My apologies for being radio silent on the blog for the past month or so. For those who follow me on LinkedIn or are Facebook friends, you know I’ve had a recent job change, which includes moving from Los Angeles to New Orleans in a very short frame of time.

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Earlier this month

Another day and another great article highlighting the issues of law firms and diversity, There’s A Diversity Problem At Law Firms – What Can Be Done?

The issues of diversity and INCLUSION at law firms is not as complex as we want to make it. We’ve been talking and writing about this forever, but talking and writing isn’t action.

We have a pipeline problem that goes back to high school, and probably middle school, yeah, elementary school as well. What are YOU doing about that? What is your FIRM doing about that?

We have a pedigree bias problem. What are you and your firm doing about that?

We have an implicit bias problem. Have you taken the test? Do you understand YOUR implicit bias?

We have an interview process and procedure problem. Has your firm revamped and retrained HOW you interview?

We have an inclusion problem. Look around your firm. Who isn’t getting invited to (fill in the blank). What clusters are clustering together and why?

I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. Throughout the book she talks about her experiences growing up and her education, about getting to Princeton and Harvard Law, and then to an AmLaw 100. And she talks about what it felt like there, in the ivory tower, when she’d go home each night to her home on the south side.
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Technology changes the way we do things, and sometimes it’s really hard to let go of the way things have always been done. Add lawyers to the conversation–who have been trained that precedent is pretty much everything–and we have the next best thing since oil met water.

I want to introduce you to a term that you most likely have heard of, have an idea of what it is, and are most likely wrong. I know I was.

Access to Justice.

What pops into my mind are state appointed criminal defense attorneys. What I have discovered is that my concept of “access to justice” was really limited to the narrow definition.

I like this definition:

Access to Justice means different things to different people. In its narrowest sense, it represents only the formal ability to appear in court. Broadly speaking, it engages the wider social context of our court system, and the systemic barriers faced by different members of the community.

The barriers to the legal system are immense. It can impact access to immigration assistance, landlord tenant disputes, divorces, child custody, wills and trusts, adoptions, elder care, transgender services, and a multitude of other civil matters, not to mention criminal defense.

And this is where things are getting interesting because “Justice is about just resolution, not legal services”:
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WARNING to my Saints friends: This post will include references to the Los Angeles Rams. Please feel free to substitute Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, or the team of your choice when I reference the team.


My husband, the Sports Dude, is a Rams “super fan.” I didn’t dub him that, our local news channel did in a story that ran earlier this week. Being a sports fan led him to becoming a sports reporter. Eric a fan of the the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, and Clippers, but the Rams, they have his heart.

How does a kid born in Paris, who emigrated here with his parents and brother speaking no English, become an American sports fanatic?

Simply put, it was the team: from the owner to the coaches to the players. They taught him the game, and he learned how to love it and them in return.

The clothes made the fan

Original 1970s sketch by Henri Geller for Carroll Rosenbloomy father-in-law, 

My father-in-law, Henri Geller, was a men’s clothing designer back in the day, and he designed clothes for the Rams’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom and many of the coaches and players. My husband tells vivid stories of the players and Mr. Rosenbloom in his father’s design studio. They gave my husband his first tickets to an NFL game, which he still has in his memorabilia collection, and a fan was born, so to speak.

The Rams don’t know it, but they just created a Super Fan in Josh Garcia, the son of the team’s custodian. Watch for great things to happen for that boy.

Can law firms create Super Fans?


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Happy New Year!

Let me be the first to burst your bubble: Your resolutions are going to fail.

Why? Because resolutions almost always fail because they are based on fixing something or achieving a specific outcome that is most likely unachievable otherwise you’d already have done it.

Yes, it’s time for my annual “set intentions, not resolutions” post:

You get the idea.

Too often we set ourselves up for failure, not success, which is why I coach not to set resolutions, but intentions, and I am not alone in this practice.

From the Daily Calm meditation this morning:

With intentions we are not focused on what we need to fix, but what we want to create.

Or this from Russell Brand:

How did he become such a spiritual guru? I know … he set an intention to do just that.

My Intentions for 2019

I have two intentions for 2019: 1) Clean my life and 2) have more fun. 
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I had an interesting conversation with an industry colleague yesterday. He made reference to my “super power”: The ability to shake things up. Others refer to it as being a PITA (pain in the a$$). Or bossy. Or, how’s this: a strategic thought leader unafraid of taking risks to achieve results.

I used to be afraid of my super power. I used to shy away from it, down play it, sit on the sides of the conference room table rather than in the center to not over-power a room.

If I’m going to “lean in” to anything, it’s going to be being change-agent.
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The holidays are officially upon us and the stress of gifting as well. Black Friday, Cyber Monday be damned.

But we’ve all been there. We go out of our way to purchase the “perfect gift,” only to see the recipient nod a little “thanks” in our direction. Or we give a little something, only to see the person’s face light up and joy fills the room.

So before you start sending out gift baskets galore, take a moment to read this post.

Gratitude is a science, and we can measure it

Gift wrapped in measuring tapeWhen it comes to gifting, it turns out there is a science behind it.

Gratitude–which is what gifting is about–actually relieves stress, and can be measured.

Who knew?

Well, apparently Glenn R. Fox, a USC professor who spoke at our firm recently. While Dr. Fox’s talk was on gratitude as a whole, it turns out that they measure gratitude through gift giving. Which, ironically, was perfect timing as my department was getting ready to embark on the our annual “Holiday Gifts” program.

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Throughout the 1970s there was a cigarette slogan, “You’ve come a long way baby.” And, according to a recent survey conducted by ALM Intelligence and Calibrate Legal Inc., we’ve got a long, long way to go.

First of all, trying to get a good compensation survey for the legal marketing and business development functions and roles in a law firm have not been easy, nor have they been consistent. The actual tool that comes with this survey allows you the ability to slice and dice a comparison of roles, regions, and titles. With more than 800 respondents, it is a good pool of data, and I look forward to the updates as more people participate.

I actually had a lot of fun comparing my role and salary to other regions, and the tool provided me with a trove of information supporting how I would like my team compensated.

Men v. Women

This survey is the most comprehensive one I have found. And while there is good news in there (download survey summary), one of the most disturbing ones has to do with pay disparity between men and women, especially at the AmLaw 100 and 200 levels. 
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Here I am in Boston to attend the College of Law Practice Management‘s Futures Conference; set to be inducted as a Fellow this evening. Being welcomed as a Fellow in this organization is a reflection of my career, my contributions to the legal industry, and an incredible honor. I look around the room, and read about my fellow Fellows, and I am humbled. I also wonder: “Do they know who they just confirmed?”

Is My Impostor Syndrome Showing?

Cabo 2018
Family posing on vacation – Cabo 2018

It’s not a secret that I am a recovering alcoholic. I’ve been sober for more than 30 years (ugh … that’s a long time).

I’m also married to my high school sweetheart.

I have two great kids.

We take great vacations and have stuff.

From the outside looking in, for all intents and purposes, I have a sweet life. And I do.

And yet, I still compare my insides to your outsides and struggle with insecurities.

I have friends on Facebook who live lives I wish I lived:

  • They are stay-at-home moms who have had the privilege of raising their children (I had a nanny)
  • They have beautiful homes (I am stuck in my condo, FOREVER, because I am priced out of both upgrading and down-sizing in the crazy LA market)
  • They are celebrating 25+ years of marriage (let’s just say I have trust issues that have impacted my relationships through the years)
  • They take the most exotic vacations (we go where the time-share will take us)
  • They have impressive college and post-baccalaureate credentials (If I knew how great my college was I’d never have applied …. and with that GPA, there was no way I was getting into a Tier-1 law school)
  • Their careers seem to be spectacular (legal marketing … how’d that happen??)


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Summer is over, and that means a rash of conferences will be taking place between now and the week before Thanksgiving. Calls for speakers and sponsors are starting to go out for 2019. And my budget and calendar are busted.

Needless to say, I have attended, participated, and planned numerous conferences over the course of my career, and there’s just no excuse for crap programming.

I’m spending time (days out of the office, away from my family, plus travel), money (usually my firm’s, but for my service provider colleagues, it’s their money). And for my clients (the attorneys in my firm for me, but the paying clients for my firm’s attorneys), they are losing access to their trusted adviser/service provider/attorney for those hours or days.

It’s 2018 and there’s just no excuse for bad programming. So why are you still not taking speaking or moderating at a conference seriously? You said yes for a reason. 
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