Friday, April 27, 2012

Thanks to All Our Staff

As we wind up yet another Administrative Professional's Week, it's a good time to thank my secretary (again) for helping me for the last decade.  As I wrote some time ago in The Value of a Great Secretary, a talented, committed, patient, reliable, and careful assistant can make all the difference in how well a lawyer manages her professional life.  

I don't always buy in to "hallmark" holidays, but this past Wednesday (April 27) was Administrative Professional's Day, fka Secretary's Day, and it is one worth acknowledging.   Thankfully it is now celebrated over an entire week so we forgetful types have all week to express our appreciation.  

A little history might be interesting to you.   According to Wikipedia

"The official period of celebration was first proclaimed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer as "National Secretaries Week," which was held June 1–7 in 1952, with Wednesday, June 4, 1952 designated National Secretaries Day. The first Secretaries Day was sponsored by the National Secretaries Association with the support of corporate groups.
In 1955, the observance date of National Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week of April. The name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and became Administrative Professionals Week in 2000 to encompass the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff. IAAP created National Secretaries Week (now Administrative Professionals Week) with two objectives in mind: to recognize "the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend," and to call attention "through favorable publicity, to the tremendous potential of the secretarial career."
So, once again, I want to say Thank You to all the staff here who help me make it through the work week, especially IT (for keeping me connected), facilities (for keeping me fed), marketing (for keeping me visible), library (for keeping me informed), records (for keeping track of everything), word processing (for keeping it all in English), HR (for bringing on the support) and finance (for keeping the paychecks coming).  I couldn't do it without you!

And Mary, thanks again for the orchids.  They make me smile, every day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fun Sites

I am not really a techie lawyer, but I do think it is interesting to learn about new tools and useful websites.  So I perused the sixty "must-see" websites for lawyers from this year’s ABA TECHSHOW .  In the popular "60 Sites in 60 Minutes,” session legal technologists Reid Trautz, Natalie Kelly, Dan Pinnington and Catherine Sanders Reach shared a variety of must-see websites for lawyers.  I particularly liked The Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group.  I also had fun with WhoIsTheMostFamous (guess the most famous surname, using just a first name), until I realized that apparently there aren't many famous women.  Perhaps I just didn't play long enough. 

Okay, so the aforementioned sites don't really help in the practice of law.  But there are a lot of sites that do.  Take this as a reminder to do at least one techie thing today--beef up your Linked In profile and add some connections, find a new resource to help your practice, start a blog, post to your dormant blog, upload a new photo showing your true age (or devolve yourself, instead), finally get started with Twitter (you are missing out and might as well live under a rock if you don't at least follow your clients, let alone the news media, your colleagues or your local politicians).  

Then get back to work, time's a wastin.'

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Catch" the Good in Others

I have a teenage daughter at home.  She's now got her learner's permit, so on the one hand I have a personal chauffeur, but it also means that she is constantly testing limits as a driver, voicing her opinions about the rules of the road, and trying out new behaviors as she steps in a major way toward adult responsibilities.  And it also means I read her high school's parents' newsletter for the tips and suggestions on how to keep a relatively pleasant home environment for the family (I need all the help I can get!).  

A recent suggestion for parents of teens in the newsletter reminded me of a great way to bring out the best in other people:  "catch" them doing something great, and make a positive comment about it.  As young people mature, they become far more responsive to positive reinforcement than they are to negative punishment of undesirable behaviors.

That principal of "catching" the good applies as well to managing adults in the workplace as it does to influencing teenage behavior.  It's a little more difficult, I think, to give positive feedback and ignore negative, ineffective, or unproductive professional actions.  I suppose every paycheck is a form of positive feedback about adequacy of performance.  But if the goal is to coach and develop excellent professional performance, it just makes sense that positive feedback may be more likely to increase desirable performance than criticism of unsatisfactory performance will suppress the bad--it might do that, but it may also destroy morale and confidence, and it may not provide much useful feedback about what IS desired performance.  I suppose that is a pretty obvious statement, yet there seems to be far more of an emphasis in performance reviews on giving low marks for the poor performers than there is on giving "atta boys" for jobs well done.  

Try it tomorrow: "catch" someone on your team doing something well and tell them so.  It doesn't have to be a groundbreaking achievement, just good performance of an ordinary daily task that has been well done--and that you would like to see as a routine baseline for performance.  Make it a part of daily interaction, not just a line in the annual written appraisal.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Image and Networking Advice

As we all know, how we women professionals dress has an enormous impact on our credibility and success.  Women in the San Francisco Bay Area might be interested in the upcoming Image Consultant/Networking event for Women to be presented by Micki Turner, Bay Area Image Consultant on April 19, 2012 from 6:00-7:30 PM at the Gibson-Dunn offices at 555 Mission St, 30th Floor in San Francisco (close to Montgomery Street BART).  Micki’s presentation will include:

  • How your wardrobe can improve your professional image
  • What is Smart Business attire?
  • What is Business Casual?
  • How to build a versatile, professional wardrobe that takes you where you need to go
  • Incorporate spring trends to look current but not trendy     
  • Which pieces are worth investing in

Light appetizers provided. Networking afterward.  You can find more information about Micki at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Upcoming New York Diversity Event

Women Legal 2012

Advancing the increasingly-important dialogue on gender diversity in the legal

 profession while illustrating the business imperative for the retention and 

succession of female leadership

 June 7, 2012 ~ New York, NY          

Click HERE for complete agenda      

Click HERE to register