Nov 13

Join in an 8-session series, “Managing Your Work Search Process,” starting on December 3, 2013, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Massachusetts Bar Association, 20 West Street, Boston.  This series is designed for lawyers between jobs, dealing with a layoff, or seeking a first legal job, in a challenging legal marketplace.

Register here: http://www.massbar.org/cle/cle-programs?p=3317

You will learn strategies to help you optimize your professional strengths. Topics include tips on networking and informational interviews, improving your marketability, how to utilize social media and resume and cover letter writing samples. The eight seminars will include:

  • Getting Started: Identification of Skills, Experience and Professional Interests
  • Launching Your Search
  • Strategic Outreach: Developing a Personal Connection
  • Strategic Outreach: Managing the Networking Process
  • Personal Presentation: Interviewing Skills
  • Mental Self-Management: Staying Positive and Proactive
  • Finding a Satisfying Legal Position When Most of Them Are Not Advertised (Small Law Firms Offer Big Options)
  •  Moving Forward: Making the Most of What Is

Dasha Tcherniakovskaia, program chair, is getting her master’s degree in mental health counseling at Lesley University. She is changing careers after devoting 10+ years to corporate law.  She has worked as a paralegal at a major financial institution and an associate at a large Boston law firm.

Massachusetts Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section is the Sponsoring Section.

Register here: http://www.massbar.org/cle/cle-programs?p=3317

The group will meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month, ending March 18,2014


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May 31

On the heels of our recently well-received collaborative groups with LOMAP (Gettings Things Done and Your Practice is Your Business), and in anticipation of the next such group starting late fall, LCL is offering a 6-session discussion group to provide peer-to-peer input and encouragement in putting new knowledge into action.  We will revisit topics previously covered in a more didactic way, including goal setting, marketing, getting paid, overcoming procrastination, maintaining a sane schedule to balance professional and personal life, and managing relationships with clients.  Specific content will derive from whatever topics are brought in by participants.  Handouts from past groups will be available.

LCL psychologist Dr. Jeff Fortgang will facilitate this group, which will meet on the following Fridays at 12:30 pm:  June 28, July 26, August 9, August 23, September 6, and September 20.  You must be pre-registered for this group.  Contact Dr. Fortgang at DrJeff@LCLMA.org or at (617) 482-9600.

May 23

On May 16, LCL and its members/volunteers and guests enjoyed the Ninth Annual James A. Brink Fellowship Dinner  at the Back Bay Harvard Club.  Among such annual banquets, this dinner is a unique one, in that it is partly an occasion for recognition and celebration (of the program’s accomplishments and of individuals who have given of themselves in special ways) and at the same time an opportunity for recovery-oriented inspiration, not only by way of peer camaraderie among lawyers but also courtesy of a guest speaker who shares his or her own story of recovery.

After LCL President Jeanne Demers opened the proceedings (as we all enjoyed a rather well prepared meal), Board Chairman Mike Fredrickson, in his inimitable style, bestowed this year’s Volunteer Aware on Richard Soden, who has devoted so much energy not only to LCL but to lawyer assistance programs on a national level.  Executive Director Rodney Dowell provided a rousing summary of LCL’s work over the past year (including the addition of several new LCL Support Groups around the Commonwealth) and its current projects.  Introduced by LCL Clinician Barbara Bowe, guest speaker Michael H shared his fascinating and moving recovery story, leaving those of us in attendance with a sense of gratitude as we capped this fine evening and took our first steps into LCL’s year to come.

Mar 18

It meets on Wednesday from 7:30 Am to 8:15Am, at 1585 Mass Ave, Wasserstein 3007.

(It’s three blocks from the Harvard  Square T-stop (take the Church Street exit, cross Church Street and go North. An MBTA bus, 77, stops outside the front door, the Everett Street stop going North, the Chauncy Street stop going south.)

Contact: Lottie 617-482-9600

Feb 21

Volvo is, of course, the car to have if you truly care about safety.  But Mercedes means you have style and deserve luxury, and BMW means you’re oh so exacting about the machinery you drive.

Progressive Insurance is the one that provides warm, friendly help (from Flo) while AllState is the reliable authoritative father figure of insurance (Dennis Haysbert) and GEICO is the cute insurance (gecko).

So, what’s your brand as a lawyer?  Why would a consumer choose to engage your services rather that someone else’s?

These are among the questions and issues to be faced by solo and small firm practitioners in the upcoming group “Your Law Firm is Your Business: Managing Your Solo Practice.”  It’s a free 6-session series starting soonclick here for more info!

Feb 13

The  Cape Cod meeting will be held on alternate Wednesdays, commencing on:
February 27, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at:
Conference Room
275 Millway, Barnstable, MA 02630

A light lunch will be served. Please let us know if you are planning to attend, so that we can plan the food accordingly.
For additional information, or to confirm attendance please contact:
Margo 617-921-3360
Larry 508-375-9180

Feb 11

When Ray Stevens’ so-titled hit was playing in 1968, offering its biting commentary on the plight of the business person, you never thought it applied to you.  Well, to be more accurate, most of you had not yet been born, but I remember it well.  Anyhow, when you were immersed in your law school curriculum, motivated perhaps by a love of the law, or a desire to do good, or to be a professional without having to take organic chemistry, you may never have pictured yourself worrying about budgeting, marketing, branding (unless you planned to represent ranchers), or networking.

But now you find yourself in a solo or small firm practice, and you discover that mere legal excellence, work ethic, and good intentions do not bring in the clients or pay the bills, at least not to the extent you would like.  With or without reluctance, you must face the fact that the lawyer who runs a present-day practice is running a business.  What’s a person to do?

Funny you should ask.  The same LOMAP-LCL partnership that brought the recent “Getting Things Done” group series to interested solo and small firm practitioners is now gearing up to present, Your Law Firm is Your Business:  Managing Your Solo Practice.  Like the previous series, this one will consist of 6 sessions meeting every other Friday at lunch time (12:30 pm to 2:00 pm), starting (beware) on March 15.  For more information, click here.

Jeff Fortgang, PhD

Jan 04

Getting the Job (of Finding a Job) Done (Part 6)

How refreshing it is to hear someone hit a hopeful note, especially at this time of year. At our 6th session of the Managing Your Work Search series, guest speaker Jim Toms, HR Director at Sullivan & Worcester, offered some welcome encouragement in the form of growing legal job opportunities. A survey of the various job posting sites suggested that there were currently 1500 legal job openings in Massachusetts. Although a quick review could not easily assign percentages to full-time vs. part-time, professional vs. paraprofessional, public vs. private, or identify legal specialty, the number was nevertheless heartening. In fielding questions put to him by participants seeking advice in the search and the interview process, Mr. Toms underscored the universal theme of the importance of networking in the job search process. “Simply submitting a resume and cover letter will never get you on the interview list,” said Mr. Toms. He encouraged participants to take advantage of the fact that most people are more than willing to meet you for coffee or lunch for an informational interview, and to follow up with periodic updates to keep yourself fresh in their minds. You just never know where you might find the winning lead, right combination of contacts, or tip of the scales in your favor, but probabilities serve the active networker. Beyond making and maintaining contacts, networking helps jobseekers to clarify their objectives, hone their interview skills, increase their knowledge of the current job market, and in general, become more interesting candidates.
Nancy L Brown, LICSW

Oct 31

Understatement: involuntary unemployment can cast a pall over things. Even if a sense of relief accompanied the loss of a job that had felt like a daily root canal, confronting a dried up revenue stream and a wilted economy is no walk in the park either. The bills find your mailbox, the refrigerator needs reloading, and the hard work of job-hunting is not cost-free. It is a time when one’s sense of control over one’s life takes a major hit; if you don’t at times feel really stressed, check your pulse.
When caught in the throes of high-stress, high-anxiety events such as unemployment, our thoughts can become our enemies; fear, self-doubt, worry, despair, and anger can get the upper hand. Although it’s necessary to embrace the realities of one’s situation, managing one’s thoughts to stay positive and proactive becomes essential. Hence, the relevance of the fourth meeting of the Managing Your Work Search series: Mental Self-management, or how to make that reciprocal relationship between thought and emotional state work for you, and not against you.
As anyone who’s tried to keep their thoughts on a positive track during hard times can tell you, it’s not easy; mental patterns are as resistant to change as any other habit, but staying positive keeps the energy and creative juices flowing. It can and is being done by increasing numbers of people through the practice of mindfulness meditation, one of the most effective ways to take charge of your mind. The field of mindfulness has gained great traction of late, its benefits extensively researched, measured and documented by neuroscientific, medical, and psychiatric researchers, with books abounding on the subject.
Given the many emotional (reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety, enhances well-being and calmness), mental (improves memory, mental clarity, productivity, decision-making, perspective, creativity, intuition, insight), and physical (strengthens the immune system, reduces blood pressure, may help reduce cholesterol) benefits, it is no wonder that the use of mindfulness is promoted in medicine, mental health, the professions (e.g., Google “mindfulness and lawyers”), business, education, the military, and even corrections.
Mindfulness is a very simple (but not easy) practice of intentional mental and physical stillness that will begin to produce these self-reinforcing benefits within the first week of daily practice. And you will likely find that it supports other valuable disciplines of self-care, e.g., good nutrition, adequate exercise, volunteer work, social contacts, and the enjoyment of nature, music or other favorite leisure activities.
It’s hard to argue with any activity that offers so many payoffs, although some take issue with its “religious” origins. Various forms of contemplation and meditation did, in fact, originate in the context of religious practice. While it is not religious, per se, it is spiritual in that it offers personal foundational support (Talbot & Love call it spiritual development) that involves:
(1) an internal process of seeking personal authenticity, genuineness, and wholeness as an aspect of identity development;
(2) the process of continually transcending one’s current locus of centricity;
(3) developing a greater connectedness to self and others through relationships and union with community;
(4) deriving meaning, purpose, and direction in one’s life;
(5) an increasing openness to exploring a relationship with an intangible and pervasive power or essence that exists beyond human knowing. (See Talbot & Love, Defining Spiritual Development, 1999, NASPA Journal, pp. 364-367.)
The use of mindfulness meditation helps you remember that your life doesn’t end when the paychecks stop. It changes. And when you roll with it, staying mentally strong, committed, positive, and determined, you will ultimately create the best possible outcome.
Nancy Brown, LICSW

Oct 24

Getting the Job (of finding a job) Done (Part 3)

Our most recent speaker, Phil Segaloff, Esq. at the LCL, Inc./MBA “Managing Your Work Search”, session three, held the group in rapt attention as he spoke about how to successfully network during your job search to not only find job opportunities, but also to become more aware of one’s skills and desires, and thus target appropriate employment opportunities.
The most important job hunting activity, by far, is networking – or to spin it more elegantly, “strategic outreach.” This is one of those activities that powerfully evoke the urge to procrastinate. Drawing from his own experience when a lay-off landed him “between jobs” nearly 4 years ago, Phil Segaloff, Esq., now happily employed in-house as an Associate General Counsel, could identify with the struggle to leave a comfy warm house in the depths of winter to meet a total stranger for an “informational interview.” And he could speak to the angst of those initial meetings where he felt anxious, awkward, and inarticulate.
In the course of those countless interviews, however, he became increasingly clear about what he wanted, what he had to offer, and how he would be of value to a prospective employer. He quickly improved his interactive skills to the point that he actually enjoyed those encounters, all the while, acquiring new information, building his professional network, clarifying the area of legal interest he would pursue, and preparing himself to speak knowledgeably, cogently, and confidently at interview time.
Familiar as he was with that understandable fear of “imposing” on a busy lawyer when requesting an interview, he urged group members to recall that most folks are gratified by the opportunity to help another person, enjoy the chance to talk about themselves and their experience, and usually welcome that time-out for a coffee break that you are offering them.
In order to capitalize on the contacts he made, Phil mastered the art and science of recording (on Excel) and tracking everyone he met, noting the date of each contact, company/firm, position, contact information, additional networking contacts offered by that person, and useful personal data. By doing so, he followed up at reasonable intervals, updating that individual on his recent activities, and again expressing his appreciation for their interest.
No, it didn’t happen overnight. It was an on-going one-foot-in-front-of-the-other effort. Not everyone will find, as Phil did, the ultimate payoff of a “perfect fit” job that was conveniently situated at the end of a painless 10-minute commute, but it is certainly reasonable to hope for a position that is a distinct improvement over the status quo.
(If you are interested in participating in the next Managing Your Work Search series, please watch at this site or at www.MassBar.org for start date and registration information.)
Nancy L. Brown, LICSW

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