Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Women Lawyers Can Learn From Hillary Clinton

Love her or hate her, you have to admire U.S Sen. Hillary Clinton's tenacity. Whether she'll ultimately take the Democratic nomination for president remains up in the air; as of this writing, neither she nor her Democratic opponent,has cried "uncle." But, win or lose, like her or not, the New York senator's campaign offers women lawyers some valuable lessons as they fight their own battles in this still male-dominated profession.

Never underestimate an opponent. The most important mistake the Clinton campaign made was that it didn't seem to anticipate what it was up against. A first-term senator from Illinois nobody had heard of until four years ago? It should have been a cakewalk.Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign didn't seem to have put much of an organization in place beyond the Feb. 4 Super Tuesday primaries. It lost momentum just when it needed to pick up steam.

Fortunately, she managed a strong showing in Texas (and solid wins in Ohio and Rhode Island), so she's back in the race now. Butthere's no doubt that she didn't anticipate Obama becoming the Bono of Democratic Party politics, and she hadn't put in place the infrastructure for a campaign stretching well into the spring.