I know, I know, I know. It’s January 2020 and I blogged exactly seven (that’s 7) times last year. WTH??

It boils down to two things:

1. I’ve been really busy. 

I started a new job which required a move from Los Angeles to New Orleans. It was my first move in more than 20 years, and wow, that threw me. I’m really good at transitions and multi-task organization, but this one really got me and I actually started to doubt myself, but I knew better than to listen to “that” voice and I pushed through it. That first month I really wondered if it would all settle down or if this would be my new normal. It took a couple months, but it finally did settle down, just in time to buy a house, pack up all the stuff we had unpacked (Sports Dude says he got a head start by not unpacking a dozen or so boxes that just sat around our rental for the 8 months we were there), and move to our new home.

One of the reasons we moved was to get out of the crazy of LA. The congestion. The pace of life. The “culture.” We bought this house to literally stop and enjoy the views. To recharge. To let go and be in the moment. We have yet to be disappointed. Photos above and below are from our back porch of a sunrise and sunset this week.

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Davey House, 2020.#NoFilter. Photo credit: Eric S. Geller

2. I really didn’t have much to say. 

It kinda struck me this year more than other years, but we’re still talking about the same crap we were talking about 20+ years ago: Industry groups. Diversity. Attorneys not wanting to do business development. What to do about the service partners when their rainmakers retire. Succession planning. Client service. Billing rates. CRM.

Sure we’ve had some disruptions: generational shifts, AFAs, AI. But they all come back to the same themes. I keep thinking, “Ah, this is going to really change things,” but it rarely does. We just keep operating in a very small bubble because, well, lawyers.

This avoidance of changes (innovation) in our industry comes from the risk aversion of lawyers; decision are based on precedence, not looking forward. It’s amazing that all these years (decades) later the basic tenants of Dr. Larry Richards article Herding Cats: The Lawyer Personality Revealed still hold true: Lawyers remain more skeptical, less resilient, and more autonomous than the general population. Great for writing a legal brief, not so great when it comes to business innovations and practices.

While I have seen glimmers of change with the entrance of the Millennials into the law firm, on the whole, there has not been too much change, because how we cultivate and educate lawyers hasn’t changed much. Oh, wait, what’s that I’m reading and hearing? Law schools discussing getting rid of the LSAT? Law firms starting to change hiring practices and looking at non-traditional (tier 1) law schools? Oooh, is that the rise of the millennial leader (video) I’m seeing?? Hmmmm.

So what to do?


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I know. It’s been a while since I have blogged. For those not paying close attention, I not only changed firms, but I have changed states. The Sports Dude and I have gone from LA to NOLA. We have traded earthquakes for tropical depressions.

But that’s not the only reason I’ve been radio silent. I had a situation happen where my trust was breached, and I was hurt. Nothing “bad” happened, but I was left feeling vulnerable and retreated, and that kicked in some writers block that I haven’t experienced since college.

I tried writing, and it stalled. I just couldn’t go “there” and be free in my thoughts, and open to what it was I wanted to convey. If I can’t be authentic, I just can’t write. For me, writing is cathartic, free-flowing, and insightful. It is as much for me–allowing me to clarify my thoughts and positions–as it is for the reader.

And then I stumbled upon Brené Brown. Or, better yet, every other post in my Facebook feed seemed to be about her.

Apparently she’s been around for a while, but I had never seen the TED Talk, the Oprah Postcasts (parts 1 and 2), or read her books. But she quickly had me with “daring greatly,” and so here I am. Writing. 
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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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From time to time I use this blog not to opine on legal marketing, but as a vehicle for my voice. That is what this post is about today. I am not anti-gun, I never have been. I am, however, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a wife. I cannot shake what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week. We have a problem in this country that we continue to avoid. While others look to Congress, or the White House, or their local legislatures for change, I say the change begins with me. With you. With us. 

For those who don’t know my background, before my career in legal marketing I was a lobbyist. A gun control lobbyist. As in Handgun Control, Inc. and The Center to Prevent Gun Violence. I was a Republican, working for a Republican, trying to make a difference.

I was in the White House the day President Clinton signed The Brady Bill. I even have a personalized signed copy hanging in my office.

I was there when we got the news about Luby’s, Columbine, Waco, Ruby Ridge, 101 California. I stood alongside the California Attorney General in Sacramento as we pushed new legislation, gave testimony before the Senate and Assembly. I walked the halls in Sacramento with victims as we worked to enhance our state gun control laws.
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In my morning meditation, this line popped up:

“… in our group discussions we should never settle for the “good,” but always strive to attain the “best.”

How perfectly that sums up my LMA conference experience this week in both the sessions, and especially in the hallways, as well as in my Legal Marketers Extraordinaire (LME) Facebook Group.

Mentors | Colleagues | Friends


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Look, Ma! No Wifi.
Look, Ma! No WiFi.

For those who are friends with me on Facebook you know that I’m in one of those boot camp/transformation gyms. It’s not quite Cross-fit, but you get the idea. I’m working out four days a week, at 5:00 a.m., and during my upcoming 8-week challenge, I’ll be there five days a week.

Today is a “recovery day” for me. My Tuesday lower body workout is really tough. I am wiped out by Tuesday mid-day. My body needed a little extra sleep today (I was up at 5:15 a.m., rather than my usual 4:00 a.m.). I had a slower pace getting ready for work this morning. All in all, I feel refreshed.

Like many of you, I also took a vacation this summer. I prefer that my vacations include a beach, along with an awesome pool with lounge-chair service, because that’s what I find relaxing. I’ve done the “6 theme parks in 7 days” vacations, and I come back exhausted. I need my summer vacation to rejuvenate me. Sure, we took a couple side trips to visit some local sites, but, all in all, we spent a lot of time at the resort.

And isn’t that what recovery days and vacations are about? Rest. Rejuvenation. Allowing our minds and bodies to heal. Taking a well-needed break. Balancing ourselves. Letting go of what we need to let go of.

So why do we fight it?

When it is apparent we need a “mental health day,” we grit our teeth and get into the office even earlier.

Vacations, if taken at all, are planned around WiFi availability.

Sure I checked my email while on vacation, only to delete all the crap that could be deleted, and to forward along the few things to my team that had to be handled. But I was off the grid many a day, and guess what? They did just fine without me.

To give you my best, in the gym or in the office, I need to be at my best. I need my mind clear. My body rested. My spirit whole.

So why do we fight it?
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to do listTo say life has been in session this past year would be an understatement. I’m crazy, stupid busy everywhere. I can’t seem to get to what I want to get to. My mind is constantly swimming with what I need to do next … trying to create the pathway to get done, well, everything.

Nothing has fallen through the cracks, although I have had to let things get perilously close before I had the time to yank it back to get it done.

It’s not organizational. It’s not that I’m seeking “work life balance.” It’s just that my life is very full, and those areas of my life of importance are busy. Work. My relationship with the Sports Dude. My kids. My spiritual life. My friends. My extended family. My professional development.

It’s not that I want to do it all. It’s that I want to be present and active in each of these areas because they are each important to me.

To sit down and write this post means the sacrifice of something equally important: Today it’s my morning meditation and yoga.

I wrote a post many years ago about managing my time, including taking a Sharpie to my calendar, and I have done that and continue to do all of those things. I have taken things off my plate, removed myself from what is not necessary. I have shut down the chatter so it does not distract me, and I filter my intake so I get the most important information. Yet I am still crazy, stupid busy.

More adjustments need to be made. I am not as engaged where I want to be engaged, and the things that will get crossed out in this round will be things that are important to me, to make room for other things that are just slightly more important right now.
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My favorite picture of Chris Milligan. Lots of joy to remember and cherish. circa 2006

This year has gotten off to a horrible start. First David Bowie. Then Glenn Frye. And now Christine Milligan and Richards Barger Christine Milligan was my mother-in-law. She passed away on Sunday from complications of living a very grand life. She would have been 96 in a couple weeks, and she leaves behind a family who loved and adored her. Chris was a true lady. A gritty kind of southern belle who didn’t fit into anybody’s box or stereotype. She shocked her Alabama community by going off to college to Washington, D.C. rather than going to one of the local colleges in Tennessee or Alabama to earn her MRS. When the war broke out, she went to work for the government. She eventually married a returning soldier, who became a doctor, and settled in Newport Beach, CA. In her late 30s and early 40s she finally had her kids. Chris was the best. She opened her beach house to not only me and my kids, when we would invade her quiet sanctity for many a weekend, but she opened her home to my family, and my sister’s family, and their friends. She was a wonderful and gracious woman, and one of the greatest honors I have is to say I was able to make her a grandmother.

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Dick Barger, founding partner, Barger & Wolen

The other loss this week was Richards Barger. He was the founding partner of Barger & Wolen (now a part of Hinshaw & Culbertson), one of the best law firms I have ever had the pleasure of working in. Mr. Barger was an icon in the insurance regulatory community. Every conference I attended, every event our firm sponsored, the first question everyone had was, “Is Mr. Barger here?” He had such reverence and respect for the community in which he served. Young or old, everyone knew, adored and respected Mr. Barger.
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Photo credit Debbie Marcinkowski
Vic in Serta. Photo credit Debbie Marcinkowski
My morning meditation was overtaken today by thoughts of my friend Vic Anderson. Vic has been very ill for a while, but the end is near and I do believe that his energy is increasing as he prepares to say goodbye. And while I