Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Big Picture

One of my favorite columnists, Melanie Herman, writes for the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.  I've never met her but, unlike nearly all other emailed newsletters, hers always stay in my inbox until I read them. Although I started reading her newsletter because many of my clients are nonprofits, I've found lots of wisdom there that applies to managing any business enterprise that involves more than one human.  Her recent post on Love and Politics is great food for thought even for lawyers in private practice.  I'm sure there are lots of lawyer-focused articles on the same topic.  But I like to read about management issues in other industries because I often find that the change in emphasis brings some creative insights and sometimes solutions for my practice.

In Love and Politics Melanie also comments on the importance of sharing information with others in the enterprise.  Sharing information about the strategies and goals at an organizational level is probably just as imperative to morale and organizational effectiveness in a law firm as in other businesses.

The idea of sharing information applies at the client level, too. Many years ago when I made my one and only law firm move, naturally I felt out of place and behind the information curve on every assignment at the new place.  Whenever given a new assignment for an existing firm client, I would try to get my hands on the entire correspondence file so I could read the history of the relationship.  Even though most of what I read might have had no bearing on the particular problem, I wanted to know as much as possible about the client and the legal work the firm was doing for them. What started out as a frantic effort to calm my anxiety quickly became a habit, and I like to think that habit has served me well as I've developed a reputation for creative solutions to legal problems.  

Although it is often important that team members stay on task with the particular assignment, when in doubt I think it is better to over-share seemingly irrelevant information about the client's situation, rather than restricting information or, in the worst cases, hiding the ball.   It is much easier to help other team members develop creative problem solving skills when they are encouraged to make a habit of looking at the big picture.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Diversity Summit in Denver

Center for Legal Inclusiveness
6th Annual Inclusiveness & Diversity Summit
The Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) will hold its 6th Annual Legal Inclusiveness & Diversity Summit on May 7, 2012 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. Attendees will learn about cutting-edge inclusiveness topics from distinguished speakers and national experts:
  • Luncheon keynote by Dr. Arin N. Reeves, Nextions LLC, national leadership and inclusiveness expert  
  • Women General Counsel Roundtable with Karen Ripley, MillerCoors, Rhonda Parish, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc., and Loretta Martinez, Metro State College of Denver  
  • National experts: Laurie N. Robinson, Corporate Counsel Women of Color; Dr. Ellen Ostrow, Lawyers Life Coach, LLC; and Professor William D. Henderson and Caren Ulrich Stacy, Lawyer Metrics, LLC   
A Full Day with National Speakers & Cutting Edge Topics


Dr. Ellen Ostrow
     Lawyers Life Coach, LLC
     Cultivating Sponsors & Empowering Diverse Attorneys

Professor William Henderson & Caren Ulrich Stacy
     Lawyer Metrics, LLC
     Moneyball Studies for Finding "A-Player" Lawyers

Dr. Arin Reeves (Luncheon Plenary)
     Nextions LLC
     The Next IQ: The Next Generation of Intelligence for 21st Century Leaders

Laurie Robinson 
Corporate Counsel Women of Color
Highlights from the 2011 CCWC Report: The Perspectives of Women of Color Attorneys in Corporate Legal Departments

GC Roundtable
     Women General Counsel Leading the Way on Diversity & Inclusiveness  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CLI Inclusiveness Institute - A separate, one-day intensive training on the fundamentals of inclusiveness.

Topics will cover
  • Inclusiveness 101
  • The Difference Between Diversity & Inclusiveness
  • How to Start an Inclusiveness Initiative
  • How to Engage White Men
  • A special workshop by Dr. Arin Reeves, Nextions LLC, national leadership and inclusiveness expert 
On May 8, 2012 CLI will also host the Inclusiveness Institute, an optional one-day intensive training on the fundamentals of inclusiveness taught by Dr. Reeves and national legal inclusiveness expert, Kathleen Nalty, CLI Executive Director. 

5 Reasons You Should Attend

Early Bird Rates Until April 14, 2012 

Early bird pricing through April 14 is $299 /$149 for government and nonprofit per day; special pricing for attending both events.

For information and to register, visit or call 303-832-3503.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More On Diversity

The American Bar Association Business Law Section Diversity Committee has just published its first of "The Business of Diversity."  In addition to several good articles, there is contact information for the committee and subcommittee chairs, for those of  you who are looking for a way to get involved.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's Not a Fluke

Just when I thought the need for my diatribes against misogynistic behavior aimed at women lawyers had waned, this country reminds me that things change very very slowly.  I know you've all read about Sandra Fluke's courageous behavior this past week.  I'm extremely proud, also, that a Catholic institution could see the situation clearly.  And I also can see the healthy side of the debate about whether birth control should even be part of an insurance system.  What I can't understand is why there are any men, let alone presidential candidates, who would try to rationalize Limbaugh's behavior as somehow acceptable.  Until it is no longer socially acceptable for anyone to lash out at a woman in this manner--be it in a law firm meeting, a board meeting, a trial or in print--to strong, articulate women lawyers who step forward to participate in the debate, the path for women lawyer leaders will remain fraught with peril.  Although the enormous positive support for Ms. Fluke will probably be a very good thing for her career, the negative message will also chill the willingness of many other young women lawyers who don't want to be an object of derision, and can't stand the heat.

And no, that doesn't mean women should stay out of the kitchen.  It means America needs to stop stoking the fire.