The program was recorded at the end of March 2020 when we were deep in the COVID-19 pandemic, so we could not not discuss how firms and
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.…
Continue Reading Are we over complicating the diversity issues in law firms?
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:
- 2017: Resolutions or Intentions? How are you beginning your year?
- 2016: Don’t seek resolutions. Find your adventure.
- 2015: How to set up your marketing plan for 2015 (Editorial note: what a crappy title, sorry about that)
- 2014: No crazy New Year’s resolutions for me.
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. …
Continue Reading New Year. New You. No Way.
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. …
Continue Reading Survey says: We’ve still got a long way to go, baby
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?
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??)
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. …
Continue Reading An Open Letter to Conference Organizers, Panel Moderators, and Speakers