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Honigman LLP

www.honigman.com


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Lesson 32

To Err is Human, Even For Lawyers. It’s What You Do After That Counts.


“We all make mistakes in real life. And real life includes our law practice. Most mistakes will not be fatal to our current job, let alone our future career. They may, however, erode confidence—not just our confidence in ourselves, but also the confidence others place in us. This is not necessarily right or fair. But, particularly in law firms, it is inevitable. Law firms worry about malpractice, losing cases and, worse, losing clients. They also weed out lawyers. Partners reviewing young associates and non-equity partners are asked: Has she got what it takes? Can you rely on her? Mistakes figure prominently in the answer.

The truth is this: How we handle our mistakes counts as much, if not more, than the mistakes themselves. This is especially true for women lawyers in law firms.”


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“Just say ‘no’ to the naysayers. They will not see the vision you see, and…It’s your responsibility to live that vision and believe in it.” from Overcoming the Obstacle of Naysayers, by Wendi Weiner


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Julee L. Milham,
Attorney at Law

www.emusiclaw.com


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Lesson 34

Let Both “Musts” and “Nevers” be “Maybes”


“My journey to law school was peculiar. I was three months away from graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and religion and had no post-graduation plan. My heart was in the music industry, and one night a musician friend’s comment gave me this notion: I should go to law school so I can protect all the cute band boys from the mean industry people who would take advantage of them.

Sure, what else would a teenager think? The friend’s comment came on a Wednesday. I conferred with my parents when I saw them that Saturday, and the LSAT was the next week. I knew no lawyers, and I didn’t know what the LSAT was or what law school was. I thought it was a trade school of sorts. Although he denied it later, on first pronouncement, my father was understandably less than happy with this whimsical, expensive idea. He quickly came around, but I realized I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. When I pondered to my father, “What if it’s not right for me?” he said, “Go. If you don’t like it, leave.”


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“A good workout takes one hour. That’s 4% of your day. No excuses. I had never thought about it in that way. I decided I deserved 4% of my day! I was worth it!” from The Power of Putting Yourself First, by Kristine Reed


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United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker


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Lesson 36

Forget the Map


“Why did you become a lawyer? I became a lawyer because I wanted a career, not a job. I wanted the fellowship provided by a profession. I wanted the opportunity to grow throughout my working life and to be intellectually challenged throughout. I wanted flexibility to remake myself, if I wanted, by pursuing new areas of interest. I wanted the security of knowing that I could always earn enough to support myself and my family. I wanted the power of knowledge and the skills to effect positive change for people and our community. After 25 years, I am grateful that I picked the right path for me.

It was not always easy. As the saying goes, “The law is a jealous spouse.” The demands of a legal career require a delicate balancing act that can tip in dangerous directions. If one is not careful and constantly recalibrating, personal health and relationships can suffer. Reflecting back, there are a few words of advice I can offer based on personal experiences.”


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“Rejection is valuable. It forces me to re-examine my approach. It prevents complacency, and it pushes my boundaries.” from Pushing Past Fear and Failure, by Artie Renee Pobjecky


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Pobjecky & Pobjecky, LLP

www.pobjeckylaw.com


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Lesson 37

Pushing Past Fear and Failure


“Life is hard, yet success is harder. To succeed risks must be taken. Even when things go right and everything seems easy, those triumphs are often built on a foundation of failures, gambles, and numerous headaches. Part of taking risks is to accept and embrace failure. Fear did not stop Neil Armstrong from walking on the moon, nor did 1,000 failures prevent Thomas Edison from creating the light bulb. I admit I am always looking for the secret formula to triple my revenue and client base; ultimately, I am reminded, by those who have paved the way ahead of me, that I already possess the “secret.”

The secret to my solo practice and business success is working on my business versus in my business. The key component of working on my business is developing meaningful contacts with business executives. As an introvert, this is not fun, yet I push through it and I have enjoyed the rewards.”


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“Not just advice, but affirmation that so much of what we feel and have experienced has been felt and experienced by others.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Miltner Reed LLC

www.miltner-reed.com


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Lesson 38

The Power of Putting Yourself First


“There’s a meme that floats around the fitness world to the effect of, “A good workout takes one hour. That’s 4% of your day. No excuses.” When I first read that, my cynical self actually did the math. Was that even right? Turns out it is, and pretty obviously so, but I had never thought about it in that way. I decided I deserved 4% of my day! I was worth it! And 4% was small! It didn’t sound selfish or luxurious or even hard to achieve! Let’s do it! Here I go! I vowed to run for an hour or enjoy that time sitting on my deck with a great book when Ohio weather allows. I vowed to do it every day.

The more I tried, the more I realized it was not as easy as that meme suggested. And that made me realize the full extent of my self-neglect.”


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“My hope is that this book will empower women lawyers to bring their whole selves to their work, to their loved ones, and to their lives.” from the Introduction, by Nora Riva Bergman


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Scarborough Law, LLC

www.scarboroughlaw.com


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Lesson 39

Slow It Down


“As women in the legal profession, we are everything to everyone. Counselors, managers, mothers, partners, lovers, and leaders. We work at full pace from the time we wake up in the morning until we close our eyes. Even our weekend mornings are ever-filled with duties and commitments as we head off to our tennis matches, take the kids to soccer, or volunteer at our church or temple. We are always organizing, moving, and producing. The same is true for me in my business and law practice. For the past 18 years I’ve been focused on grinding out more work and growing my business, and it’s paid off in tangible successes. What I haven’t done, however, is slow it down. I’ve never been well-suited to a slow pace. I’m a grinder. Nonetheless, I have found my insistence on pushing forward actually works against me. Sometimes one needs to simply slow down to allow our brain to make the necessary connections. It is in these slower periods of relaxation or meditation that the best ideas and connections often come.”


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“It’s all about helping others – lifting them up and helping them achieve what they want to achieve.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Gimbal Lean Practice Management Advisors

www.gimbalcanada.com


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Lesson 40

Don’t Resist…Reinvent


“I was never supposed to be a lawyer. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. I went to university and studied life sciences: microbiology, chemistry, physiology, virology, pharmacology, and anatomy. In my third year, when my classmates were madly applying to medical schools, I had an epiphany. I loved the science (except organic chemistry), but I hated the competition and pressure. The thought of spending another few years competing against the same people to get into medical school, and then competing with them for another four years to get through medical school, was entirely unappealing. So, what should I do with my B.Sc.? Why not law school? No competition there, right?”


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“If a woman reads this book and thinks to herself, ” That’s me,” or “If she can do that, so can I, that would be awesome.” – Nora Riva Bergman


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Kimberly Stamatelos, Office of Law and Mediation

www.attorneymediate.com


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Lesson 41

Finishing Well


“Mr. Durant died right here at his desk,” I was told by an associate at my first law firm job as he pointed to an office with an empty desk. It was as though Mr. Durant was a warrior who died in battle saving the world. I got the message.

I dove in as the only female in the firm’s litigation section, charting my course as a workaholic, billing hours like a trooper. I silenced my inner voice and went full speed ahead, learning to be tough. Law school and the lawyers mentoring me convinced me that compassion was a weakness and aggression was a strength.

In my private life I paired with a man also constrained by his job, traveling for business five days a week. We married and had three children. What was wrong with me? I loved my babies, but I was obsessed with being a lawyer.


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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District Court Judge
Linda S. Thomas


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Lesson 43

Buy a Ticket


“Back in 1997, I was a brand-new lawyer trying to start my legal career in a small city in Oklahoma—not a small town, but certainly not a large city, either. After 20 years of teaching public school (which becomes more relevant as this goes on), I decided to go to law school. Upon graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, I found it difficult to break into the legal world, especially in a place where I was literally the only woman lawyer in town (well, except for the few who were in-house counsel for an oil company headquartered there). I had zero luck with resumes and interviews in the all-male law firms, so I finally just hung out my shingle and hoped for the best. Then an opportunity (if you want to call it that) did actually fall into my lap. Fortunately, as it eventually turns out, the local county bar association customarily elected the newest attorney as its president—certainly not as any particular honor, but rather because no one else really wanted the position. That serendipitous event turned out to be the first step toward my success as a solo practitioner and how I became the president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. And here’s how …”


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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Vandenack Weaver LLC

www.vwattys.com


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Lesson 46

Make an Absolute Uncompromising Commitment to Taking Care of Yourself


“As a young lawyer, I was fortunate to have a mentor who pointed out that the legal profession can be consuming. A lawyer can be consumed not only by time demands, but intellectual and emotional challenges related to what they do. Regardless of a lawyer’s practice area, a lawyer spends every day dealing with problems presented by others and constant deadlines related to dealing with such problems. Lawyers are always using significant energy to help others, meet deadlines, and deal with multiple conflicting priorities. My mentor suggested that those of us who engage in professions requiring constant output of energy need to be committed to practices and making the time to restore our energy and keep ourselves well.

I had a friend early in my career who had achieved significant success and climbed to a high-ranking corporate position at a Fortune 500 company at an early age. I used to work out with this friend. We were both runners and we ran races together. My friend’s favorite statement was, “Never compromise a workout for work.” I watched my friend live that despite a very busy career path and a family life. I decided to follow that example and I have lived that, no matter how busy I have gotten at times.”


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“Block off some time for yourself…your time of reflection can be some of the most valuable time you build into your week.” from Slow It Down, by Stephanie Scarborough


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