First, HP means no disrespect to women lawyers. In fact, HP is known as an extremely supportive P when it comes to advancing women. BTW, why do so many out there even assume HP is a man? HP never identified gender. HP could be a woman. Why not? Many HPs out there today are women. I think there are some inherent biases here; since the launch of HP's blog, many people have just assumed HP is male. That may be incorrect and a biased assumption.
On the subject of the two associates -- unless I didn't describe them the way I meant to, BOTH are hardworking -- Susan isn't "schmoozing." In fact, if you read the description, she is the more hardworking one (at least that is what HP intended). But, really my point was that Mindy is selling herself short in the long run -- and perhaps in the short run - but my point was to her overall reputation, status, and development. Staff complained Mindy wouldn't acknowledge them; even women partners indicated Mindy didn't seem at all receptive when they reached out. Now, hopefully Mindy has a good protector in her group -- but down the road, wouldn't it have made more sense for Mindy to have built her reputation in the office, beyond her practice group, beyond just the main people she works with? HP is saying again not to be one-dimensional. It makes sense to get to know more people for so many reasons, and have those people respect you.
Case in point, HP has a friend who is a woman partner and a solid business developer. Friend not slave to law firm. Friend has a family, works a reduced schedule, volunteers in the schools, etc. Friend by all accounts has a good balance. How did friend get this? Well, friend worked hard as an associate. Friend showed respect to all and was extremely responsive, pleasant and cordial - to other colleagues in her office, to colleagues in other firm offices, even to opposing counsel. Friend now gets all sorts of referral work. From where? From former colleagues (even those not in practice group) who have moved in house, from former clients, even from former adversaries. Friend has developed reputation as a terrific, top notch lawyer who can be trusted and who is respected. Mindy was not on her way in this scenario.
I am not sure why people thought Susan was just schmoozing. Getting out of the office, getting involved in bar activities, professional organizations, etc, isn't just schmoozing. I even said Susan developed a sub-specialty. A wise lawyer with a huge client roster once said "you can be the best lawyer out there, but if no one knows who you are or what you do, you won't be a very successful lawyer." Susan was working hard and developing her reputation. She wasn't just hanging out at Starbucks with her friends - that is more of a Mindy thing.
I hope that has cleared up a few items.
I will try to address the burn out (Rachel?) comment and also the "what if Susan has kids"comment ( so what? - see note re: Friend above). She can have kids and still be dedicated, successful and see those kids -- bad bias on your part.