imageThe Sports Dude and I are sitting on a plane right now headed to Chicago. I have had the privilege for the past six months of attending and participating in The SmithBucklin Leadership Institute, which is culminating this weekend, and we get to bring our +1. If it wasn’t for the merger, and all the work that took place behind the scenes prior to the merger being announced, I would have written on my experience in the Institute more. In short, I don’t think I could have provided the assistance to my partners without the lessons and skills I have learned. I have specifically employed new techniques, avoided some pitfalls, and smoothed over some ruffled feathers, all because of my new leadership skills. As I finish up my final homework assignments, and prepare my final presentations, I am struck most by how prior to the Institute I did a lot of these things, and I knew a lot of these things, but it was instinctive, or by intuition. I had never been taught, or learned it. I picked it up along the way through good examples and incredible mentors, specifically Frank Moon and Steve Barrett; incredible friends and colleagues, like Catherine Alman MacDonagh; and, to be completely candid, some really shitty situations and interactions with some really crappy human beings. What I am walking away with most from my experience these past six months is a heightened awareness of who I am as a leader, and what that means and looks like within the legal industry, my professional association, my job, with my team, my HOA, Girl Scouts, my family, and the list can go on and on. If I could sum it all up: I have become more intentional, and less dependent on my intuition and instincts. So what’s on tap for today?
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CA16901I know I have been a bit radio silent these past couple months, but for good reason. I’ve been busy. Really busy. As in my California insurance regulatory law and litigation boutique, Barger & Wolen, announced this morning that we are merging with Chicago-based, national law firm, Hinshaw & Culbertson, (press release). Hello, AmLaw 200 (I’m thinking somewhere around 125-130). It’s been a crazy, whirlwind romance, and vetting process. Of course, just a couple weeks ago, I got the brilliant idea of just jotting down my notes on what I was working on that day, sort of a “merger diary.” As my work up until today has been focused on either due diligence, pulling together the partner books, and prepping the press releases and announcements, the real work is about to begin, so hopefully this will turn out to be an interesting series. My diary entries will be short and possibly pithy. But will hopefully give you an idea of what we’re working on behind the scenes that week as we move towards our October 1, 2014, launch date, and beyond. We have a lot to integrate, from our blogs and social media, to our culture, and then there’s the technology, billing systems, etc. where marketing doesn’t have a direct touch. Oh, and did I mention anywhere that Girl Scouts is back in session (meeting tonight), and I am the new president of our HOA (after recalling the former board) where we are having to address our decaying infrastructure (the pipes) that the former board decided to just ignore (hence the recall). We’ll just weave that into the story line as well. So, let’s begin with today as we countdown to the “going live” date of October 1, 2014. Merger Diary – M(erger) minus 29 Days (September 2, 2014) Of course last night (well, this morning … early) is the night that I am hit with insomnia. I’ll be running on Adrenalin and caffeine today. Had the Sports Dude take the kids to school so I can get in extra early. Walked in the doors by 7:15 a.m. and I was not the first one here.

  • Press releases are out and Reuters has called to set up interviews already. Followed by Law360 and American Lawyer.
  • Press release posted to our website first thing, and sent off to JDSupra for blasting; now for the blogs.
  • Update signature blocks with hyperlink to the press release.
  • Added to all our social media channels. Sent links to All B&W with hyperlinks for them to gain easy access to share.
  • e-Newsletter is out. 20% open rate so far. Not bad.
  • Collecting articles as they come in. Reposting to our social media sites.

Tip: Have on hand list of recent case wins for reporters. They’ll ask for it. On the home front: Girl Scouts tonight. Luckily they’re mid-pottery/jewelry patch and I don’t have to do a thing other than open the doors. Got the contract for the replacement of the irrigation pipes, only to find out that more and different pipes are decaying and on the verge of collapse. The good news is we have the money to cover this. But it’s going to eat into a hefty chunk of it.
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