I’ve been meaning to write on this event for years but wanted to give enough time between the conversation and now for anonymity. I share about this conversation often because it is something most women relate to and it has nothing to do with people who sat around the conference room table that day. 

Sitting in the conference room on a bright, sunny day were a group of law firm leaders, all men, save for myself and the woman partner to my left. We were discussing an upcoming firm event to be held at the home of one of the partners later that evening. When asked if he was good with the event scheduled to begin just hours from then, the partner responded, “My wife is handling all the details” and then went casually back to his conversation unconcerned about caterers, menus, table linens, what time was he going to sneak out of the office, decorations, were the toilets cleaned, music, and what would the neighbors say about all the cars.

The conversation around the table then turned to who picks up the dry cleaning (the wives). Who takes/took the kids to the doctor’s appointments (the wives). Who coordinates the after-school activities (the wives). Who handles the shopping, the cooking, the household (the wives). Vacations (the wives). His parents (the wives).

After much discussion around the table, I leaned to my left and whispered to the only other woman in the room, “I am the wife.” And she looked at me with exuberance, understanding, connectedness, and whispered, “Me too!” A secret bond between us born.

But back to the conversation around the table, and it was unanimously decided to make sure the firm sent the partner’s wife flowers to thank her for all her hard work.

Forget never letting them (whoever “them” or “they” are) see us sweat. We can never let them see us “wife.” But those days, I hope, are nearing their end.

(end scene)

When we discuss women in law, and why women leave the law, and why women do not achieve partnership in law firms (which is very nuanced, but THIS topic is PART of the issue, not the whole of it), we cannot do so without discussing the “hidden load,” as described in this BBC article: The hidden load: How ‘thinking of everything’ holds mums back.
Continue Reading “I am the wife,” I said.

Whew. I am putting fingers to keyboard for the first time in what feels like forever. It was at least a pandemic, a new liver (for the Sports Dude), and an insurrection ago. I don’t even remember when (although I could easily look it up).

Are you still there, dear readers? How are you? How is your family? Are you thriving, surviving, or just hanging on?

Did 2020 make you stronger? Find a new you? Make changes for the better?
Did it overwhelm you? Knock you off balance? Kick your ass? Or a combination of it all?

Was there a right way or a wrong way to do 2020?

It’s Not Always About Me

Eric S. Geller – Before (r) and After (l) Liver Transplant

I feel as if I am coming out of a haze. Just prior to the pandemic’s beginning the Sports Dude’s health took a bad turn. As you may or may not know, he suffers from acute ulcerative colitis and had to have his colon removed about 15 years ago. There was a chance that he would develop primary sclerosing cholangitis, which he did, and that it could go acute, which it did, necessitating a liver transplant, which he had on October 10, 2020.

As we met with the Liver Transplant team at Oschner Medical Center and spoke with his liver doctor back in Los Angeles, we discovered we were in the right place.
Continue Reading Are you there blog? It’s me, Heather

It’s Wednesday, which looks a lot like Tuesday and Friday and Sunday around here.

I’ll head to work in a few minutes (down the hall from the couch in the living room where I current sit) and never realize I did not step outside once all day. I’ll be on Zoom after Zoom, call after

Dear General Counsel,

You are not imagining it. Every single law firm you have ever given a dollar to is sending you a Coronavirus client alert, most likely daily. Every single law firm has also set up a COVID-19 Resource Center (<<< that one links to my firm’s).

I agree, I’m seeing a lot of undifferentiated, repetitive, lacking in value, general content. Basically, there’s a lot of crap out there.

Problem is, you need some of that information, and no single law firm is going to give you all that you need for the simple truth that one size fits one, and marketing is about the one to many.

I need your help here. You are going to have to decide which law firms (might not be yours) are providing relevant content and figure out what is the most meaningful way for that content to be delivered to you.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

As a legal marketing professional, I’m going to give you a few tips to manage the information coming your way so you can find what you need and ignore or unsubscribe from the rest:
Continue Reading Tips for General Counsels to Manage Coronavirus Client Alerts

Wow. How the hell did we wake up to this reality? Coronavirus? COVID-19? You can call it what you want, but I’m sitting here vacillating between “I should have taken the blue pill” and putting on my Sheriff Rick Grimes hat and getting ready to kick some ass.

We finally know what happened to Rick on Walking Dead

So how are you doing? Personally, I feel like I’m just snapping into my new reality.

For the past two weeks I’ve been so focused on moving my office home and pivoting everything we were doing to meet the needs of our attorneys and firm clients; stocking up on what we needed to stock up on; getting one kid home from her study abroad program in Paris (where she had been to Milan the week before the crisis broke out there), and bringing the other kid in from California (because when shit like this happens, don’t we all want our moms?); helping my siblings as we make sure our parents are set up and stop going out (guess where I get the stubborn from??), that I haven’t really internalized what was happening.

My new reality is sinking in, finally

Continue Reading How are you? Is there anything I can do to help?

I often post articles on LinkedIn with a lead in: “If you only have time to read one thing today, this is it.” I started to post this article, “How knitters got knotted in a purity spiral: A process of moral outbidding is corroding small communities from within” this morning, but realize I have more to say on this topic.

The article was posted by one of my most trusted friends, and former bridesmaids, on her private Facebook feed, along with her concerns and fears. She has her own company, which is growing and exposing her to bigger and bigger communities. Sharing, liking the wrong thing could, in an instant, destroy her and all she has worked for in her life, not to mention the people who have invested their money in her company and her employees.

This post is about the current “purity spiral” that has taken hold not just in the U.S., but around the world.

So take a deep breath and come along with me. You’re going to have to connect the dots between a knitting community and the legal industry. But look around you, we’re seeing this purity test phenomenon, along with the inability to dissent, all around us.Continue Reading Can you pass a purity test?

I am of the mindset that if I am complain about something I’d better be the first to raise my hand to volunteer. And while I have not complained about access to justice, I do complain about how the business of law just isn’t getting it right, especially where legal professionals are concerned.

As a member of the California State Bar’s Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services, we have been tasked to see how (alternative) legal service providers (technology companies) can ethically operate and provide services in California.

The task, in and of itself, is challenging Rules 5.4 (fee sharing) and 5.5 (unlicensed practice of law) of the code of professional conduct, which will not only impact the delivery of legal services through technology companies, but will impact law firms by opening up fee sharing, and perhaps in time, the actual ability for legal professionals to take an ownership stake in law firms.

You see, no matter how much we legal professionals try, there is only so much we can do without that ownership stake. Our seats at the table are warm, but when push comes to shove, we don’t have the vote. And that is what keeps most law firms from innovating. 
Continue Reading I complained. I volunteered. I’m not disappointed.