Counsel to Counsel is a periodic podcast produced by Stephen Seckler of Seckler Attorney Coaching (www.counseltocounsel.com). It addresses important career, marketing, and leadership issues facing attorneys. The target audience is associates, counsel and partners at law firms of all sizes; but the podcast also addresses issues that are relevant to in-house counsel, law students or any lawyer who is looking for career insights inside or outside of the law.
Counsel to Counsel is aimed at individual lawyers who are looking to increase their own career satisfaction and build their marketing and leadership skills. The podcast features interviews with leading consultants, career professionals and marketing experts who advise attorneys on careers, marketing, law firm management and related issues. The guests are also a roster of successful attorneys who have found career satisfaction inside and outside the law.
Counsel to Counsel is a direct outgrowth of the blog Counsel to Counsel which Stephen Seckler has been publishing since 2005.
Since graduating from law school in the late 1980s, Stephen Seckler has been advising lawyers on career and marketing issues and working with a broad mix of law firms and corporate law departments. He began blogging when legal blogging was in its infancy and his blog Counsel to Counsel was named to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 in 2007 and 2008 (the first two years that list was in existence).
Steve has written extensively on career and marketing issues and he has spoken at many law school, law firm and bar association events. He served on the Boston Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Work Life Balance and was Vice Chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He is active in the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, the ProVisors business network, and has been quoted frequently in the legal and business press.
For the Sake of Your Mental Health, Stop Thinking (and Acting) Like a Lawyer
As attorneys, we share many qualities that make us effective in representing our clients. Our skepticism, aversion to risk, sense of urgency, competitiveness, and pessimism, can all be good for out clients.
But when it comes to building a practice, advancing our careers, or taking on leadership roles, we are more effective when we remove our lawyering hats.
As it turns out, these qualities can also have a pernicious effect on our mental health.
In this episode of Counsel to Counsel, I share my thoughts on why it is important to stop thinking and acting like a lawyer in social situations.
Stop Thinking (and Acting) Like a Lawyer–unless you are giving legal advice! Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Massachusetts- free and confidential mental health and substance abuse services for attorneys (check your state bar for similar resources in other states) Episode 70-Shailini George on Doing Well and Being Well in the Law
John Buckley on Building Your Executive Presence
It is axiomatic that if you want to have a successful legal career, you need to learn your craft. Most areas of legal practice require highly refined analytical abilities coupled with good judgment. For the most part, the first developmental task of any new lawyer is to learn how to practice law.
But if you want to advance in your career, you need to be more than a good technician. Demonstrating executive presence is also key.
In this episode, I am pleased to introduce John Buckley, Board Secretary and General Counsel for the North Carolina operations of a multinational mobility infrastructure company. John talks about how building your executive presence is critical to advancing your career, especially if you want to want to take on leadership responsibilities.
In a great conversation, John discusses what executive presence is, who needs it, and what it looks like. He offers his practical tips on how increase your own executive presence.
Over the summer, I heard John give a great presentation on this topic for the American Bar Association and I decided I had to have him on the show. Lucky for me, he accepted my invitation right away.
John Buckley has served 3 times as the first in-house counsel for start-ups. He has 15 years of solo/small law department General Counsel experience. He began his professional life as an engineer for Duke Power.
Ted Lasso (🍎TV+) and Lessons in Leadership and Performance 15 Tips for Leadership Success Episode 118-Paths to Partnership in 2023 and Beyond-With Laura Terrell Episode 103-Ben Sachs on Building High-Performance Legal Teams Episode 87-The Advancement of Women in Law with Elise Holtzman Episode 80-Leadership for Lawyers-Moving Up in Your Law Firm or Corporate Law Department
Scaling Your Law Firm with AI
Artificial Intelligence continues to be a big unknown in the legal space. It holds tremendous promise for streamlining the delivery of legal services and is already being deployed to expedite discovery, to help draft contracts, to assist with client intake, and to streamline many other functions that once required a lot more human labor.
AI is now being used by some lawyers to help assess the strength of their cases, to expedite legal research, and to draft pleadings.
I know that I myself am using ChatGPT to help me prepare for presentations, craft social media posts, and to get quickly up to speed on an array of subjects that are of interest to my clients.
At the same time, the use of AI raises legitimate ethical concerns. It also raises concerns about the need for so many lawyers.
But according to my guest, Hamid Kohan, AI won’t replace lawyers. It will replace lawyers and other professionals who don’t use AI.
Hamid Kohan is a serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and author of the book How to Scale Your Stupid AI Law Firm.
Hamid started his career in silicon valley where he served as Director of Business Development of Sun Microsystems, working alongside Eric Schmidt who is today the CEO of Google and Carol Bartz the CEO of Yahoo.
More recently, Hamid saw an opportunity to bring his expertise in technology and business development to the legal world, and he founded Legal Soft Inc. in 2016.
In this episode, Hamid will answer some questions about where we are in 2023 with the use of AI in the practice of law.
Episode 107-ChatGPT and Trends in Legal Marketing Technology-with Jared Correia
From Law Firm Associate to In-House Operations-With Shawn Hoyt
In the past year, I’ve done a number of interviews with lawyers who have transitioned from the traditional practice of law into other corporate or consulting roles. In this episode, I speak with Shawn Hoyt about how to transition into an operations role in a corporate environment.
Shawn is someone who has thought a lot about managing his own career and he has a unique perspective on career advancement.
Shawn Hoyt is a Vice President at OutSystems. He began his legal career as a corporate associate at a large law firm. In 1999, I actually recruited him to his first in-house legal job. Over time, his responsibilities expanded way beyond legal.
Shawn brings an unusual perspective on how to get more from your legal career and how to transition into much broader roles.
Shawn is a senior legal and operational executive who has led a broad range of teams through periods of both rapid growth and transition. He has deep functional experience running commercial, Deal Desk, pricing, proposal/RFP, contracting, deal operations, vendor management, and legal teams.
But he has also managed People, Talent Acquisition, Office Operations, IT, Security, Finance, and Leadership operations through periods of transition.
· Episode 114-From Biglaw to In-house to Business Role and Back Again with Carl Berglind
· Episode 113-From Litigation to Trial Consulting with Marc Diller
Episode 112-From Corporate Counsel to Management Consultant-Leveraging Your Legal Career with David Lesser
Paths to Partnership in 2023 and Beyond-With Laura Terrell
Achieving partnership was once the goal of most law firm associates. The rules were relatively simple. Work hard, do a good job, and after several years, get rewarded by being elevated.
Today the law firms are more complex. Many associates entering the practice of law do not aspire to become partners, at least not at the first firm they join.
And at many firms, there are different paths to success which don’t include equity partnership.
So, how should a young associate navigate these new realities?
What is the path to partnership in the 2020s and what are other ways to define success in private practice. How do you get there? What is the impact of hybrid work arrangements on career advancement and professional development?
My guest Laura Terrell has some answers.
Laura Terrell is an executive coach with over 25 years of professional experience as a legal and business leader. Prior to launching her coaching practice, Laura was a Special Assistant to the President at the White House, a senior level appointee at the US Department of Justice, an equity partner in two large global law firms, and in-house counsel at a major global consulting and business advisory firm.
Laura has led and managed teams of hundreds of people across multiple countries and has been a top advisor for many Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies. Her clients come from a wide variety of industries, including law, education, financial services, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, non-profit, health care, and technology.
Some of them are senior corporate executives like CEOs and general counsels; others are lawyers and consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, as well as professionals who may be returning to the workforce, making a pivot to a new career, or switching roles mid-career.
Laura is my favorite kind of guest because she has such a broad perspective on the legal industry and has experienced legal careers from all sides.
Episode 80-Leadership for Lawyers-Moving Up in Your Law Firm or Corporate Law Department Episode 73-Managing and Advancing Your Law Firm Career
Nailing the Job Interview-A View From Both Sides of the Table with Amy Katz and Nancy Reiner
Job interviews can cause a lot of stress. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that this is true whether you are the candidate or the interviewer.
The stakes can feel high. Both sides are trying to assess whether they are right for each other. The candidate may be imagining that they are interviewing for their dream job. They may be worried about the competition.
The interviewer may have a desperate need to fill a role and there are few candidates with the right mix of skills and personality. Or worse, they made a bad hire and they are now trying to fix the problem.
But just like dating, neither side will really know what it is like to be married until they are actually living together.
So what are some ways that candidates and employers can prepare for a good interview? What can candidates and interviewers do to make themselves more attractive to each other? How can candidates and employers get the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to extend an offer or accept an offer?
In this episode, I have invited two seasoned recruiters who share their collective wisdom.
Both are members of the in-house legal recruiting team at the search firm Major Lindsey and Africa.
Amy Katz is a returning guest on Counsel to Counsel. Amy recently rejoined the team at Major Lindsey after spending a year recruiting in-house for her old employer Outside GC. I last spoke to Amy about her journey from big law to in-house to OutsideGC, and finally into recruiting.
Amy’s career experience includes over 25 years as a practicing employment attorney. Prior to joining MLA the first time, Amy was a Member at Outside GC, advising employers on a wide range of employment law matters, conducting workplace and academic investigations, and designing and delivering compliance training. Before that, she served as senior employment counsel for Genzyme Corporation.
Today, she focuses on recruiting general counsel and other in-house attorneys in a wide range of industries, most notably life sciences and technology.
My second guest is Amy’s colleague, Nancy Reiner who spent over 20 years in private practice including stints at two major firms. She last served as a partner at Brown Rudnick where she worked on business, environmental and public interest litigation.
Nancy has been in the legal search business since 2008.
Today she is the leader of the Boston In-House Counsel Recruiting team for MLA where she focuses on placement of general counsel and other in-house counsel for public companies and private businesses, major global corporations and disruptive start-ups, hospital and other healthcare systems, and colleges and universities.
Nancy has placed close to 100 senior-level leaders in corporate legal departments throughout New England and across the country.
Tips for a Successful Job Interview-Live and Virtual
Episode 5-Nailing the Job Interview Episode 91-Transitioning Your Legal Career to In-house and Beyond With Amy Katz
Steve is a terrific host and conversationalist - you learn about the ups and downs of being a lawyer, and from a great array of guests. I enjoy listening!
Stephen is an awesome host who shares valuable insights, a must listen!