We’re thrilled to announce that a few weeks ago, we debuted our new podcast, Law Firm ILN-telligence, where we bring you real intelligence from real law firms. The first episode, I interviewed Pal Jalsovszky, the managing partner of Jalsovszky Law Firm in Budapest, Hungary and a member firm of the International Lawyers Network. We

I’ve been ruminating on this post for a few days, as I struggled to decide what to blog about this week. This is a tough and heavy topic, but I finally settled on discussing it because it *is* so important, particularly at this moment in time when so many people are struggling and vulnerable. Why add my voice when so many others have already provided great resources and their own stories? Well, I hope I have something of my own to add, because of my own struggles with depression for the past twenty-plus years and because I think that we can never talk about it enough to break the stigma and ensure that people get the help that they need.  (Please note, **trigger warning** for this entire post). 
Continue Reading It’s Okay to Breakdown

My title my be tongue-in-cheek, but my message this week is quite serious.

We’ll get to that in a moment. First, I want to consider for a moment what happens in a crisis. We panic a little bit, right? Even if we stay mostly calm, our world gets very small, and we’re often looking only at the three feet around us. It sometimes means that we’re looking only at what our firm, our office, or our team is doing, and not focusing on the larger picture. We’re also trying to do everything extremely quickly and efficiently, because the needs all feel so IMMEDIATE – clients need us RIGHT.NOW. And that’s not imaginary – they do. Orders have come down from state or national governments asking them to shutter their businesses within hours. They’ve had to move employees from in-office to remote immediately, sometimes with no plans in place. You may be assisting them in doing this often while having to make similar decisions for your own firms.
Continue Reading “I Don’t Want No Hubs” – a.k.a Show me the Value

We’re at a unique point in our histories right now – everything seems to be in an upheaval, and our nerves are frayed. Many of us are finally getting to a place that feels like a new normal, but there are still some things that are a challenge. One of the things I’ve seen to be true over the past few weeks is that a lot of people seem to be in a mad rush to make things happen. In many cases, that’s necessary – as things close, we have to make quick choices about how to work from home, how to help clients move entire businesses to remote working, how to suddenly adapt to working next to children and spouses and partners, how to identify the tricky legal issues that come with challenging economic times.

Whenever there is a rush like that, the idea of “care” can often become secondary. We get more terse in our replies in an effort to be more efficient and we forget that there are real, scared and anxious people at the other end of the phone or digital line, who are trying to manage as many plates and emotions as we are.
Continue Reading Client Care in the Time of Coronavirus

Our second quarter of the year begins tomorrow, and for many of us, we’re facing a new normal that didn’t seem possible three months ago. One of my lawyers emailed me last night and said “what a year this past week has been.” I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.

Lawyers are all in different places at the moment – some firms are exceptionally busy, but may have clients who aren’t able to pay them at the moment. Others are making the difficult decision to lay off staff or cut salaries. Some are shuffling resources to accommodate the influx of questions to practice areas like employment and insolvency and bankruptcy. Everyone is unsure what the future brings.
Continue Reading Business Development in 2020? Let’s Take a Breath.

I’m a new leader in my organization.

It’s true that I’ve been in a leadership role for a number of years, and held leadership positions in other organizations, but when my dad (our former Executive Director) stepped down in December, all eyes were on me to take the reins and steer the ship (forgive me the mixed metaphor).

And then a pandemic happened.
Continue Reading Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Lessons from Quarantine

If you’re new to working from home, by now, you’ve seen or read about 15 posts on what to do, from putting on regular work clothes to setting a schedule and having a dedicated work space. I’m a work from home veteran with fifteen years under my belt, so I know a thing or two about it. It’s true that it does take a certain personality – I fall into the category of finding it hard to walk away from my computer at the end of the day (I’m not sure if that means I’m more or less successful at working from home, but it does mean I get a tremendous amount done).
Continue Reading Working from Home During a Pandemic – 3 Atypical Tips

Coronavirus.

The hot topic on everyone’s mind at the moment (unless you’re in the US and then it’s pretty evenly split between politics and germs). I almost hate to join the fray and discuss it, but with so many events being cancelled, and travel restrictions being enacted, I wanted to add some suggestions for how to continue networking during this time, so that you don’t lose momentum on your relationship building efforts.

For some of us, travel and events still move forward. Travel guidance varies – it depends on your destination and the size of the gathering. Common sense and good hygiene are essential, and for our group, we’ll be instituting what we’re fondly referring to as “Operation Fist Bump” at our upcoming Annual Conference (which may be further downgraded to “Operation Wave Hello.”
Continue Reading Lawyers: Networking During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Just getting it in under the wire – I wanted to take the opportunity to mark the occasion of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking’s 11th Anniversary. Eleven is a lot of years to be writing – I started this blog when I was only four years into my career with the ILN, when I was still finding my way in the legal industry, and it helped me to gain confidence, meet talented, smart people, and engage in thoughtful conversations around interesting topics that were and continue to shape our field. In that time, I’ve published 1,265 posts, a number of them guest posts from amazing contributors. We’ve looked at topics ranging from leadership, the future of the legal, networking, business development, relationship development and more to content marketing, social media (from its first baby steps to where it is now), and legal marketing. I look forward to seeing what the future brings, and hope to continue to bring you interesting content and topics for many years to come!

Over the years, on our anniversary, I’ve shared lessons I’ve learned, tips for blogging or networking, my favorite posts from the past, or the past year. An eleventh anniversary gift is typically supposed to be steel, which represents strength – it’s a good characteristic to have for this year, the year in which I take on the role of Executive Director of my network, navigate new waters, while continuing to stretch and grow, face the coronavirus while making global travel plans and hosting events, embracing new challenges and opportunities. Strength isn’t only internal though – it’s also about the network of support that you have around you, who act as a sounding board, build you up, pick you up, dust you off and throw you back out there when you need it the most. I’m very fortunate to have built one of the strongest support networks I know.
Continue Reading Happy 11th Blogiversary to Zen & the Art of Legal Networking!

Recently, I was speaking with a group of  professional women about the skills they see as essential to “getting to the top.” CEO of Pure Performance Communications, Deirdre Breakenridge, put together an article, “Climbing the Ladder to Success: Five Thought Leaders Weigh-in with Advice,” collecting their answers, and I wanted to share mine with you here.

For me, the answer is three-fold: persistence, a willingness, and openness to always be learning, and a strong tribe.
Continue Reading Lawyers: What Does it Take to Get to the Top?