horrendous after the age of 12 anyway.

2.  Keep the length respectable!  You know what I’m talking about.  Please no talons – you are a lawyer, not a stripper (NOT that there is anything wrong with that).  Conversely, you do not need to wear your anxiety on your sleeve and have bitten down stubs on display for your colleagues.  The same rules go for shape.  For god’s sake, none of those super pointy nails.  In fact, let’s just make a hard and fast rule here – if someone is going to react to your nails in any sort of surprised way (like, “ooh…wow…your nails are so glittery/long/terrifying/etc.”), then you’ve gone awry.  If that ever happens, please report immediately to your nearest CVS for polish remover.

3.  Be mindful about your nails during meetings.   Embarrassing story alert.  One time I sat in a CLE, bored out of my mind, and secretly picked the nail polish off my nails under the table.  To my utter horror, I didn’t realize that the carpet was dark, so when I got up at the end of the day my entire area was covered with bits of nail polish! I was truly shook.  Everyone probably thought I had god awful dandruff or something.  I totally learned my lesson the hard way… just keep your hands off your nails at work.

4.  You don’t need to always get your nails professionally done, but it can’t hurt to scope out a local nail salon.  If you have a local spot close to your office, it becomes much easier to run across the street to grab a quick polish change during the workday.  This is especially convenient given that most salons close by 7 during the week.  Just don’t pull this little stunt on the afternoon that your huge deal is closing, because you won’t be able to check your email for a little while (again, learn from my mistakes).

I’ve rounded up a few of my go-to nail colors that will keep you looking super polished (pun intended) at the office below:

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No surprises here.  Essie’s Ballet Slippers ($9) is a cult classic and looks beautiful on every skin tone.

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Julep’s Anna ($14) is a beautiful soft grey that will keep you on-trend, but perfectly professional at the office.

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OPI’s Big Apple Red ($10.50) is the classic go-to red for all you red nail devotees out there.  Talk about a power mani!

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Chanel’s Beige Beige ($28) is another timeless classic.

What are your favorite work-appropriate nail colors?  Leave your tips (again, pun intended) in the comments!

Stay Smart, Law Babe!

xoxo.

 

Noteworthy Article: “Female Lawyers Can Talk, Too”

 

I stumbled across this interesting New York Times Op-Ed today.  It’s a quick read, but packs a big punch.

In the article, retired New York Federal District judge, Shira Sheindin, highlights the disparity in female attorneys who play a prominent role in the courtroom compared to their male counterparts, regardless of who has actually completed most of the grunt work behind the scenes.  Sheindin notes that time and time again from the bench she witnessed the same scene unfold: a female attorney would queue up a case or argument (oftentimes authoring the brief or motion in its entirety) only to have her male counterpart make the entire presentation before the judge.

Sheindin calls on judges to initiate change in the courtroom, pointing out that judges tend to be more diverse than the lawyers arguing before them.  She suggests that judges might begin to spark change in the courtroom simply by requesting the actual author of the motion or brief to argue it.  On the client side, Sheindin suggests that clients have the power to request diverse legal teams, and should avail themselves of that ability.

It’s no big secret that change needs to happen, not just in the legal profession, but across the board.  Yes, it’s incumbent upon us Law Babes to speak up on our own behalves.  Yet, this is more often than not far easier said than done.  I’ve been in so many meetings where a senior partner (read: a middle aged white male), has interrupted me, spoken above me, or just entirely presented my portion on his own accord.  It has made think, “oh… I must not be good enough at presenting.”  No.  False.  Not true.  Generally, I don’t believe this sort of treatment is intentional, but this is the quiet discrimination that needs to stop.  Of course, the buck starts with us, Law Babes, but perhaps inviting the referees to level the playing field is a great next step.

What do you think?  Have you ever been in a setting where you have felt either intentionally or unintentionally “silenced” by a male counterpart?  How did it make you feel?

Stay Smart, Law Babe!

xoxo.