Many of your know that I’m a big fan of Nicole Abboud’s podcast, GenY Lawyer. It’s supposedly designed for millennials but you wouldn’t know it by me. It’s really about life and coping with day to day problems, big and small, we all face in the legal profession (no matter what your role) and life itself.

In her May 6 episode, Abboud talks about her personal journey and her job burnout in a very personal way. She also talks about what she did about it and the power of meditation and mindfulness. It’s a good example of what another inspiration of mine, Brené Brown, calls the power of vulnerability. If you want to quickly understand what Brown means, listen to her YouTube Daring Greatly speech. Brown says everything you need to know about vulnerability and its power can be summarized in the Teddy Roosevelt Daring Greatly speech she (and I) love:

It’s not the critic that counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds        could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Brown says in her book Daring Greatly that this is the essence of vulnerability: “vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both…it’s being all in.” As she puts, if you want to show up and be seen in your life, you’re going to get your ass kicked. It’s as simple as that; its what life is all about.

 

If you want to show up and be seen in your life, you’re going to get your ass kicked. It’s as simple as that.

Of all the great lessons from Abboud’s podcast, the one I most took to heart was her last line: “As soon as I publish this, I am going to stop worrying about it.” Just like the Roosevelt’s Daring Greatly speech, with one statement, Abboud reveals something profound about vulnerability. It doesn’t matter so much what we think about what she revealed in her podcast, she dared to put it out there and is all in. All too often we dare to share something personal with someone and then stew about whether we should or shouldn’t have or whether we said it the right way. Or worse, we stew about it on the front end and elect not too share.

But being all in is to dare to share part of yourself. It’s understanding it’s something you need to do. Not for others but for yourself. I love the line because what Abboud is really saying is worry less about what others think of your vulnerability and more about what you need to be whole. It’s something I’ve been working on lately. And yes, I do get my ass kicked from time to time but it’s ok. I’m showing up. I’m all in.

 

When I was an associate, my wife used to proudly tell partners I was a nice man. I finally had to tell her not to do that because it was a perceived weakness and would hurt my career. Think about what that says.

So you may ask, what does that have to do with a legal blog the slogan of which is no bullshit? Those in the legal profession, particularly in the litigation arena are trained to never show weakness. It’s professional suicide. When I was an associate, my wife used to proudly tell partners I was a nice man. I finally had to tell her not to do that because it was a perceived weakness and would hurt my career. Think about what that says.

And what’s the cost of the take no prisoners, show no weakness approach to life and practice? Fractured relationships, drowning pain with substance abuse, living with constant professional and personal unhappiness. It’s a professional scourge. Now that I no longer practice, I see the damage more clearly.

 

No bullshit means being honest and calling things as you see them. It also means being vulnerable and authentic.

No bullshit means being honest and calling things as you see them. It also means being vulnerable and authentic. Otherwise, I’m not leading a no bullshit life and this wouldn’t be a no bullshit blog.

So to go back to Abboud’s last line: it doesn’t matter so much what others think: its what you think. Be vulnerable and stop worrying about it. And to quote Abboud “the second I publish this, I’m going to stop worrying about it”. 😊

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone.



Yesterday, ALM released its financial summary for the AmLaw 200.  (The AmLaw 200 consists of firms whose gross revenue is lower than that of the top 100 firms but above that of firms 200 and down. I previously discussed ALM’s findings concerning the financial picture of the AmLaw 100).  ALM summarized the results yesterday in a webinar held by Gina Passarella, Editor in Chief of the American Lawyer, Ben Seal, an ALM Managing Editor, and Nick Bruch, ALM analyst.

The results: like Sergio Leone’s old spaghetti western film, the financial status of the AmLaw 200 can best be described as some good, some bad and some really ugly. Continue Reading The AmLaw 200: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some of you may have noticed the blog has a new logo on the About page, and the description of the blog has changed a bit.

Here’s the back story to the changes. As most of you know, I practiced law for some 30+ years before leaving to become a full-time blogger. At first, I wasn’t really sure where I or the blog was going, but I was reasonably sure I would figure it out. So if you look at some of the articles, you will see subjects meandering from tech, to change management, to innovation and even substantive legal discussions along the way. Continue Reading TechLaw Crossroads: No Bullshit

I’m in Las Vegas this week for the annual CLOC conference at the Bellagio Hotel. CLOC (which stands for the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) is a network of businesses devoted to advancing in house legal operations. As its name implies, it’s membership and benefits have traditional been open only to corporations. Not law firms. And that may be about to change. Maybe. Well maybe sort of.

CLOC and its conference have grown substantially over the past 4 years; the conference is rapidly becoming a “must go” not only for legal ops people but for anyone in legal tech and innovation space. But with growth and notoriety comes new and thorny issues that CLOC is now grappling with, issues that are bubbling up just as CLOC has named a new President, Mary O’Carroll. Continue Reading CLOC’s 2019 Growing Pains

 

TechLaw Crossroads is happy to announce a new partnership with ediscovery service provider PageOne to sponsor a series of Roundtables to discuss burning issues in the ediscovery space. The idea is to bring together Lit Tech support personal, litigators (yes lawyers are invited ) and paralegals, among others, to talk about what’s working and to network in a relaxed setting.
Lunch will be provided and we plan to offer an agenda in advance. We also welcome participants to submit topics to us as they arise.
We all have good ideas and can learn from one another in a rapidly evolving space. We ask only that you come with the mindset that (a) there are no bad ideas and (b) all egos will be left at the door. We also ask that you come prepare to offer ideas and thoughts and if you like, even some humor. PageOne has been doing these for some time and by combining efforts within TechLaw Crossroads, we hope to broaden the appeal and converasation.
The next roundtable will be at the offices of Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Indianapolis on May 29th. We plan to discuss the following topics:
*Emojis.   How is your firm handling them in discovery?   Tech to identify them correctly?
*Cell phone discovery / Social Media Capturing.  (FRE 902(13) and FRE 902 (14))?
*Best CyberSecurity Practices / ways your firm is protecting itself from bad actors?
*Selling A.I., Analytics, Predictive Coding to your clients…best practices and what’s working?
*Moving client data to cloud—Infrastructure / SAAS…what’s everyone doing?
Of course, Chatham House Rules will apply. Interested? Want an invitation? Contact me at sembry@techlawcrossroads.com or Rich Smith of PageOne at rsmith@pageonelegal.com
We look forward to your thoughts and ideas!

Not long ago, I climbed on my soapbox about the lack of diversity among speakers at a recent technology conference I attended. Here’s the picture that prompted that post.

 

At the risk of revisiting this, I have had three recent experiences that brought to mind related issues of women, how men treat and view them and more particularly what the legal profession is or should be doing about our embarrassing women and diversity problem. Continue Reading A ManPic Worth a Thousand Words: Women and Law

Yesterday, the AmLaw 100 Annual Financial Survey came out, and it offers an interesting picture of where the bigs are and perhaps where the industry is going.

I also listened to an ALM webinar yesterday in which there was a fascinating discussion about the findings among Nick Bruch, am ALM analyst, Dan Packel, an ALM reporter and Gina Passarella, Editor-in-Chief of The American Lawyer. One of the big topics of discussion by the panel: what happens if and when there is a recession.

Here are some takeaways from the data and the discussion and then some of my predictions. Continue Reading The AmLaw 100 Annual Financials: A Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

A couple of years ago, I decided to go bare ass screenless for one day a week in efforts to get away from social media, emails, text message and visual noise pollution.

I thought about my decision and its impact recently as I was listening to Nicole Abboud’s podcast episode about her 30-day detox (as she calls it) from social media. I’m a big fan of Abboud’s Gen Y Lawyer Podcast even though I’m a bit removed from Gen Y at least chronologically. Abboud’s podcasts are always thought-provoking and stimulating no matter your age or status in life. Continue Reading I Go Bare Ass ScreenLess…For A Day

It’s funny the lessons diversity can teach you about blind spots. About your unconscious bias. Even when you don’t know you have them.

Yesterday, I posted an article on a tech conference I attended where there were no women speakers and where I thought there was a lack of persons of color presenters. I included a picture of a panel which I thought demonstrated this point. Except it didn’t.

Unquestionably, there were no women on the panel or presenting at the conference. But shortly after posting, one of my Asian friends pointed out that there was indeed an Asian American on the panel. Second from the right. Continue Reading I Stand Corrected: A Lesson In Unconscious Bias

“The future of AI is being built by a relatively few like-minded people within small insulated groups”
Amy Webb, The Big Nine.

Today I attended the a conference called SAS Analytics Day: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Symposium at University of Louisville. (Or as explained below, I attend part of the Conferance). This was a technical conferance for the most part; I grasped maybe 10% of what was discussed but I thought it would be worth the effort. Continue Reading What’s Wrong With This Picture?