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Mastermind Group for Women in Commercial Litigation 2018

December 15, 2017

Achieve leaps_2a

Women lawyers are practicing in commercial litigation in growing numbers, yet these professionals continue to face a unique set of challenges and obstacles. Support and strategies to overcome these can be difficult to access.

Time is scarce amid all the competing priorities and commitments. It is hard to find the time to invest in our own career. Yet we all recognize how important it is to:

  • build new connections
  • learn from mentors in our own and other professions
  • create the opportunity to identify and focus on skills we would like to grow
  • allow ourselves to develop and implement business plans

invest in future_2

Yes, there are many opportunities to attend presentations and conferences.

But when we return to the office, we’re swept up in the work that piled up in our absence.  The inspiring binder of course materials is forgotten and shelved. The business cards go in a drawer, along with networking opportunities and the new contacts we made.  We often fail to follow up.


A space and place for women developing their careers in commercial litigation to come together to learn and support each other.

Gatherings to speak freely and confidentially about:

  • Challenges encountered in day-to-day practice
  • Strategies to overcome these

Speak freely_2

Opportunities to:

  • engage with senior women lawyers about their own experiences practicing in commercial litigation
  • connect with leading professionals sharing tips to help you develop your presence as an advocate
  • develop a relevant and likeminded referral network of colleagues who help and support each other
  • have the support of a coach for developing and implementing your own personal business plan

Learn and support_2

The Mastermind Group for Women in Commercial Litigation invites:

  • 12 women lawyers between 4 and 9 years of call
  • each from a different law firm
  • each with a commercial litigation practice

The Program:

Beginning in February 2018, the Mastermind Group will meet bi-monthly for “fireside chats” about topics such as:

  • Dealing with difficult colleagues, opposing counsel, and clients
  • Raising your level of confidence and establishing your unique presence as an advocate
  • Developing a strong practice management foundation and resilience
  • Overcoming the challenges unique to women practicing in commercial litigation
  • Business development and profile raising strategies for growing a thriving practice

A senior lawyer or other professional will be invited to attend at least four of the six gatherings to share their well-earned insights and perspectives.

Each member of the Mastermind Group will receive my support as their coach for the year, including:

  • An individual business planning session at the beginning of the program
  • Three additional one-hour coaching sessions
  • Touch base emails and phone calls between sessions

In addition, Mastermind Group Members will be invited to attend two one-hour CLE events in 2018:

  • on the topic, “Power of a Positive No”
  • on a practice management topic

Both events are eligible for Ethics credits.

The Plan:

  • January/February – individual business coaching sessions
  • March – Mastermind Group launch event
  • March – Individual coaching
  • April  – Mastermind Group meeting
  • June – Mastermind Group meeting
  • Summer – Individual coaching
  • September  – Mastermind Group meeting
  • October or November – Mastermind Group meeting
  • November/December – Individual coaching
  • December – Mastermind Group final celebration

Between the Mastermind Group sessions, members will be encouraged to meet with each other for informal chats and to further develop their relationships with one another.

Cost of the 12-month program is $295/month plus GST.

(Program fee does not include the cost of food and beverage at events.)

I appreciate that life circumstances can change, so members of the group are free to withdraw from the program should the need arise.

Next Steps:

To apply to join the Women in Commercial Litigation Mastermind Group 2018 please email me at (allison@shiftworks.ca) allison (at) shiftworks (dot) ca

Would you like more information?  Please email me at (allison@shiftworks.ca) allison (at) shiftworks (dot) ca to schedule a phone call.

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My latest posts over at Attorney With A Life (AWAL)

December 15, 2017

Here are some of my latest posts on attorneywithalife.com:

Worth considering – the Time Lord Manifesto

Time is fluid. An hour of your time can hold as little as three email messages and a discussion with a colleague or it can provide the space for writing an entire 800 word article from start to finish. There are workdays where we get epic amounts done and others where we spin our wheels.

Need some escapist fiction for the holidays?

My absolutely favourite way to relax is with a good book.  As winter sets in and long dark nights take hold, I savour my evening hours curled up with a good book.  Here is a list of my recommendations for eight excellent books across a range of genres…

Think Again – You don’t need to have all the answers

Have you ever had this worry?

I don’t know the answer.

I should know the answer.

The truth is that you don’t have to have all the answers.  What you do need is to be able to ask the questions that will get you to the answers. And to reach out to the people who can help you learn and develop…

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Small initiatives that have a BIG impact

August 31, 2017

It can be all too easy to forget that law firm cultures are really based on a mostly silent agreement about how things should run, and what can and can’t be done.

Then someone comes along and shows us how a simple change in business as usual can have a big impact on the quality of working life in a law firm.

Picture this — the clock strikes 10 and a small group of lawyers gathers for a quick exercise break, assuming the yoga pose known as the Plank. Holding this pose develops endurance and stamina, and tones the nervous system. It’s also great for strengthening the back.

There is quiet conversation and laughter as the group works to stay in plank position for a minute, moves into side planks, and finishes with wall sits. Then the time is up. Everyone rises, stretches a little, and heads back to their offices until the next break at noon. Lunchtime exercise? A five-minute series of lunges in an athletic congo line around the boardroom.

Truth or Fiction?

Truth! These mini breaks really happen four times a day, every work day at the Vancouver office of MLT Aikins, the recently expanded giant western Canadian law firm. Their Vancouver office is housed high above the blaring horns in the top floors of Vancouver’s beautiful art deco Marine Building.

The instigator of these five minute exercise breaks is litigation partner David Wotherspoon. I caught up with David over lunch this summer where I learned about his strategy to get him and his colleagues moving while developing a collegial firm culture. Says Wotherspoon, “We’re in and out within five minutes – we get a brain break, an exercise hit, and it takes only a little time away from our desks.”

It’s working.

It’s long been proven that short bits of exercise several times a day benefit our fitness levels and mood. How often have we all read about the importance of getting up from our desks and moving around throughout the day, or going outside for five minutes of natural light to refresh and renew — taking a break from the solitude of our screens and devices.

Wotherspoon has taken this notion a step further by making movement and connection a fun, planned, collective everyday occurrence in the workplace. Being active is a great way to unwind stresses and strains from our busy schedules. Increasing heartrates through shared laughter and camaraderie among colleagues can only lead to success for the firm and its team.

One simple routine added to the work day – big impact.

What can you initiate at your office?

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