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2017 Summer Conference Agenda

Our 2017 Summer Conference agenda is available! Please note that the details below are subject to change. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

7:30 am - PDC Walk led by Burt Lipshie 

8:30 am - Registration Opens

9:00 am - First Time Attendee/New Member Welcome Reception

10:15 am - Opening Remarks

10:30 am - A Jazz Lens: Lessons in Communication, Collaboration and Teamwork from the Swinging World of Jazz
Presented by Jackie Cranford, Crandford Advisory Services LLC and Gregory Thomas, G&J Productions

In jazz, leadership is shared as a group grows and communicates via swinging collaboration. Even when a jazz ensemble has a defined leader, each musician or instrumental section contributes through improvisation, grounded in rules allowing for freedom within form. The result is beautiful music. Similarly, successful law firms rely on high performing individuals, working in collaborative rhythm with others within the firm to provide excellent client service. Analyzing the agile approach of jazz ensembles, we will explore ways that your law firms can promote environments in which diverse individuals contribute their extraordinary talents, producing excellent teamwork.

12:00 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm - Concurrent Sessions

Session A: We Hear You Want Practice Ready Attorneys, but are You Ready to Help Law Schools Put That into Practice?
Presented by Debbie Atlas, University of Indiana Maurer School of Law, Rachel Dawson, University of Indiana Maurer School of Law, Amy Hancock, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP, and Alex Albright, Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend LLP

We are now approaching 10 years post-recession and the dramatic change to the legal industry. The fact that clients now more than ever reject paying to “train new attorneys” has become crystallized. Employers had to take on more formal training or internalize the costs of the informal training new attorneys obtained by working directly on client matters. The calls to the law schools to produce more “practice ready” attorneys have not abated. The complaints are constant. But can we even agree on what it means to be “practice ready?” Can legal educators and legal employers come to consensus on what skills new attorneys are lacking that a law school could – given its structure and limitations – can even address? This session will quickly address this problem that is confounding our industry and then will break into small groups to develop our own definitions of practice readiness and the skills required to qualify.

Session B - Best Practices in Transitioning Associates
Presented by Maggie Suender, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Lauren Krasnow, Volta Talent Strategies and Donna M. Branca, Blank Rome LLP

Firms make huge investments in their associates, investments that don’t always pay off as well or as quickly as desired or expected. Savvy firms understand that they cannot know where former associates will land down the road and so it is in their best interest to maintain good relationships with all of their associates, including those who are not succeeding at the firm and must be transitioned out, in order to increase chances of recovering on that investment down the road. Beyond what is legally required, there are good ways and not-so-good ways to transition associates out of your firms. The best programs make associates feel as supported on their way out as they did on their way in. This session will explain and discuss best practices in managing and executing associate outplacement and other transition efforts, including managing and coaching associates to help them get ahead of the outplacement decision.

3:00 pm - Break

3:30 pm - PDC Talks

Black Ops & Stealth Maneuvers - Getting Big PD Things Done on the Sly
Presented by Jeanne Picht, Fenwick & West LLP and Kristin Heryford, Fenwick & West LLP

Roadblocks, obstacles, naysayers, skeptics, obstructionists, non-believers... we PD professionals have seen and heard them all.  In this session we will share sneaky, low or no cost maneuvers any of us can use to advance PD objectives in our organizations, all without getting fired!  This session will detail a variety of tricks, tactics, and strategies for moving that seemingly impossible needle and having a positive impact.  From secret coaching to incentive raffles, covertly dabbling with the sacred free market system, and more, come learn the ancient art of the sneak attack and black ops in support of your associates – and those pesky partners too.  You too can make a big impact, all undercover.  If caught, deny everything!

You Need a Brand, Man! Why a Personal Brand and Entrepeneurial Mindset are Critical to the Success of PD Staff and Law Firm Associates
Presented by Calvin Gladney, Happier Better Lawyer

The carpe diem mindset of entrepreneurs is now a part of our popular culture. You know the names: Jobs, Zuckerberg, Blakely (Spanx!) – each built a unique personal brand and executed on a specific vision. PD staff and law firm associates can use these same entrepreneurial strategies by acting as “INTRA-preneurs” within their firms. INTRA-preneurs build a personal brand that helps them get their ideas chosen, and allows them to work on the projects and with the people they want. Come learn how to be an INTRA-preneur, build a personal brand and become a billionaire! (ok, maybe not the last part).

4:15 pm - Concurrent Sessions

Session A - The Topic No One Wants to Discuss and Must: High Functioning Substance Abusers
Presented by Mary Crane, Mary Crane & Associates

Research indicates that one in three lawyers struggles with substance abuse. As early as high school, some laid the groundwork for their future alcohol dependence. Others waited until law school to engage in binge drinking at so-called “bar reviews.” Unaddressed substance abuse threatens the health of too many top legal performers and places law firms and schools at risk. High-functioning substance abusers rarely look or sound like they need help. Many will not respond to well-intentioned interventions. This program outlines how you can create an environment that encourages students and lawyers to undergo the five stages of change that can lead to substance abuse recovery.

Session B - Business Acumen for Lawyers: What Clients Expect, What Lawyers Want and How PD Can Make It Happen
Presented by Chris Wedgeworth, Hotshot, Wilson Chu, McDermott, Will & Emery, Caitlin Vaughn, Goodwin LLP, and Mark Mouritsen, Dell

Law firms need to help their lawyers develop strong business acumen, but what’s meant by “business acumen” and how to best deliver the related training varies by who you talk to, available resources and preferred learning styles. In this session, a client, a PD leader and a lawyer will share their perspectives on the ideal form and substance of business acumen training to help generate ideas you can use to build or refine your own programs. We’ll also discuss different ways to deliver the training that take into account budget, scalability and effectiveness, including the use of modern learning methods.

5:30 p.m. - Happy Hour

7:00 pm - Small Group Dinners

Friday, July 21, 2017

7:30 am Yoga led by Katie Aldrich

8:00 am  Breakfast and Solutions Showcase

9:00 am - Plenary: Innovations in PD
Presented by Susan Schmitz, Dell, Tracy LaLonde, Xaphes, and Scott Westfahl, Harvard Law School Executive Education

10:30 am - Break

10:45 am - Concurrent Sessions

Session A - Documents on a Diet: Crafting Lean Law Firm Communication
Presented by Ben Opipari, Persuasive Matters

We're overwhelmed with written communication at work. The emails and memos never stop. Given the limits of our day, we want to read writing that's clear and concise. Unfortunately, what we often get is muddled and wordy. And that irritates us. Verbose writers create a confused (at best) or an angry (at worst) reader through their long-windedness. No one should have to read a sentence more than once, and this program will show you how to shed your words and make your writing concise by trimming the fat from your sentences. The result: lean and muscular law firm communication.

Session B - Adapting Project Management Principles & Tech Tools to PD Management
Presented by Jeanne Picht, Fenwick & West and Kristin Heryford, Fenwick & West

Over the last several years, many PD professionals have designed and developed project management training and tools for their firms and attorneys. How many of us, however, have taken the time to develop unique tools and systems supported by project management principles to help PD individuals and teams manage their own workflow? This session will detail Fenwick’s recent journey to apply project management principles to its overall PD workflow, to develop and use a specialized tool to support PD-specific project management, and effectively utilize OneNote to manage PD’s myriad historical and current information. The session will include a demo of the PD KanBan Board developed by Fenwick’s IT group, Fenwick Labs, as well as a demo of the PD OneNote information database developed by the PD team in collaboration with Fenwick’s Research & Intelligence group.

12:00 pm - Lunch

1:15 pm - Concurrent Sessions

Session A - Millenials: Disrupted or Disruptive?
Presented by Joanne Schaefer, JSchaefer Coaching and Terri Mottershead, Mottershead Consulting

Many firms struggle with attracting, engaging and retaining millennial attorneys. Focusing on the negative, firms resist adapting to the millennial mindset because it threatens traditional law firm models. While millennials present legitimate challenges, if we continue to perceive them as entitled, lazy and unwanted disruptive forces will miss opportunities for change that are consistent with the expectations of the new global workforce and indicative of millennial client expectations too. This session explores what’s possible when firms shift the paradigm and embrace millennials as positive disruptors, here to push boundaries and usher firms into the future and towards innovation and sustainability.

Session B - Boosting Engagement and Retention of Women Lawyers Through Leader Development
Presented by Anne Brafford, Aspire and Milana Hogan, Sullivan  & Cromwell LLP

Law firms aspire to build thriving organizations that attract, engage, and retain the best people of all demographic backgrounds. Firms have made progress in their diversity and inclusion efforts but more work and innovation are needed. When asked recently to identify major obstacles for women advancing to equity partner, 31% of the nation’s largest law firms said attrition. A whopping 94% reported that retaining women lawyers was a problem for the firm. The reasons why women leave law firms are complex and there is no single remedy. But leadership and organizational research suggests new strategies to make more progress. Research reflects that women’s relationships and interactions with their direct leader have a large impact on their work experience. It also suggests that women’s patterns of motivation and psychological needs differ from men’s and that understanding these differences can improve leader effectiveness along with higher engagement and retention of women lawyers.

2:45 pm - Break

3:15 pm - Roundtable and Ask the Experts Programs
More information on both of these programs coming soon!

4:15 pm - PDC Talks

Talking Traps
Presented by Michael Chad Hoeppner, GK Training and Communications

“Command the room”; “Project presence”; “Take charge.” Lawyers often hear these suggestions. But what do any of them actually mean? Building on the PDC talk he gave at the 2015 PDC conference, Michael Hoeppner of GK Training and Communications will lead a highly participatory workshop that: illustrates good – and bad – communication habits; examines case studies that illustrate both; and gives audience members hands-on coaching for typical but hard-to-solve communication pitfalls. Using curriculum he teaches at Columbia Business School, Michael will give participants tools they can use that day to speak better and help those they support to do the same.

How to Handle the Post-PDC Monday

Presented by Serena Miller, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

PDC Conferences are awesome! We all return to our offices full of great ideas and the best of intentions. And before we know it, December has arrived. This PDC Talk to designed to give you tips on how to prioritize all the great ideas in a way that best makes sense for you and your firm, and then how to actually get something done!

6:00 pm - Group Dinner

Join us for a Texas-sized dinner, followed by a unique presentation. This will be your chance to experience the first-ever “PDC Follies!” Tickets are $100 per person and guests are also welcome to attend. Plan to allot three hours for this can't-miss evening event. Register Here.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

8:00 am - Breakfast and Solutions Showcase Presentations

9:00 am - Plenary - We CAN Get Some Satisfaction: A Practical Approach to Improving Lawyer Morale and Engagement
Presented by Molly Peckman, Molly Peckman Training and Development, Dr. Larry Richard, LawyerBrain LLC, and Claudia Grillo, Inc. 

The Rolling Stones couldn’t get any satisfaction, but we as professional developers have a responsibility to improve our attorneys’ experience, to get and keep them engaged, and to help them be more productive and effective. Satisfied lawyers are more effective and more productive and better for our clients. They also are better to work for and with and make better alumni. The panelists will share firms’ best practices on measuring and improving morale including practical approaches to improving integration, engagement, partner/associate relations, and communications. We will discuss the lawyer psyche and share years of research, assessments, and insights into lawyer personalities. We will also talk about external and internal surveys and what they have shown and how to make the most of them. Most of us have learned, money can’t buy us love. 

10:00 am - Concurrent Sessions

Session A - Managing Change: Navigating Organizational and Personal Transitions
Presented by Kelly Druten Green, Sedgwick LLP

Love it or hate it, change is inevitable both professionally and personally. Knowledge is power and the key to a successful transition is knowing what to expect and what you can do to make it successful. This session will focus on the four stages of transition -- denial, resistance, exploration and commitment. What is the value and what are the challenges of each stage? You will learn how to protect productivity during change and how to move individuals through each stage leading to a successful transition.

Session B - Learning Leadership
Presented by Mark Beese, Leadership for Lawyers

How can leaders create organizations that are constantly learning to adapt to a dynamic market? We
will discuss:

  1. Situational Awareness – being tuned in to what is happening inside the firm and outside, particularly with clients, partners, vendors and competitors.
  2. Building an Effective Network – research from the Center for Creative Leadership shows that having an effective network is as important as any other single factor in an executive’s success.
  3. We’ll talk about the characteristics of a strong network and how to strategically develop one.
  4. Influence and Persuasion Skills – we will look at several models of influence and persuasion and practice a few tools to improve one’s personal persuasion ability.
  5. Igniting Change – We’ll look at how important it is to initiate and sustain change today and ways that firm leaders need to lead change in their firms.

11:15 am - Break

11:30 am - PDC Membership Meeting (only open to PDC members)