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2019 PDC Summer Conference Schedule

*Schedule subject to change

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

3:15 p.m. - Tour the Ryman Auditorium (Ticket Required - Sold Out Please Contact PDC Staff to be put on a waitlist)

When you walk through the doors of the historic Ryman Auditorium, one thing becomes clear right away: it isn’t just another nightly music venue, and it’s so much more than a daytime tourist stop. It is a place of hallowed ground. This is the exact spot where bluegrass was born—where Johnny Cash met June Carter, where souls were saved and a slice of history was nearly lost. It was right here that country music found an audience beyond its own back porch, and countless careers took off as deals were signed on napkins and paper scraps backstage. This is a building where anything is possible: a soul can find redemption, a crumbling building can find salvation, and an unknown kid with a guitar can find his or her name in lights. 

The PDC is pleased to offer a limited number of tickets to tour the iconic Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Tour times are 3:15 and 3:30 p.m. Tickets to the Ryman can be purchased during the registration process.

4:15 p.m. - Happy Hour at the Lula Cafe (located at the Ryman Auditorium)


Thursday, July 11, 2019

7:30 a.m. - PDC Walk

8:30 a.m. - Registration Open

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - New Member/First Time Attendee Welcome Reception

10:15 a.m. - Noon - Welcome Remarks and Opening Plenary

Noon - 1:00 p.m. - Networking Lunch

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions:

1A: You Have a Women’s Initiative, But Is It Working?

Anne Brafford, Owner, Aspire and Milana Hogan, Chief Legal Recruiting & Professional Development Officer, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

If your firm is like most, you’ve had a women’s initiative and related programming for years. That’s a great start. But is it “working”? And how do you evaluate that, anyway? Do you know if you’re doing the right things? Or things that can actually backfire and hinder women’s progress? Are women-only initiatives helpful, harmful, or both? How do we combat “second-generation gender bias” and develop effective, new-wave strategies? This session will cover some of the recent research on promising strategies, what hasn’t been working, and specific recommendations based on the latest science.

2A: Teaching Associates to Manage Chaos and Thrive

Darien Fleming, Executive and Career Coach + Trainer; Grover E. Cleveland, Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks; and Melissa Berry, Assistant Dean for Student & Career Services, University of Washington School of Law

Attorneys field multiple demands from other lawyers and clients on urgent, high-stakes issues. The chaos can lead to a host of problems, including burnout, inefficiency, and unhappy clients. This program provides actionable strategies to equip lawyers and law students with tools to stop spinning and to be more productive by being more proactive. In this interactive workshop, you will learn key strategies for transforming chaos into positive action. The program presents a three-part framework focused on managing oneself as well as responses to others and events. Deploying an array of skills, including mindfulness, growth mindset, time management, active problem solving, and effective communication, your attorneys can manage chaos and thrive.

3A: Rebooting Your Business Acumen and Transactional Practice Training with Long-Form Simulations

Caitlin Vaughn, Senior Manager, Attorney Training, Goodwin Procter LLP; Matt Rubins, Managing Director - Law, Abilitie; and Jennifer Bluestein, Chief Talent and HR Officer, Perkins Coie LLP

Associates need to speak the language of business to provide effective service to corporate clients.  Traditional lecture-based methods of teaching accounting are not engaging or well-retained by associates.  To address this, firms have used several innovative immersive simulations to teach, in particular, financial acumen and transactional skills.  In one instance Goodwin partnered with Abilitie to deploy a highly successful business acumen program for its new associate class using Abilitie's Business Challenge online simulation, coupled with law-specific content and supplemented by online coursework. In another instance, Goodwin and Greenberg Traurig created multi-day simulations where associates played out the key steps in a simulated deal.  These new approaches used experiential learning to create highly engaging programs that gave associates the skills to engage in complex client work.

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Networking Break

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1B: Avoid Random Acts of Training: How to Craft Multi-Session, Cumulative, and Experiential Programs that Increase Learning, Deepen Relationships and Improve Retention

Matthew Galando, Learning & Professional Development Consultant, K&L Gates LLP; Alexandra Vecchio, Director of Professional Development, Cozen O’Connor; Christine Clapp, President, Spoken With Authority; and Jeff Bannon, CEO/Founder, BusinessTalk, Inc.

One-shot programs can easily turn into random acts of training that don’t develop new habits or foster long-term change among participants. To enhance outcomes and increase efficacy of training resources, some firms are moving to multi-session, cumulative, and experiential programs (MSCEP’s) that allow for skill development, guided practice, and application over time.    This session will explore how two firms have created, implemented, and evolved their own MSCEP’s to develop oral communication skills. It will examine the building blocks of successful programs, how to get buy-in from firm leaders and associates, and the value such programs can bring to your firm.

2B: A Program to Remember: Ideas for Interactive, Engaging Learning Events

Kristin Heryford, Manager of Professional Development, Cooley LLP and Molly Peckman, Principal, Molly Peckman Training & Development

“Make it interactive, make it innovative, gamify it or something,” they say. We know both new and experienced audiences no longer tolerate dry, droning lectures. But how do we design interaction that actually supports and furthers the learning? Hear both “new-and-trying” and “old-and-tested” approaches. Then, take your own program to the drawing board in an interactive, workshop approach to implement your new ideas.

3B: Fighting Distractions in Your Practice: What's ADHD Got to Do with It?

 Casey Dixon, Coach, Dixon Life Coaching 

Many attorneys struggle to focus on their day-to-day work under bombardment from email, the Internet, smart phones and clients who expect practitioners to be available at a moment’s notice.    This session focuses on the unique challenges faced by lawyers - both those who may have ADHD and those who simply need help organizing their practices – as well as basic strategies to overcome those challenges. We will discuss recent research and ABA Task Force findings on the state of lawyer wellbeing and provide tactics lawyers can implement to improve their productivity as well as wellbeing.    We cover what is currently known about ADHD: prevalence, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.     This session provides a practical guide to handling distractions in your practice for attorneys with ADHD or ADHD-like challenges in practice.

4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Transition Break

4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1C: Cultivating a Culture of Feedback: Lessons Learned from Professional Firms

Tim Leishman, Principal, Firm Leader Inc. and Linda Margolies Salem, Executive Director, Reed Smith University, Reed Smith LLP

Many firms are trying to persuade their lawyers to have more real-time, effective conversations about their performance. But there are challenges: motivation (more pressing priorities), ability (some feedback is difficult to deliver effectively), and anxiety (will I be disliked if I’m critical?). In the face of these challenges, changing individual behaviors to change the culture is not easy. What’s the right mix and type of leadership, training, processes (e.g., mentoring), and prompts (e.g., feedback tools) required to create a culture of feedback? This session will share lessons learned from law and other professional firms about what supports a feedback culture.

2C: Applied EQ at All Stages of Lawyer Development:  Frameworks for Teaching, Coaching, and Advising

Kristen Uhl Hulse, Assistant Professor of the Practice, University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Margee Fawley, Director of Professional Development + Recruiting, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP; and Marian Lee, Executive Coach and Consultant, Career Reinvention, LLC

As PD professionals, we know that emotional intelligence (EQ) lays the foundation for developing the relationship-building skills necessary in a client service industry, and that EQ skills can accelerate one’s professional development from day 1 of law practice.  Yet despite much literature and continuing education in the area, we still face skepticism from the lawyer population when we suggest working on a so-called “soft skill.”  How to achieve buy-in from those who need to develop EQ the most?  By translating the concept in a credible way that illustrates “high EQ” behaviors and identifies the rewards of leveraging EQ in practice.  Covering the spectrum from law students to senior lawyers, we will share our approaches to teaching, coaching, and advising on EQ that have yielded real results.  Specifically, we will describe (1) a law firm training program for junior and mid-level associates that identified EQ skills as essential engagement skills, (2) an EQ instrument used in coaching senior associates and new partners, (3) a substantive practice area training that illustrated how EQ skills can improve one’s practice, and (4) how we have framed to law students the imperative to develop and demonstrate EQ skills.

3C: Redefining “leadership” – Influence Strategies to Increase Your Impact

Audrey Lee, Founding Principal & Sr Mediator, Perspectiva LLC / BLC, LLC and Ann Hopkins Avery, NA Director of Professional Development, Baker McKenzie LLP

Do you consider yourself a leader within your organization? Do you carry influence with your team and attorneys? While we may not all have “Leader” in our title, we each have an opportunity to positively impact and influence others. This highly interactive workshop will help you transform your thinking – of yourself and about how others see you – by exploring leadership, influence, and growth mindsets. The facilitators will present tools to diagnose influence challenges and ideas to bolster your influence based on research in psychology and emotional intelligence. You'll leave this session with simple strategies you can implement immediately.

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - PDC Lage Group Dinner at Nashville Underground (separate ticket purchase required)


Friday, July 12, 2019

7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. - Morning Yoga with Katie Aldrich, Fringe Professional Development

8:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. - Breakfast & PDC Membership Meeting (open to PDC members only)

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - Transition Break

9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1D: Roadmap to Operationalizing Wellbeing: What works? What's next? What's possible?

Joanne Clarfield Schaefer, Ms, JSchaefer Coaching

Attorney (un)wellbeing is a serious business and professionalism issue that needs immediate attention. Last year, the profession was stunned by statistics evidencing staggering mental illness and addiction and the ABA Task Force said wellbeing is a core competency. Attorneys need to be well to do their job properly. Where does your organization rank? What does a "well" attorney look like? How do you incorporate wellbeing into PD? How do you manage skeptics/non-believers? Are your current programs working? What could be better? What’s next? Through fun and interactive exercises, participants will determine their individual “wellbeing score” and identify 3 new ways to promote wellbeing.

2D: Attitude Adjustment: Arming Your New Partners with Three Winning Attitude Shifts

Marla S. Grant, Esq., Strategic Coach for Law Firms, 20/20 Leadership Group; Yuliya LaRoe, Esq., Strategic Coach for Law Firms, 20/20 Leadership Group; and Sharon Meit Abrahams, Ed.D., Director, Professional Development/Diversity & Inclusion, Foley & Lardner LLP

Once the initial excitement of being promoted to partnership wears off, most new partners find themselves in unchartered territories. What’s often missing is their understanding that in order to meet their new obligations as a partner, they must learn to embrace and embody new attitudes that are critical to their own success and success of their firm. We will discuss three critical attitudinal shifts that every new partner must make and, using law firm examples, share concrete strategies about how professional development teams can support new partners. We are perfectly positioned to set them up for success.

3D: How PD Professionals Can Design Masterminds to Promote and Retain Diverse Talent

Heather Hubbard, Founder & President, All Rise LLC

It’s no secret that firms struggle to retain and promote women and minorities. When you invest so much time and money in developing a pipeline of diverse talent, it can be frustrating when so many leave before making partner or soon thereafter. A unique and effective approach to help diverse attorneys rise in the ranks is through diverse masterminds. In this program, you’ll learn how to design a custom mastermind to meet the needs of your firm. From initial stage buy-in to measuring and reporting success at the end, every step of the process will be explained.

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Transition Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. - Concurrent Sessions: 

1E: “Professionalism – According to Whom? Recognizing Implicit Bias in Evaluations and Other Career Conversations.”

Jacqueline Wilson Cranford, Founder & Principal, Cranford Advisory Services LLC; Denise A. Robinson, Founding Principal, The Still Center LLC; and Maja Hazell, Global head of Diversity & Inclusion, White & Case.

Lawyers generally recognize the imperative of being clear, precise, and purposeful in communications. While we often are mindful of our words when working with clients, opposing counsel, etc., we sometimes lack awareness of the impact of our words when engaging with colleagues.     Utilizing a re-enactment of a performance evaluation, we will explore the imperative of paying attention to our words and the impact of implicit biases, particularly in the context of delivering performance evaluations and other feedback. We will explore some of the subtleties that can undermine our efforts to effectively deliver feedback and can cause our colleagues to experience exclusion.

2E: A Practical Leadership Toolkit: Teaching Coaching Skills for Leadership Development

Gene Gilmore, Director of Profesisonal Development, Cooley LLP 

What if coaching isn't just a great tool for supporting your career development and learning initiatives? What if coaching provided a complete framework and practical toolkit for developing leadership skills in our attorneys? What if you could do it in 60-minutes or less? Gene Gilmore will share will you his innovative approach to working with time-crunched practice group leaders to improve their leadership impact by integrating coaching skills into their daily management habits.

3E: Lessons in Talent Innovation:  How Law Firms Can Use Technology and Behavioral Design Theory to Enhance their Talent Development Systems

Caroline Brownworth, Manager, Professional Development & Training - Litigation and Laura Rees Acosta, MSenior Director of Talent Development, Goulston & Storrs.

Recently a new market has emerged for innovative software tools focused on enhancing teamwork, feedback, continuous performance management, and data-driven recruiting. Companies in this space, such as CultureAmp, Humanyze and Pymetrics, are embedding behavioral design insights into these software tools, to help them have maximum impact in an organization.  In this session, PDC members will have an opportunity to learn about some of these new technology tools, how they can be used in the attorney talent cycle, and their benefits in driving change.  Goodwin will discuss its use of one such tool, CultureAmp, in enhancing its partner upward feedback process.

12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - PDC Talks

PDC Talk 1: A Match Made in Heaven: Metrics & Programming

Tamesha Keel, Manager of Attorney Training & Development, Thompson & Knight, LLP

All too often within talent acquisition & development, programs are reactive and hastily implemented without strategic development and critical assessment to ensure success. Instead of running away from/avoiding metrics, data analysis should be embraced as an invaluable tool to impact an organization's bottom line. In this talk, Tamesha will discuss tips to use in evaluating an organization's talent development initiatives to determine and maximize ROI.

PDC Talk 2: Be(a)ware

Darien Fleming, Executive and Career Coach + Trainer

Have you ever found yourself (or someone else) “spinning out“ over a situation or experience? Where you (or they) are all a-jumble trying to decipher the swirling thoughts and feelings and calculate appropriate next actions?    “The Awareness Wheel” can help you (or help you, help others) break down the unwieldy whole of an experience into its parts.  By focusing on 5 information points: sensory, thoughts, feelings, wants and actions, this awareness wheel can focus your mind on what’s important and propel actions in line with desires.  This straightforward and amazingly simple tool can help anyone achieve success with interpersonal relationships.

PDC Talk 3: BigData and Big(and all sized!)Law- The Future of Data Usage in the PD Space

Christelle Dorcil, Professional Development Manager and Steve Turner, Global HRIS Manager, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Are you a PD professional who finds yourself increasingly inundated by ever changing spreadsheets, reports and other aggregations of data? Are you often expected to understand, translate and apply this data or use data platforms with very little or no specific training? This 15-minute PDC Talk will address the growing use of data accumulation and applications in the law firm context and what every PD professional needs to know as the information highway barrels into our offices. Whether you love diving into data points or break into a sweat at the sight of an Excel attachment, this presentation will empower you to feel more comfortable and conversant about the intersection of data and your daily work.

PDC Talk 4: Surviving the $&*%storm: On Vulnerability, Communication, and When to Say “When”

Kiko Korn, Owner, Legal Writing Works

On December 25, 2018, I learned that my parents were about to lose everything. Seemingly overnight, they lost their businesses and their home, and faced financial and personal devastation. As their only child, I found myself at the helm of a sinking ship: In a three-week period, I was tasked with managing their illnesses, closing three restaurants, negotiating 100 severance agreements, overseeing bankruptcies, selling their belongings, and finding them housing. As I reflect on this time, I'm struck by what led to this disaster, what could have prevented it, and what helped the most as I navigated through it.

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - Networking Break

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1F: Rising to the Challenge: Using Gamification to Enhance Associate Business Development Efforts

Kimberly Curry, Senior Career Development Manager; Kate Boucher, Senior Business Development Manager; and Ross Margulies, Associate, Foley Hoag LLP

This session will provide an in-depth look into the BD Challenge - a collaborative Professional Development & Business Development initiative.  The Business Development (BD) Challenge was designed to clarify business development expectations, provide training on key BD skills, and reward associate individual and collaborative BD behavior through gamification.  The session will provide perspective from PD, BD and a participating associate, and will include a facilitated discussion to examine how other firms are driving associate BD efforts.

2F: Addressing the Talent Management Talent Drought

Rachael K Bosch, Managing Director, Fringe Professional Development and Jenny Schwope, Sr. Director, National Law Firm Management, Parker + Lynch Legal

The unemployment rate is unusually low - competition for talent is fierce, particularly in law firms where attracting and retaining top talent is a constant concern. Despite the increased need for talent and an abundance of opportunities, professionals are reporting a feeling of being “stuck” in pursuit of their goals causing many to leave the industry. Employers and managers need to create and sustain environments to support and stretch all professionals to remain competitive with other industries. This program will review hiring and attrition trends in talent management and provide participants with insights into how they can retain their talent investments.

3F: Leadership Competencies for Today's Law Firm Leaders

Mark Beese, President, Leadership for Lawyers LLC

Law firms are facing industry-wide disruption like never before.  We will discuss the leadership challenges currently facing law firm leaders, especially front-line leaders of practice/industry groups, offices, client teams, and staff teams.  We will discuss the leadership competencies required to meet these challenges and explore professional development strategies to develop these leadership competencies.  Realizing that firms need to develop a leadership pipeline, we'll look at competencies and development strategies at various levels of a law firm.

3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Transition Break

4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1G: Leading Change in the Legal Profession: What Resilient Leaders Do Differently

Paula Davis-Laack, Founder/CEO, The Stress & Resilience Institute, LLC and Sylvia Lopez, Lt. Col., United States Army Reserve

The legal profession is changing, and for the first time in decades, the profession is facing significant disruption across all sectors.  The ability to adapt to this environment of continuous change, and innovate while in it, will be a critical survival skill for every lawyer and leader.  Luckily, research shows that resilient leaders do very specific things differently, and the U.S. Army’s experience teaching resilience skills to leaders can act as a template for law.  Lt. Col. Sylvia Lopez of the U.S. Army will join Paula Davis-Laack to talk about how resilience and leadership must intersect.

2G: Handling Underperformance and Misbehaviors

Sharon Meit Abrahams, Director, Professional Development/Diversity & Inclusion, Foley & Lardner LLP

Every firm has them. They just aren't up to snuff or they are doing things that make you cringe. How do you handle those attorneys who are under performing? And what about those who are misbehaving? Firms look to their PD professional to "fix" these attorneys. This session will help you to help those attorneys.

3G: More Heads are Better: Consenus Tactics for Teams

Lori Gauld, Director, Learning Initiatives, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

What can we learn from NGOs to help work teams solve thorny issues, efficiently?  Group consensus matters when you have multi-party stakeholders, complex issues and solutions that need a lot of input and/or buy-in.  When the stakes are high, a well-designed process can engage the whole group & keep everyone on the same page, and moving toward the same goal.     Whether you are tasked with being an internal facilitation consultant for Firm retreats or a strat planning session, or are looking at different ways to solve a problem as a team, this session will introduce you to some tried & true organizational development processes that come from the world of non-profits and can be used to leverage the wisdom of groups.  Useful tools to add to your facilitation toolkit!

5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. - Happy Hour at the Westin Roof Top Restaurant

7:00 p.m. - Small Group Dinners

9:00 p.m. - Karaoke Party


Saturday, July 13, 2019

7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. - HITT Class with Rachael Bosch, Fringe Professional Development at TruMav (Please meet in the lobby at 6:45 to allow time to walk to the gym together)

8:00 a.m. - Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Concurrent Sessions:

1H: #MeToo, Now What?

Ally Coll Steele, President & Cofounder, The Purple Campaign and Scott Westfahl, Professor of Practice and Director of Executive Education, Harvard Law School

The #MeToo movement revealed a systemic problem with sexual misconduct across industries. It also made clear that existing workplace policies and practices have largely failed to root out the problem. Last fall, the Purple Campaign and Harvard Law School Executive Education convened global leaders from more than 30 companies and 20 policy organizations for a workshop to develop policy reforms to address the problem. This session will share key takeaways from the “#MeToo, Now What?” workshop and provide attendees with practical advice about how to address sexual harassment in their own workplaces in the wake of #MeToo.

2H: The Pursuit of Excellence in a Culture of Perfection

Johnna Story, Senior Professional Development Manager, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP and Jessie Spressart, Managing Director, Optia Consulting

The legal industry expects perfection on nearly every level. As much as we want to deliver perfect client work product, personal perfection is unachievable and unsustainable goal.  Many attorneys expect perfection of themselves, which leads to career stress and professional setbacks.  This session will explore this dilemma and offer insight into how PD professionals can help shift mindsets from the pursuit of perfection to the pursuit of excellence and reframe a perceived failure or misstep into a learning opportunity.

3H: The Best Ideas are Borrowed: Programs and Initiatives Across the PDC

Ian Nelson, Co-Founder, Hotshot and Kristin Heryford, Manager of Professional Development, Cooley LLP

Sharing is caring in the PDC and this session’s goal is just that: to hear from our colleagues across the country about their innovative programs and ideas across legal, business, professional, and technology skills. We’ll lead an organized group discussion about what we’re all up to, including firm-wide business acumen programs, engaging onboarding programs, industry training for lawyers and staff, blended learning programs for practice groups, and staff training programs. We’ll cover top trends, lessons learned, implementation strategies, and more. The PD community thrives on sharing and collaboration – so here’s a whole session dedicated to it!

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Networking Break

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - Closing Plenary & Remarks
(45-minute session followed by a 30-minute fireside chat with a PDC Board Member)

Habits of Lawyering | Why Our Work Habits Will Make or Break Our Professional Lives

Justin Whitmel Earley, Counsel, Earley Legal Group

The psychologist William James wrote that "Our life, insofar as it has any definite form, is but a mass of habits." Modern neurological research shows that over 40% of the actions we take everyday are not best described as choices—but habits. Habits that, because of our neurology, don’t really involve our conscious brain activity. Nonetheless they make up an enormous part of our lives and work.    Unsurprisingly, rapid changes in technology in the past 10 years have revolutionized the habits of a workplace—and not all for the better. Many of them perpetuate employee habits of distraction and anxiety that produce cultures of needless busyness, which eventually hurts employee wellness and the bottom line.    As a mergers and acquisitions attorney at an international law firm, Justin is no stranger to the culture of busyness and overwork. In fact, as he will tell you, his focus on habits of productivity and wellness were born out of his recovery from his own nervous breakdown from overwork.    Drawing on his own raw story of emotional collapse, as well as wide ranging insights from neurologists, novelists, and monastic gurus, Justin explains how our most ordinary life habits are shaping both our wellness and our productivity in extraordinary ways. But it won’t stop there. From daily routines of managing your smartphone to weekly rhythms of rest, Justin has some ideas that get specific and will leave your company energized and equipped to reform the habits of your own workplace.