Following on our last post about Steve Harmon’s trends to watch in legal, I wanted to share some of his other key takeaways from his session at the CLOC Institute in London. Each of these takeaways, while directed at the legal operations audience, is relevant throughout the legal industry and are key driving factors for how we’ll be able to achieve change.

Collaboration Drives Success

We’ve focused on this idea previously, and it was a strong theme throughout the CLOC institute. True, smart collaboration can feel unfamiliar, and a bit uncomfortable in the legal profession, but there are strong business cases for it (we’ll get into those in a bit more detail when we discuss Heidi Gardner’s session on collaboration). Harmon said that legal operations professionals aren’t “stewards of process, but drivers of results.” Having the best process isn’t a differentiator if it’s not tied to business results (this is true within law firms as well). Because of that, it’s possible to share best practices without impacting differentiation or competition. That’s also true across the legal industry, and is a call for more, and not less, collaboration.
Continue Reading Key Factors for Achieving Change in the Legal Industry

We’re a few weeks out now from the CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) Institute in London, and I’m finally jumping into some recaps. There was some truly excellent content during the conference, and not just for legal operations folks, but with transferable lessons for everyone in the legal industry. Over the next few weeks, I’ll dive into a few of the sessions and look at what we discussed, starting with Steve Harmon’s presentation on the Evolving Role of the Corporate Legal Department & the Implications for Legal Operations Teams. Harmon is the Deputy General Counsel at Cisco and General Counsel at Elevate, and a CLOC board member.
Continue Reading Five Legal Industry Trends to Watch

I’m bringing you a treat today, Zen readers! A post from the ILN’s own Jenn Smuts – and it’s a good one. Prepare to get uncomfortable and start asking yourself the hard questions.

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Last week Lindsay asked the Zen audience about whether they were still feeling inspired with the arrival of the new year, then she afforded us three “inspiration” ideas.  This post is going to take her ideas: reading, writing and thinking, and elaborate on one goal – leveraging women in the profession.
Continue Reading Leveraging Women in Legal – What’s Your Scorecard?

A few years ago, I wrote a post centered around the idea of needing a strong audience in order to make the content that you’re writing valuable. While content development is a piece of the overall puzzle, this idea is easily expanded, especially in today’s market. Something that I’ve heard a LOT from lawyers is that to be successful, you simply need to be a good lawyer. So that’s the question that we’re looking at today – if you build a good practice, will clients just show up?

The short answer is no. And in your hearts, you know that.

It’s simply not enough to be a good lawyer these days. You could be the BEST lawyer there is – the most technically gifted, the best educated, even the most experienced. But if no one knows who you are, does it even matter? 
Continue Reading If You Build it (a Good Practice), Will They Come?

We’re almost through a full month in 2019 – are you still feeling fresh and inspired about the new year? Or are you feeling bogged down by your routine and flagging resolve already?

If you’ve thrown your resolutions out the window, never fear – I’m not a big believer in them anyway. What I DO believe in is finding ways to find new inspiration that will allow you to freshen up your goals, your thinking, your business development, and ultimately, your practice.
Continue Reading Lawyers: Three Ways to Inspire Your Practice in 2019

We’ve saved the best for last – or potentially, I’ve just been avoiding this topic because time management is an area where I need to be taking my own advice.

If you ask a lawyer what one of their biggest issues is, you’ll find that time management is top of the list. Especially when it comes to maximizing billable client time.

Let’s look at five things you can do today to start to improve your time management skills.
Continue Reading Five Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills Today

Regular Zen readers will know that I’m a runner. When you first start running, you tell yourself that it’s the cheapest sport – all you need is a pair of sneakers, and you can head outside and do it. While this is (essentially) true, we runners love our gadgets and our products, and sharing our favorites of the same.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I’m in a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to running, including a pretty large one, and we often share products we love. A popular one among the group is the sunglasses brand, Goodr, who have been known as a fun, edgy brand with glasses that stay put on your face during long, sweaty runs, have a basset hound mascot, and catchy names for their sunnies. I own three pairs myself. 
Continue Reading Good( r ) Leadership Means Having to Say You’re Sorry

We’ve discussed the idea of change extensively here on Zen, and although it’s a long time coming in the legal industry, there are pockets of exciting innovation. One such pocket is the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, or CLOC, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years (as in 40 members to 1800 members in 3 years). One of CLOC’s core tenets is bringing together the ENTIRE legal ecosystem in order to achieve real, systemic change, and that’s a tenet I can really get behind.

Last week, I had the pleasure to join their CIO/Cybersecurity Initiative task force, and it got me thinking about what’s really necessary for collaboration in the legal ecosystem (and other professional services industries, for that matter). I’d like to share with you my three tips that I saw in action during this CLOC meeting that you can implement today in your firms as you seek to ride the wave of change. 
Continue Reading Lawyers: Collaboration Drives Your Success. Here’s How to Do it

Successful communication comes in many forms, and we may be already convinced either by virtue of our training or personality that we’re naturally good communicators. Whether you’re confident in your communications skills, or looking for a refresher, there are four tasks you can undertake today to improve your business communication skills.

Audit Your Communication

How do you currently communicate with others on a professional level? For this purpose, we’re going to consider all of your means of communications to be “professional.” The list may surprise you:

  • Verbally
  • Written (articles/blogs)
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Text
  • Social Media

All of these are means of communication and translating the message of who you are as a lawyer to colleagues, clients, potential clients, and referral sources. Knowing what channels you use is helpful to ensure that your communication skills are up to par across all of them.
Continue Reading 4 Tasks to Improve Your Business Communication Skills

This post was originally published in Legal Business World on November 5, 2018

It’s no secret that the legal market is a challenging place to be today.

Mergers, non-law firm players, clients continuing to take work in-house, increasing investment in technology, changing demands from different generations…the list goes on.

With a staggering number of reasons in front of us for why change is imperative, what’s holding lawyers back? And what steps can we take to face these challenges head on? 
Continue Reading Breaking Down the Barriers to Change