Working from home without any separation between actual work and home is not easy for many of us.

Before March of this year, I had never really worked from home. Now it’s my every day life.

I just moved into a bigger apartment so that I could have a dedicated office space since this will be my new normal for the foreseeable future.

I share my home with a rambunctious and quite high-maintenance French bulldog puppy, which is not so easy all the time when she wants to play and I’m trying to work and host meetings. I know a lot of you are managing working from home while having kids who are at home and attending school remotely, which is incredibly challenging.

To a certain degree, everyone is in the same boat, but each of our situations is unique. Have compassion, understanding and empathy for others – your colleagues, friends and family and most importantly yourself.

Self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges, but along with them lies opportunities for new perspectives and positive habits.

I personally never thought I would like working from home – and although I miss seeing people every day and getting dressed for work, I know I’m more efficient at home due to less distractions and the absence of a commute.

Here are a few tips on how to leave your work at work when working from home. 

  1. Shower and get dressed for the day. I am not suggesting that you put on full work clothes like we used to wear BP (before pandemic). I personally have not worn real business attire since March 16 myself and my heels are wondering what happening to me (I’m not sure I even remember how to walk in heels to be honest). It’s important to be comfortable (Target leggings are my go-to) while always looking professional. I put on a bit of makeup and do my hair if I know I will be on a videoconference. It also gives me a pick me up and helps me feel more like myself.
  2. Visualize the day. Spend a little time early in the morning thinking about your day and planning it out. To the greatest extent possible, focus on important (not urgent) projects first and avoid distractions – research shows that most people are more alert and productive in the morning versus afternoon. Know that your day will likely get highjacked at least for a time because things pop up. Just go with the flow – the job market is tight and it’s nearly bonus time at most firms.
  3. Create a dedicated and inviting workspace. Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room—in my apartment, it’s a corner—but it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible. Try to make your workspace as comfortable as you can with a chair you can sit in for eight hours a day (I got mine from Wayfair) and a few decorations and framed photos of the people you love. Find an area with good natural lighting too.
  4. Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time, such as at the beginning of the week or workday. This prevents you from working to the point of hunger and then scrambling to decide what to eat. You should also avoid eating at your workstation.
  5. Take occasional breaks outside. Incorporate more exercise into your daily routine and make a point to get outside if you can. I have a dog so it’s easy for me to take her out for walks. If you don’t have a pet, get some fresh air at some point during the day.
  6. In addition to making sure your work gets done, take care of your physical and mental well-being during this stressful time. Try yoga or meditation. I got a Peloton bike. Maybe you like running – whatever it is just keep moving.
  7. Create a daily ritual to mark the end of professional time – I write a to-do list for the next day and tidy up my desk area. It feels great to start the next day with an organized workspace and when I write that list of to-do items, I’m reminded of exactly what needs to be done.
  8. Taking the to-do list one step further, write out either on paper or digitally – whatever you prefer – all the tasks you need to accomplish, ideally in order of importance.
  9. Finish one small but important task before you stop working for the day.
  10. Start your personal time after work on a positive note – for me, it’s walking my puppy and then making dinner – two things that make me incredibly happy.

Working from home during this time may not be what any of us planned but we can make the most of it.

Remember to be kind to yourself and your colleagues as we all continue to adjust to this new normal.

Have faith in your ability to adapt and find the sweet spot in your work-life balance.

It’s not always easy to be happy even if you are by nature a happy person like I am, especially as the pandemic and our new normal of social distancing continues into the fall months.

Here are some things you can do to find more happiness in your everyday life despite what’s going on in the world.

  1. Do more kind acts for those you care about 
  2. Give back to your community (you can do this virtually)
  3. Eat well
  4. Go to bed earlier and stick to a regular sleep schedule
  5. Exercise
  6. Try meditation or yoga
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff
  8. Cross things off your to-do list – there is something so satisfying about this simple action (also stop procrastinating – that’s my number one stress trigger and I know many of you also struggle with it)
  9. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
  10. Focus on the things you love and less of those that you don’t
  11. Let go of grudges and be more forgiving of others
  12. Take baby steps toward a big goal or dream of yours
  13. Watch a favorite movie or listen to an album you love
  14. Celebrate the successes of others
  15. Smile more – the simple act of smiling makes you feel happier!
  16. Play with your pet (if you don’t have a pet, borrow one from a friend or family member)
  17. Spend time with friends and family who lift you up

Number 16 is my #1 way to instantly find more happiness. My puppy Lucy brightens up every single day. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is being able to spend so much time with our pets.

What else would you add to this list that brings you happiness?

In the latest installment of Women Who Wow, an ongoing series of women leaders who inspire me, read about Katrina Dewey, the founder of Lawdragon.

I met Katrina many years ago when I worked at Sullivan & Cromwell and she met with us to tell us about her magazine. I was so impressed with her business acumen and her entrepreneurial skills. It’s been great to see Lawdragon grow over the years and to see how Katrina has paved the way for women in her field. Learn more about Katrina and her career in this profile.

What do you love most about what you do?

Speaking with the most brilliant legal minds in the country every day, many of whom happen to be women. I’m always inspired by the intelligence, drive, and do-it-all-ness of these rockstar female lawyers.

Tell us about a woman you look up to. 

I’m crazy about so many, but here’s a shortlist. Faith Gay is an absolute powerhouse litigator who took a huge risk starting a new firm, Selendy & Gay. It is majority women-owned, takes on cases against big banks and corporations that other major law firms are conflicted out of and goes to bat for environmental sustainability and LGBTQ rights.

Judge Patricia Brown Holmes of Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila in Chicago is an icon who has made her own path against great odds through extraordinary determination. She is the first minority female name partner of a major law firm and exemplifies the very best in lawyering and as a person.

Judy Livingston always comes to my mind, as she should to anyone discussing women in the legal profession. She is a remarkable plaintiff lawyer at Kramer Dillof in New York, and has won hundreds of millions of dollars for individuals badly injured by medical malpractice, including birth injuries. She was the first woman admitted to the very exclusive 100-member Inner Circle and inspires me with the barriers she’s broken in the classiest way.

Sandra Goldstein is the epitome of the power player, having headed litigation at Cravath and now building Kirkland’s New York office. She leads billions of dollars in litigation and is totally top of her game in every way.

I’m forever fascinated by Cheryl Bormann, the Chicago-based capital defense lawyer who helped end the death penalty in Illinois. She has been representing one of the five Sept. 11 defendants at Guantanamo Bay since 2011.

Please let me name drop just a few more – as we need all the inspiration we can get: Donna Wilson leads Manatt (while her partner Linda Kornfeld manages a staggering insurance coverage practice at Blank Rome); Kelley Cornish of Paul Weiss has quietly been breaking barriers for years in law practice and the bankruptcy bar; Damaris Hernández of Cravath shows you can do anything you put your mind to; Debra Wong Yang of Gibson Dunn shows the power of political savvy paired with legal mastery; Lexie White, Kalpana Srinivasan and Erica Harris (and all the women at Susman Godfrey) put the lie to the narrative that there aren’t powerful women trial lawyers. You just have to know where to look!

How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?

When I entered the world of legal journalism, both law and legal journalism were male dominated, to put it mildly. I worked for one lawyer who connived to keep me in the office late at night with him, and another who was the hiring partner and gabbed with other male lawyers about hiring women based on the size of their “feet.” My mentor in legal journalism required mild flirtation, but he also imparted the knowledge of journalism and storytelling that no sexism could take away. Knowledge and skills are power.

I established the first legal newsroom whose top editors were majority female. Since founding Lawdragon 15 years ago, we have made it a core mission to find and tell the stories of women and minority lawyers whose voices are relegated to ‘women’ or ‘minority’ special sections by most legal journalism or rankings. Lawdragon publishes the only recognition ‘list’ that is consistently one-third female on the merits up against the best male talent, and not as a pink subdivision. Our recent guide to top family lawyers was majority female.

We all know how important representation is. The more visible female lawyers are, the more young women and girls will think, I can be a lawyer too. It’s been an absolute honor to play our small part in helping female lawyers take the spotlight, and a thrill to watch as the gender imbalance in this profession slowly – but make no mistake forever – corrects itself.

In a world where nothing has seemed normal since March, last night I felt normal.

I was a loyal Flywheel rider for many years but it unfortunately couldn’t survive the pandemic, which has sadly happened to many group fitness businesses.

The entire fitness industry has been turned upside down as a result of COVID-19 – an example of how the pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives right down to our exercise routines.

I tried Comeback Cycle last night – socially distant spinning outside on a rooftop in midtown Manhattan with breathtaking views – started by two of the very best spin instructors in the world (and dear friends of mine) Alison Cohen and Natalie Cohen Gould. I am so proud of and thankful to them for getting this venture up and running so quickly. They were among the very first and last employees at Flywheel Sports.

We wear masks the entire time except when we’re on our bikes (some riders wore masks while they rode – it’s rider preference). Every single piece of equipment is sanitized between classes by staff members who used to work with Alison and Natalie at Flywheel and bikes are spaced at least six far apart. Riders are able to clean their bikes again if they would like to with antibacterial wipes that are readily available.

Alison is by far the hardest spin instructor I’ve ever taken, but in a great way. Her music is always fun and upbeat, and I’ve never burned more calories in any workout class than I have with her. If you like third position on the spin bike and lots of races, Alison is for you.

Natalie is also incredibly challenging with killer playlists and unique, fun theme rides (think Fleetwood Mac Dreams album, breakup rides, greatest movie songs, 80s themes and so much more).

In addition to teaching themselves and running the business, they have been adding several other former favorite Flywheel spin instructors to the schedule, including Mario Martinez, Alex Joy Pucci and Marc Daigle. Barre classes are also being added with some of Flywheel’s favorite barre instructors, including Chase Willman.

Although I have a Peloton bike at home and regularly do Zoom barre and yoga classes, there is nothing like the energy of an in-person group fitness class and riding with friends, which I have missed so much over the past seven months. If you’ve been craving that as well, check out these classes.

Working out regularly makes me happier in general and more grounded. Especially during the quarantine. It’s incredibly great for the mind, body and obviously my overall health.

We use silent disco headphones in all the classes, because we are outside on a rooftop.

It’s never too late to start incorporating high intensity interval training such as spinning into your exercise routine. I started doing it in my late 30s. It’s not easy, but it works and it makes you much more efficient about how you work out because it’s so effective. As a result, I’m in the best shape I’ve probably ever been in now.

Inventive and safe classes like this are popping up all over the country – I encourage you to try one if you feel comfortable and you are healthy. I know it’s so easy to come up with reasons not to do this and to let your anxiety about the pandemic get the better of you. Obviously do what feels right for you and consult your doctor if you have any questions.

For anyone who is doubting the strength and resourcefulness of New York City, don’t. This city will bounce back because its people are resilient and creative with novel ideas like this. We are “New York Tough” as our governor likes to say, and we are at a major inflection point in our city.

Come back to spin safely at Comeback Cycle. Discounted class packages are available.

Learn more about Comeback Cycle and book a class.

Follow Comeback Cycle on Instagram.

Why? Having one will better enable you to use your LinkedIn profile as a branding and lead generation tool.

Your default LinkedIn URL is long and full of numbers and other characters, which is not very user friendly or easily shared with your network. The main point of LinkedIn is giving others the ability to quickly and easily find and connect with you.

Having a custom LinkedIn URL also helps with SEO, on major search engines such as Google and Bing. Setting up a custom URL requires turning on your LinkedIn public profile – this is what search engines scan – which helps you to be found organically.

Setting up a custom LinkedIn profile URL is easy to do – if your name is somewhat common, you may need to play around with it a bit to add in your middle initial or an “esq” or “cpa” because LinkedIn has more than 650 million users, many of whom have already set theirs up – here’s how your customized LinkedIn profile URL will look: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname

As LinkedIn notes, you can customize your public profile URL when you change what appears on your public profile. Custom public profile URLs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Members can only have one custom public profile URL at a time.

To change your public profile URL from your desktop:

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View profile.
  3. Click Edit public profile & URL on the right rail.
  4. Under Edit your custom URL in the right rail, click the Edit icon next to your public profile URL.
    • It’ll be an address that looks like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  6. Click Save.

Here’s how to change your public profile URL on your mobile device:

  1. Tap your profile picture.
  2. Scroll to the Contact and Personal Info section and tap the Edit icon.
  3. On the Edit contact info page, tap on your personal Profile URL. You’ll be redirected to the Public profile settings page.
  4. Under the Edit URL section, tap the Edit icon next to your public profile URL.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.

A few things to note:

  • Your custom URL can have 5-30 letters or numbers. Don’t use spaces, symbols or special characters.
  • LinkedIn recommends using a variation of your name and/or your professional brand since you’ll share this URL with people, so they can find your LinkedIn profile. Some job applications may also ask you for your LinkedIn profile URL. It’s a good idea to add it to your resume as well.
  • The customizable part of the URL is case insensitive. This means using JohnSmith, johnsmith, or johnSmith will all point to the same profile.
  • If the URL you want isn’t available, please select a different one. They can’t make custom URLs available to members upon request.
  • You can change your URL up to five times within six months. Once you have changed your URL for the fifth time, you won’t be able to change it for another six months. Changing your URL several times may make it hard for people to find you.

I recommend doing a firmwide analysis of each employee’s LinkedIn URL and then do a training/handout to explain how your employees can customize it themselves. Then have them add it to their email signatures, pitches, business cards, website bios, basically everywhere your face or name appears, your LinkedIn URL should appear as well.

It’s easy to change your custom LinkedIn profile URL – so do it today.

Although it’s been a difficult year for many of us with the pandemic affecting us in many ways both personally and professionally, you don’t have to feel stuck. Use this time productively to set plans into motion for the future and building the life that you want for yourself. 

To help you do that, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned that it’s never to late to..

  1. Start over and pursue a dream
  2. Make amends with anyone
  3. Focus on your professional development
  4. Be kinder to others (and yourself)
  5. Simplify your life
  6. Cut out toxic relationships
  7. Believe in yourself
  8. Move on from past hurts
  9. Create your own version of success
  10. Exercise and take care of yourself
  11. Shift your career entirely
  12. Say yes (or no) more
  13. Break/change your routine
  14. Create and work on your bucket list
  15. Stop comparing yourself to others
  16. Stop believing you don’t deserve happiness
  17. Stop doubting your abilities
  18. Stand up for yourself more

The path to success and happiness for most individuals is not straightforward – it’s filled with twists and turns along the way. Just keep going.

I used to let things happen to me instead of taking control of my life. Now I take control. What makes me an expert in this area? Nothing except I’ve been through a lot over the years as I’m sure many of you have as well. I try to use every challenging experience to help propel me to become a better, wiser, stronger person. I believe there’s a silver lining in everything  

My mentor Wendy says she lives by one rule. “I want to look in the mirror every morning and be proud of the person I am and what I’ve done – without excuses.” I try to apply this to everything I do too. Try it.

I always say that every social media post should have an accompanying and correctly sized image with it (which you can easily create using canva.com).

Here are the updated image specification sizes to use for various LinkedIn pages. Create the image once in Canva and then copy it and resize it.

Everyone on LinkedIn should upload a cover image on their individual profiles and company pages. It shows LinkedIn savvy and it is the norm today.

Happy image creating.

TAB MODULE MINIMUM IMAGE SIZE RECOMMENDED IMAGE SIZE
Page Logo Image 300 (w) x 300 (h) pixels 300 (w) x 300 (h) pixels
Page Cover Image 1192 (w) x 220 (h) pixels 1128 (w) x 191 (h) pixels
Life Main Image 1128 (w) x 376 (h) pixels 1128 (w) x 376 (h) pixels
Life Custom Modules 502 (w) x 282 (h) pixels 502 (w) x 282 (h) pixels
Life Company Photos 264 (w) x 176 (h) pixels 900 (w) x 600 (h) pixels

I’ve never wanted to go to a conference and cocktail party more than I do right now and eat dreadful cubed cheese and drink terrible Chardonnay while making small talk with strangers.

If you’re like me and craving human interaction like that and getting sick of Zooming, this article may give you some inspiration.

I came across some great ideas in this INC article on how to go above and beyond a virtual Zoom happy hour (think trivia, icebreaker games and in-home scavenger hunts) to help keep workers entertained and connected during the pandemic that I wanted to pass along.

I went to a virtual cocktail party where we all brought a cocktail that we made and we shared the recipe ahead of time with the organizer who emailed them all to the attendees – that was a great icebreaker.

What are you doing to stay in touch with your employees? Have you come up with any creative ideas for engaging with co-workers beyond the traditional Zoom happy hour?

 

 

Despite the fact that most in-house counsel do not and will continue not to make their outside counsel hiring decisions based on directory rankings, they are still important as part of the overall mix of public information about law firms and the lawyers who work at them – especially with the power of Google searches. And especially for firms that are not household names.

Even during the pandemic, legal guides are still being conducted and researched because they are forward looking to next year. I know many people are thinking why is this important now with everything else going on – but I do think that it is given that they can serve as useful third-party recognition that can aid with confirmation of referrals, provide valuable content for public relations and branding purposes, assist with recruiting efforts for law students and laterals, and reinforce market position.

In addition, we know that these rankings are important to many lawyers. Does anyone remember the genius “I am the best lawyer” satirical YouTube video? It did a great job of taking a lighthearted jab at the dynamic between lawyers and the marketing staff who are dedicated to getting them ranked in these directories.

Each year I’ve chuckled when I’ve attended the Chambers USA launch breakfast in NYC and spotted numerous partners from the top firms at the event who just couldn’t wait to snag their very own copy of the book to see their rankings firsthand.

Unfortunately, we can’t just give a lawyer a cape, tell them they’re awesome and call it a day.

There’s a lot involved with preparing top-notch directory submissions. In addition, not all directories are created equal or worth our time and effort, despite what certain lawyers may think.

That being said, it’s always nice to be publicly recognized for your accomplishments and work. It’s even better when you are being patted on the back by your actual clients, which is why Chambers and Legal 500 are considered the gold standard of legal guides. But there are other legal guides that are important for niche practice areas to certain firms that should also be part of your awards calendar.

Since working with small and mid-size firms from Big Law, I’ve found the legal guides process to be more challenging because of the stiff competition from large firms and the rigidity of some of the practice categories in the directories.

No matter how strong of a year your firm may have had matter wise and how brilliant your lawyers are, it is not easy to compete with the caliber and quantity of the matters, and the brand name clients of the behemoth firms.

Small and mid-size firms can still rank highly in these guides if they are creative and strategic in how they craft their submissions. It’s crucial to have the right lawyer input, the right client references (meaning actual clients who will speak to the researchers and say the right things!) and most of all – the right matters written in a way that shines a spotlight on your firm and your lawyers.

Given how important these rankings are to many lawyers in the industry, and how they can support branding and business development efforts, let’s learn how to get the best possible results. Here are some “secrets” to elevate your firm’s legal directory rankings.

Secret 1 – Call Me Maybe (No Really)

According to legal guides consultant extraordinaire Laura Mills, one of the most important components of a strong law firm directory submission are the references, and it’s where many firms make mistakes. Laura told me that the greatest emphasis should be on the responsiveness of your references, not the prestige of their job titles.

Your goal is not to impress the legal guides by including senior-level clients – your objective is to find the clients who can best speak to your abilities, who are often those individuals in the trenches. While this may sound like a no-brainer, you should only choose clients who truly like you and will actually take the time to respond to the researcher.

It’s not enough to have achieved a favorable result for a client, you must also have a personal connection with them – these are the individuals who will sing your praises without any shadow of a doubt.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself these questions when choosing this year’s references. (If the answer is no, obviously do not include them.)

  • Will the reference actually respond to the researcher?
  • Does the reference have a deep knowledge of my work?
  • Does the reference truly like me?
  • Are they the kind of person who will give detailed feedback? Will it be good feedback?

Some other key points to consider: Don’t just use last year’s list of references and call it a day. Take the time to carefully review the list and make updates that reflect who can best speak about your work.

Remember that you do not need to include references that correspond with each of the matters that you are submitting but some of your references should be associated with the work included in the submission.

Also, ensure that the contact information of each reference is correct on the spreadsheet that you submit. Remember that the researchers aren’t going to track down your clients’ updated contact information to get in touch with them – that’s your job.

One final point on references: Don’t forget to nicely ask each client that you list if you can use them as a reference before you nominate them to speak on your behalf. Nothing is worse than a scenario where your client receives a call from a researcher months later out of the blue without any context from you.

Even better than giving them a heads up, offer to take your client out to lunch or dinner as a thank you for taking the time out of their busy schedules for providing the reference – who knows, this might even be the catalyst for a new matter!

In short, developing a strong references strategy for the legal guides process may be the single most important thing you do to improve your directory results this year, so dedicate ample time to it.

Secret 2 – Strength is in the Numbers and the Packaging 

If you find that you often run out of space when drafting matter descriptions, consider grouping deals/matters together under common themes.

The benefit of this strategy is twofold. First, you will bolster your submission by demonstrating the robust subspecialties of this particular practice; and second, you will create more space to include additional matters (being sneaky is fun!).

For example, let’s say you have four small/similar healthcare deals; why not package them together with a short introduction, which will enable you to tell a stronger and compelling story about your prowess in this area over the past year.

Secret 3 – Tell a Compelling Story

It’s not enough to list billion dollar deals and Fortune 100 company names in your submission if you don’t have a compelling and articulate story to tell. Simply stating that your firm completed a deal and including the dollar amount will not make your firm stand out from the rest, in fact, it may put the researcher to sleep.

The flipside of that is that you don’t need to write a book and include unnecessary details in your matters either – that can be seen as including filler and overcompensating, leading the researcher to lose interest and miss important details (or again, fall asleep).

PS – If you are all trying to help directory researchers overcome insomnia you are doing a good job! To really wake up researchers and capture their attention, make it easy for them to remember your firm and its work while also being brief.

For each matter, demonstrate what you did for the client that separates you from the competition, and be memorable and creative. Here are some questions to guide you in crafting a paragraph or two to capture the researcher’s attention:

  • Was the matter the first of its kind or novel in some way?
  • What was the specific legal challenge that the lawyers faced and what did they do to solve it?
  • What was significant about the matter?
  • What is the nature of the firm’s relationship with the client? A long-term client? A new client?
  • Did the lawyers devise a legal strategy that was unique?
  • What was the outcome of the matter?
  • What strengths and differentiators can you play up of the firm and the lawyers who worked on the matter?

If you are updating a matter from the prior year’s submission, Laura recommends that you rewrite the first few sentences so that the researcher knows right off the bat that the matter has been updated because, guess what? The researchers have last year’s submission next to them when reviewing the current one! They’re on to you – so don’t think that you can just rearrange a few words and hit send.

Use short, succinct sentences and bullet points that will catch the researcher’s attention. Always aim for brevity and clarity in your writing. Keep “This matter was significant because…” in your head at all times and you will be on the right path. And finally, always have your submission professionally proofread. Careless mistakes make you look careless, period.

Secret 4 – Play by the Rules (and Read the Fine Print)

It is imperative that you always pay attention to deadlines and the time frames for the matters that you can submit – all of these specifics are clearly outlined on the legal guides’ web sites, as well as the number of matters you can submit (for Chambers it is a maximum of 20).

In addition, there are other “rules” such as whether you can use confidential matters or not (just be sure to clearly note them in the submission) and any jurisdictional requirements. Always use their designated spreadsheets/forms and upload them to their site if that is their preferred way of receiving submissions.

Also, don’t upload additional supplementary documents that you think may bolster your submission if they don’t ask for them. You don’t want to be disqualified from the process for something silly like not following the rules, sending unnecessary information or missing a deadline.

Creating a project plan at the very beginning of the process for each submission, as well as a master calendar with each submission date, interview dates and the names and contact information for each researcher, and who is responsible for each part of the submission is one of the smartest things you can do.

In my experience, the most successful submissions that I have seen are those where the communications and business development teams work closely together and are aligned. Neither group can work in silos because the legal directory process is truly a team effort that requires the skill set and institutional knowledge of all of these professionals to achieve the best results.

Secret 5 – Call in the Experts

I mentioned legal guides consultant Laura Mills and here’s why: I was the CMO of an entrepreneurial mid-size firm. Along with the move came a more limited budget and a smaller in-house team, which meant becoming more nimble, resourceful and inventive with just about everything. I immensely relied on key outside business partners.

Having strong relationships with these industry experts was crucial to the success of many of my initiatives such as the legal guides process. Laura worked hand-in-hand with the in-house marketing team at my firm and our lawyers to craft our submissions, functioning as an extension of our marketing team, sharing best practice insights and helping us improve our performance and understanding of the legal guides process.

There are a number of other excellent legal guides consultants in our industry as well who will manage the entire process for you. (I do this too by the way.) My advice here is to call in and lean on the experts for help when you need them especially when your in-house team needs extra support.

Final Thoughts 

You can follow all of these best practices, conduct a ton of due diligence and write the very best submissions in the universe and still not be rewarded with the directory rankings that your firm covets (and deserves), and I know that can be discouraging. With many of these rankings, prepare to be in it for the long haul. There are no quick fixes, so it’s important to manage expectations for yourself and your lawyers, and to remain positive.

It may take a few years to achieve your firm’s desired rankings and of course, nothing is guaranteed, but stay the course.

Focus your time and resources on those categories where you have the best shots instead of those that are truly longshots.

Of course in some cases, you have no choice but to submit in aspirational practices because of reasons outside of your control, but when you do have reasonable practice group chairs, show them which firms and lawyers have made the cut over the past five years and how those firms/individuals stack up against your firm. I suggest waiting until the time is truly right when you will have a strong case for a potential ranking.

Achieving top-tier directory rankings is a multiyear, team effort, so setting reasonable expectations will help to get everyone on the same page.

Try setting an aspirational goal, for example, to be ranked in Chambers, and then work toward that by also submitting to other directories and awards that are more within your firm’s reach. Obtaining those interim wins can  boost morale and set the stage for future successes.

Now let’s put our capes on and get to work!

Although it’s been a difficult year for many of us with the pandemic affecting us personally and professionally, you don’t have to feel stuck in life. Use this time to set plans into motion for the future and building the life that you want for yourself.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned myself that it’s never to late to do as you think about what you want from your life.

It’s never too late to…

Start over

Pursue a dream

Make amends with anyone

Focus on your professional development

Be kinder to others (and yourself)

Simplify your life

Cut out toxic relationships

Believe in yourself

Move on from past hurts

Create your own version of success

Exercise and take care of yourself

Shift your career entirely

Say yes (or no) more

Break/change your routine

Create and work on your bucket list

✅ Stop comparing yourself to others

✅ Stop believing you don’t deserve happiness

✅ Stop doubting your abilities

✅ Stand up for yourself more

Remember, you can achieve anything to which you put your mind. You have to go after and make the time for the things you want.

For example, I went to graduate school at night while working full time. It took me four years to finish and I was exhausted all the time, but I’m so glad I did it. I also started my own business after many years of people telling me that this is what I was destined to do. And despite the fact that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, it thankfully has been going pretty well.

Perhaps the most important thing I did was to finally set in motion leaving a long-term relationship with a controlling, selfish significant other who did not want the same things from life that I did and who tried to change me into his narrow idea of the perfect partner. I learned the hard way that ignoring red flags in the beginning is a huge mistake. Starting over again was difficult, but staying with someone who didn’t value or cherish me, or share the same values as me, was much worse. 

Every challenge and setback really does make you stronger. You are more resilient than you think. You have the right to be happy. You can do anything you put your mind to. And you certainly can change your mind about what you want along the way.

The path to success and happiness for most individuals is not straightforward – it’s filled with twists and turns along the way.  Just keep going. Trust the process. You will never have to force or fight for what’s meant for you.

My mentor says she lives by one rule. “I want to look in the mirror every morning and be proud of the person I am and what I’ve done – without excuses.” I apply this to everything I do too. Try it and let me know what you think.  

Here’s to the future.