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On The Lawyer's Edge podcast, attorney and professional business coach Elise Holtzman sits down with successful lawyers, legal marketing specialists, business leaders and authors to talk about how lawyers and law firms can grow and sustain healthy, profitable businesses.


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On The Lawyer's Edge podcast, attorney and professional business coach Elise Holtzman sits down with successful lawyers, legal marketing specialists, business leaders and authors to talk about how lawyers and law firms can grow and sustain healthy, profitable businesses.



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Jennifer Cona | How to Grow from Solo Practice to Award-Winning Boutique

Jennifer Cona, is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cona Elder Law, an award-winning elder law and estate planning firm located in Melville, New York. Celebrating 25 years in business, Cona Elder Law has been consistently ranked the number one elder law and trust in-estate firm on Long Island. Jennifer has won many awards, including the New York Law Journal Award for Top Women in Law. She and her firm are committed to corporate social responsibility, and she has held roles on the board of trustees of the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, the United Way of Long Island, and the executive leadership team of the American Heart Association. Jennifer has also been featured in many publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on radio and TV. She also writes a monthly column for the Long Island Press called Power of Your Attorney. Jennifer Cona's dedication to Elder Law and her impact on her community are a testament to her outstanding career. WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS EPISODE ABOUT HOW TO GROW FROM SOLO PRACTICE Many lawyers dream of opening their own practice. It takes a lot, though, to go from working for someone else’s firm to starting your own, especially if you have no one with experience to guide you. Jennifer Cona didn’t grow up in an entrepreneurial family who could show her the ropes. But going on guts, she managed to open an elder law practice and successfully grow it from a solo operation to a boutique. And even she will tell you it looked like she did it by the seat of her pants at times! In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll discover how Jennifer launched and grew a law firm while creating a culture built to last. She’ll also reveal how everyone at Cona Elder Law reinforces the core values of the firm, how they focus on the local community even outside of serving clients, and the challenges and opportunities presented by younger generations in the workplace and the advent of artificial intelligence. 2:16 - How Jennifer went from working at someone else’s firm to starting her own within five years of practicing law 5:26 - Why Jennifer felt the need to move her solo firm out of Manhattan to Long Island and expand to a 35-lawyer boutique 10:37 - Jennifer’s leadership style and how her firm focuses on corporate social responsibility 13:57 - How the core values of Jennifer’s practice are constantly reinforced and make it much easier to hire (or fire) people 16:42 - The generational issue Jennifer thinks is the greatest challenge these days 22:31 - How Jennifer uses AI now, how she plans to use it in the future, and why she’s excited about it when many others are wary 26:08 - The difficulty of growing a law firm (especially when you’re also trying to raise a family) 29:39 - Why you’re always answering to somebody even if you own a law practice MENTIONED IN HOW TO GROW FROM SOLO PRACTICE TO AWARD-WINNING BOUTIQUE WITH JENNIFER CONA Cona Elder Law “Power of Your Attorney” archives | Long Island Press Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE… Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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Lauren Baptiste | Effective Strategies for Combating Burnout in the Legal Profession

Lawyers frequently report that they are exhausted, overloaded, or burned out. Sound familiar? In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, host Elise Holtzman chats with Lauren Baptiste, a burnout expert and founder of Acheloa Wellness, to delve into the all-too-common issue of burnout in the legal profession. Lauren shares how to prevent burnout as well as how to recover from it. Learn the importance of recognizing the signs of burnout, the need for self-awareness, and the differences between coaching and therapy. Lauren will also introduce you to Ayurveda, an ancient wellness system, and discuss how it can be used to understand our unique body-mind compositions and spot early burnout indicators. Listen in as Lauren offers practical tips, like the importance of taking breaks, especially for lunch, and striking the right balance between solitude and social interaction. She also shares why it’s critical for legal professionals to prioritize self-care and seek the proper support when facing burnout. Taking care of yourself is not only crucial for personal health, but is also imperative for sustaining professional efficiency and achieving success. WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS EPISODE ABOUT BURNOUT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION 2:09 - Lauren's personal experience with workplace burnout and her realization of the prevalence of burnout among colleagues. 5:23 - The prevalence of burnout in the legal profession, including long hours and unhealthy habits. 7:43 - Exploring the historical presence of burnout and the recent emphasis on addressing burnout in the legal profession. 12:07 - How to identify symptoms of burnout and distinguish between general burnout and chronic burnout. 17:33 - The importance of exploring coaching and therapy, and the severity of the issue. 22:42 - Recommendations for small, daily activities to combat burnout. Connect with Lauren Baptiste Lauren Baptiste is enhancing today’s work culture with a simple strategy: prioritize well-being as the "hardest-working" professionals climb the corporate ladder. As a life coach and consultant on a mission to help women level-up at work and at home, Lauren brings more than 13 years of experience in corporate culture and workplace burnout alongside her knowledge as a practitioner of Ayurveda, hormonal health and other evidenced-based modalities. This results in clients shifting from exhausted to energetic, cynical to optimistic, and ineffective to empowered. Acheloa Wellness | LinkedIn Mentioned In Effective Strategies for Combating Burnout in the Legal Profession Niki Schaefer | How a Stroke at 38 Changed a Lawyer’s Approach to Life and Work Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE… Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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How to Cultivate a Business Development Mindset

What do you think is one of the most powerful obstacles to business development success for lawyers? Despite their busy schedules, it isn’t a lack of time. It’s not about the lack of money, either. It’s not even that you don’t know how to do it, although law school certainly didn’t teach it. Simply put: it’s your mindset. It’s the stories you tell yourself that stop you from taking (or fully committing to) consistent, targeted action. And it’s the biggest impediment I’ve come across again and again with lawyers I meet. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll learn 7 tips that will help you cultivate a successful business development mindset. I’ll teach you a thought process that will inspire you to start taking action in the direction of your goals and stick with it consistently! WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS EPISODE ABOUT CULTIVATING A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MINDSET 2:57 - What business development success and that criminal law class you took in your first year have in common 5:27 - The first thing you can do to cultivate your business development mindset for success 8:14 - Two things you need to recognize about business development and one thing you shouldn’t expect to see 11:26 - The people you shouldn’t listen to and the responses you don’t want to give to everyone else and yourself 14:12 - A change that’ll make it more likely for you to focus on and engage with business development Mentioned In How to Cultivate a Business Development Mindset IGNITE Women’s Business Development Accelerator Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE… Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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Davina Frederick | How to Scale Your Law Firm to 7 Figures or More

Professional opportunities abound for women lawyers, yet many women hesitate to pursue their dream of starting and owning a law practice. Many of those who do take the leap still struggle with building their business into a saleable asset that supports their lifestyle (both now and in retirement). Before my guest, Davina Frederick, started her law firm in 2007, she worked in professional services marketing. Thanks to her familiarity with marketing and litigation and the struggle she saw other women law firm owners have with building sustainable practices, she rebranded in 2020 to serve them as a law firm growth strategist and business coach. Now, she helps women lawyers achieve their goals and overcome challenges in their professional and personal lives. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll learn about the importance of starting and scaling your practice, the consequences of not building your business into an asset, and why women lawyers too often shy away from going into business for themselves. Davina will also give you an outline of her framework for scaling your law firm business to $1,000,000 or more. WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS EPISODE ABOUT SCALING YOUR LAW FIRM 2:31 - Why it’s so important for women to scale their law firms instead of staying solo 5:54 - Advantages for women lawyers who start and scale their own practice instead of working in others 10:40 - Why many women lawyers think smaller than they should about what’s possible for them 13:57 - How your upbringing and early career can have an impact on what you decide to do for yourself 18:29 - How your money story can be a big obstacle to growing wealth through scaling your practice 22:26 - The internal aspect you can always change that drives what you choose to focus on (even if you have external obstacles in your way) 28:56 - Why there are more opportunities than ever to get support, make connections, and achieve success 30:56 - Davina’s framework for scaling your law firm to seven figures or more and the journey that led to its creation 40:50 - The only thing that matters when it comes to owning and scaling your business and what gets you to the next level Connect with Davina Frederick Davina Frederick is a Florida-licensed attorney, law firm growth strategist, and business coach for women law firm owners. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL, with a B.A. in journalism, and she received her J.D. from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in 2007. Prior to starting her own law firm in 2007 and growing it successfully during the 2008 recession and its aftermath, she enjoyed a career as a professional services marketer. In 2013, she founded D. Frederick Media and Marketing, LLC, with the goal of helping professional service business owners implement their marketing strategies. However, she quickly discovered that most did not even have a strategy! She then began to work with her clients to develop strategic growth plans for their businesses and to coach them through implementing these plans, including how to market and sell, cultivate A+ teams, and set up systems-based businesses. Since most of Davina’s clients were women law firm owners who wanted the inside scoop on how Davina had successfully created and scaled her own law firm, she began to focus on serving just women law firm owner clients. In 2020, Davina rebranded her company to reflect this shift, creating Wealthy Woman Lawyer®. Wealthy Woman Lawyer® assists women law firm owners scale their law firms into $1M+ wealth-generating businesses without overwork or overwhelm. Davina is the author of two books: The Wealthy Woman Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Marketing in the Virtual Age: 10 Bold Actions to Take Now to Attract Your Ideal Clients with Total Ease and The Wealthy Woman Lawyer’s Guide to a Systems-Driven Law Firm Business: 7 Essential Systems You Need to Take Back Your Time, Avoid Burnout, and Create Lasting Wealth. She’s also the...


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Valerie Madamba | How to Stand Out as a Thought Leader By Becoming a Better Presenter

Do you struggle to connect with audiences in your public speaking engagements and legal presentations? You can continue to struggle or learn how to be a more engaging and memorable presenter. Valerie Madamba knew she had to overcome a huge learning curve as a public speaker if she wanted to be happy and successful as a lawyer. Once she figured out how to connect with an audience and help them solve their problems, she started learning to love being on stage and owning that as part of her career development. Now, having gone from regulatory lawyer to legal presentation coach, Valerie has so many great tips, suggestions, and pieces of advice to help you stand out as a thought leader, public speaker, and presenter. And she’s here to talk about the benefits of public speaking as a lawyer who’s a go-to expert in your field. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll learn about how to raise your profile as a visible expert and be known as a leading authority other people seek out. You’ll discover why stories are such a critical vessel and how to use them in your presentations, the most common mistake to avoid in presentations, and steps you can take to begin building a better experience for your audience. 1:10 - The surprising thing that sparked Valerie’s interest in presentations and public speaking 4:09 - Why lawyers need to be persuasive speakers, elevate their voices, and tell stories that people will remember 11:53 - The mistake lawyers make when they deliver their presentations and how to flip it around so that you increase engagement with your material 18:02 - Where to start if you want to create more engaging presentations and present on a complex topic without dumbing it down 26:04 - Public speaking trends that have emerged post-pandemic and the impact they’re having on attorneys 30:25 - Suggestions for making conversations more comfortable for people who are asked to share their experiences 34:27 - One thing you have to be prepared for as the person leading the presentation 36:13 - One thing to keep in mind when delivering engaging presentations that position you as a leading authority in your practice area Connect with Valerie Madamba Valerie Madamba brings a wealth of experience as a former food and drug regulatory lawyer, having navigated roles in the federal government, Biglaw, and in-house settings. Founding her own legal presentation coaching consultancy, Valerie now resides in Brussels with her family, assisting lawyers worldwide in refining their presentation skills to bolster their practices and brands. Valerie Madamba Valerie Madamba on LinkedIn Mentioned In How to Stand Out as a Thought Leader By Becoming a Better Presenter Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE… Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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Tara Stingley | How to Become a Visible Expert in Your Practice Area

Those first travelers making their way West did so without a roadmap. But in taking the opportunity, they paved the way for the nation’s expansion. That spirit of the West is very much rooted in Tara Stingley and the Nebraska law firm of which she is a partner. As the first woman to serve on Cline Williams’ executive committee, she challenged other members to think about how they defined issues and the impact of their decisions. She also established her niche as an employment law expert within the legal community. Laying down that foundation has paid dividends in affording her opportunities, as it can for you, too. And unlike that first wave of westward travelers, you don’t have to go forward blindly; Tara has tips to help you build your roadmap to greater visibility. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll hear about the payoff potential in raising your profile and building your brand as a subject-matter expert and how to start proactively doing it (even if you’re still a young lawyer). Tara will also discuss the importance of representation, the need for professional women to stop underestimating their value, what plays into a client’s decision to pick you over others, and so much more! 1:51 - How Tara became a lawyer and partner at Cline Williams and how the law firm differs from others 9:51 - The importance of Tara’s role as the first woman on the firm’s executive committee 13:22 - Why you should strive to increase your visibility as an expert in your field, even when you can’t see an immediate payoff 20:58 - How lawyers can create branding opportunities for themselves rather than wait for them to appear 25:06 - The mindset you need for approaching opportunities to raise your profile and ultimately get clients you want to work with 29:40 - An essential piece of advice for professional women (especially those dealing with imposter syndrome) Connect with Tara Stingley Tara Stingley is a Partner Cline Williams and the Chair of it’s Labor and Employment Law section. Cline Williams, established in 1857, is Nebraska's oldest existing law firm and is a full-service firm with approximately 60 lawyers working in 5 offices located in Nebraska and Colorado. Tara is also the firm's primary representative to the Employment Law Alliance, the largest international network of labor and employment lawyers. Tara focuses her practice on employment law, advising businesses in a variety of industries on compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations. Cline Williams Employment Law Alliance Tara Stingley on LinkedIn Mentioned In How to Become a Visible Expert in Your Practice Area Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE… Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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Charlène Gisèle | Banish Burnout to Optimize Performance and Happiness

Are you up late at night, pulling all-nighters, and burning out from the fast-paced nature of your job as a lawyer? As a former litigator, Charlène Gisèle loved all of it! She reveled in the things you’re not supposed to love. While she was thriving in her environment, though, she got a wake-up call that made her realize that she’d been neglecting something along the way. All signs pointed to burnout that affected her health and marriage. She took a drastic turn and eventually changed her focus from litigation to burnout prevention and high performance. Now, she’s fueled with a mission to lead the way in helping lawyers, leading law firms, and Fortune 500 companies optimize performance and transform their lives and businesses by banishing burnout. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast, you’ll learn how to optimize your performance and happiness through burnout combat and prevention. Charlène will reveal the 3Ds linked to neglect caused by stress and burnout, five aspects to determine where you are on the burnout spectrum, small shifts you need to decrease or break away from burnout, and so much more! 2:01 - The incident that made Charlène ask, “Will I survive my success?” and caused a career pivot 5:25 - Charlène’s radical approach to educating herself on ways to combat burnout and the mission it fueled within her 7:45 - How Charlène approaches lawyers who might not be as open to learning more about anything they suspect is woo-woo or out there 9:52 - Pain points (and their signs and symptoms) that affect those in the legal industry the most 11:37 - How the term ‘burnout’ gets misused and how Charlène figures out where someone is on the burnout spectrum 17:32 - What you can do to start stepping away from, minimizing, or preventing burnout (even if you have a really heavy workload) 23:22 - Why you should not just do anti-burnout techniques when you need to and how to anchor them as habits easily 26:56 - Example of how Charlène tailored a blueprint for working out for a hyper-successful client who didn’t feel he had the time for it 31:02 - A quick way to boost your energy and optimize the way you feel in the morning 32:05 - What law firms and organizations can do to help people overcome burnout challenges 35:33 - A recommendation that may help rekindle the love you have for your profession Connect with Charlène Gisèle Charlène Gisèle is a former Big Law litigator turned High-Performance Coach and founder of the unique Charlène Gisèle® Coaching method. Charlène empowers high-achieving professionals to prevent and recover from burnout without having to sacrifice their career. The power of her approach is not to work less, it is about recovering more, which is why her expertise has been featured in major publications and is sought after by world leading organisations and professionals. Charlène Gisèle | Instagram | LinkedIn The Charlène Gisèle Show Mentioned In Banish Burnout to Optimize Performance and Happiness with Charlène Gisèle Get Connected with The Coaching Team at The Lawyer’s Edge Sponsor for the episode... Today’s episode is brought to you by the coaching team at The Lawyer’s Edge, a training and coaching firm which has been focused exclusively on lawyers and law firms since 2008. Each member of The Lawyer’s Edge coaching team is a trained, certified, and experienced professional coach AND either a former practicing attorney or a former law firm marketing and business development professional. Whatever your professional objectives, our coaches can help you achieve your goals more quickly, more easily, and with significantly less stress. To get connected with YOUR coach, just email the team at


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Paula Edgar | How to Boldly Be YOU in Everything You Do

Paula T. Edgar, Esq. is the CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC, an organizational strategy firm providing training and educational services to promote professional development and DEI. As a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator, Paula develops customized programming for attendees, integrating personal branding, relationship building, and business development into each event. Additionally, she hosts the Branding Room Only podcast, which features career stories and strategies on how industry leaders and influencers have built their personal brands. As a civic leader, Paula is active in numerous organizations and social justice initiatives, including serving as a New York City Bar Board Officer, a Commissioner of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women, and as a past President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA). She was also a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellow and a Trustee of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation. Having written for and been featured in publications, including the New York Times and Bloomberg Law, Paula has received awards like the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Service Award and the Ms. JD “Women of Inspiration” award. As an attorney, she practiced employment and workplace discrimination law for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Paula has developed the Engage Your Hustle method, which teaches professionals to elevate their endeavors by asserting themselves boldly. In this episode… Law is a relationship-based profession. Because people are at the core of what you do as a lawyer, being approachable, likable, and REAL can be the key to growing the connections that lead to success and enjoyment. That means being professional, of course, while still showing up as your authentic self. Through adversity and unimaginable loss, former practicing lawyer and DEI advocate Paula Edgar has remained authentic and evolved her leadership skills to forge connections and promote inclusivity. She maintains that authenticity is a scale presented on various levels depending on the situation. You must identify an ideal level of interaction and engagement and present yourself accordingly through a crafted elevator pitch. Observe how your audience responds and leverage emotional intelligence to adjust your interactions. If executed correctly, your personal brand should inspire inclusivity and a sense of belonging. Join us for this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast as Elise Holtzman welcomes highly energetic guest Paula Edgar, a former practicing lawyer and the CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC, to chat about building a personal brand by being boldly authentic. Paula reveals how adversity has shaped her leadership approach, offers advice for lawyers who want to build their own unique brands, and shares practical tips for fostering genuinely inclusive environments.


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Gina Zapanta | No Excuses: The Power of Investing in Yourself and Others

Gina Zapanta is the Co-founder and Partner of Z.A. Lawyers, a firm dedicated to protecting injured workers’ rights. She is also the CEO of AlderLaw and the Founder of Empowered with Gina, a platform for women to embrace empowerment. Passionate about helping others empower themselves through education, motivation, and community-building, Gina offers events and wellness retreats for women to embrace their power and live life on their terms. As an advocate for employees and injured people, she has experience in contracting, healthcare management, and personal injury strategic partnership development. Gina served a two-term appointment on the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association’s Board of Retirement and was appointed to the California Organized Investment Network Commission by the California Insurance Commission. Dedicated to addressing education and food insecurities in underserved communities, Gina and her husband established a $100,000 endowment at Loyola Law School Los Angeles for a first-generation Latina to attend law school. She also contributes to many other causes to help further access to quality education and additional opportunities. Through her charitable contributions, Gina demonstrates the value of investing in yourself and others. In this episode… If you think you’re too busy to devote time and attention to having a deep impact on your own life and the lives of others, think again! Meet Gina Zapanta, a practicing attorney and the Founder of Empowered with Gina. With an unwavering commitment to community empowerment, self-empowered lawyer Gina Zapanta has created programs and endowments to offer transformational opportunities to motivated women and lawyers. Making a consequential difference in the community begins by helping yourself; you must remain accountable for your actions and decisions and develop your ideal life to achieve self-love. In addition to self-satisfaction, charitable contributions allow you to market your law firm authentically, developing a mission that extends beyond the scope of traditional law. Listen in as Elise Holtzman, host of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, interviews Gina about how to invest in yourself and others through community involvement and a fierce devotion to pursuing success and bringing others with you. Gina doesn’t pull any punches as she shares the benefits of women’s empowerment programs, the typical barriers to freeing up time for what you really want, and how to empower yourself personally and professionally.


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Kelly Culhane | Keeping It Real: How To Make a Difference for Yourself and Others

Kelly Rittenberry Culhane is the Founder and Managing Partner of Culhane Meadows, the largest full-service, women-owned law firm in the US. She is a member of the firm’s insurance and outsourcing practice groups, where she handles sourcing human resources, professional services, consultant functions, and risk management counseling. Kelly has over 20 years of experience advising clients on insurance and risk-management matters. Her authenticity makes her a trustworthy and reliable advisor to her clients. As a former trial attorney at one of the world’s largest firms, Kelly represented individual accountants and the Big Three firms in complex regulatory matters and was appointed to serve on a task force for a Fortune 100 company advising on CPA regulatory issues. Since 2014, she has been recognized by her peers and clients as one of D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas. Kelly has been named “First Person” by Womenetics, an organization focused on advancing women as business leaders. As a member of the Board of Directors for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, she mentors and advocates for survivors of exploitation and human trafficking. Through her charitable contributions, Kelly makes a considerable difference for herself and her community. In this episode… Most lawyers want to create positive impact for themselves and others. But how do you do that when faced with daily responsibilities, a mountain of work, and constant pressure to bill hours? After experiencing burnout from working 100-hour weeks at a global law firm, Kelly Rittenberry Culhane created an innovative law firm that defies traditional structures. She implemented an objective formulaic compensation system and established an environment that allowed women and diverse individuals to thrive. If you’re facing an internal battle and are struggling to take action, Kelly advises being realistic with yourself to gain the confidence to make profound decisions. By venturing out of your comfort zone, subverting established norms in the legal profession, and remaining humble, you can impact yourself and your clients. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman interviews Kelly Rittenberry Culhane, a Founder and the Managing Partner of Culhane Meadows, about making a difference by being true to yourself. Kelly talks about her involvement with YoungLives, how she attracts attorneys who share her firm’s values and goals, and her history as a litigator.


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Carolyn Blessing & Mehtap Cevher Conti | How Women’s Initiatives Can Create Maximum Impact

Carolyn Blessing is a Partner at Locke Lord LLP, a premier full-service law firm. In her practice, she focuses on IP pharmaceutical matters and Hatch-Waxman litigation. With experience in the FDA regulatory, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, Carolyn represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in all aspects of federal IP litigation, including pre-litigation, fact and expert discovery, claim construction, motion practice, pre- and post-trial, and appellate phases. Carolyn serves on Locke Lord’s women’s initiative committee and served as the hiring partner for the Chicago office. Before joining Locke Lord, Carolyn was a lead associate for a family of four complex patent litigations at Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, involving both patent infringement and Hatch-Waxman litigation. She also assisted with all aspects of patent prosecution and counseling for biotechnology companies. Carolyn is the National Board Co-chair of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, a non-profit membership association supporting women in law firms and companies. She has been involved in numerous leadership positions at the organization and serves as a board member and Co-chair of the Professional Development Committee for Chicago Women in Intellectual Property. Dedicated to promoting women in the legal profession, Carolyn demonstrates how women’s initiatives maximize impact. Mehtap Cevher Conti is a Partner at Hogan Lovells’ Corporate and Finance Practice, where she focuses on asset finance in the aviation and transportation industries. She has experience working with clients on secured debt, revolving credit facilities, leveraged and operating leases, and portfolio acquisitions. Mehtap also handles asset-backed structured financing for commercial and investment banks, insurance companies, financial institutions, aircraft operating lessors, and airlines. Having managed financial transactions involving multiple global jurisdictions, she advises clients on the purchasing and lease financing of corporate aircraft and helicopters. Before joining Hogan Lovells, Mehtap worked in private practice, where she focused on global transportation finance. She has been recognized in The Legal 500 US for asset finance and leasing and by Chambers & Partners for transportation and aviation finance. Mehtap serves in leadership positions in multiple organizations and non-profit associations, including those promoting the advancement and retention of women in the legal profession. As the National Board Co-chair of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, she promotes women’s initiatives for maximum impact in the legal industry. In this episode… As the legal profession continues to tackle the twin challenges of women lawyers leaving the law more frequently than men and a disproportionately low percentage of women in leadership positions, internal and external women’s initiatives have become a welcome source of information and support. What are the top things women’s initiatives can do to have a positive impact on the retention and advancement of women in the profession? As fierce advocates for women in law, associates Carolyn Blessing and Mehtap Cevher Conti note three core pillars of effective women’s initiatives: programming, networking, and credentialing. These associations should foster authentic relationships with women and help them build their careers. Initiative leaders can also recruit and recommend other women for leadership roles, instilling confidence and community. By providing networking opportunities and mentorship in both internal and external women’s initiatives, you can strengthen your firm and provide alternative perspectives. On today’s episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman hosts Carolyn Blessing and Mehtap Cevher Conti, private practice attorneys and Co-chairs of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, who talk about enhancing value and driving change through women’s initiatives. Together, they...


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Audrey Miller | Why and How To Support Your Law Firm’s Revenue Enablers

Audrey Miller is an Operational Excellence Consultant at Calibrate, an executive search and organizational consultancy helping law firms optimize their talent, processes, and performance. Calibrate offers executive search and talent management operations strategies like business assessments, analytics and implementation, and leadership advice to help law firms reach their fullest potential in revenue, operations, and growth. As a strategic advisor to law firm leaders, Audrey helps business services teams enhance efficiencies and collaboration, improve the alignment of structure, roles, and accountability, and identify and communicate ROI. Before joining Calibrate, she spent over a decade in marketing and business development at various firms ranging from a top Am Law 100 firm to a litigation boutique. In these roles, Audrey developed and implemented initiatives to strengthen client relationships and grow firm revenue. She partners with key stakeholders to evaluate and optimize people, processes, and systems, boosting the performance of legal marketing and business development teams. With broad experience, practical guidance, and a results-oriented approach, Audrey instructs law firms on the practicalities and importance of supporting revenue enablers. In this episode… Many law firm leaders resist the prospect of outsourcing C-level executives to manage firm operations. Yet those same attorneys typically lack the time and effort required to drive strategy and growth, reducing consistent revenue generation and limiting the growth of the firm. How can law firm leaders collaborate with executives to optimize revenue, operations, and performance? According to law firm performance driver Audrey Miller, legal marketers, business developers, and other executives are revenue enablers who leverage their expertise to manage firm operations, allowing attorneys to focus on their strengths. When acquiring these professionals, firm leaders must consider their revenue and operational goals to fill relevant positions. Communicating expectations with these executives and allowing them to develop relationships with firm members and understand current practice operations is crucial for success. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman sits down with Audrey Miller, the Operational Excellence Consultant at Calibrate, to discuss how law firm leaders can work with “revenue enablers” to optimize performance. Audrey addresses foundational hiring considerations for small to midsize firms, pertinent operational and leadership trends in the legal industry, and the knowledge gap between managing partners and law firm administrators.


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Heidi K. Brown | The Flourishing Lawyer: Achieve Optimal Performance AND Well-Being

Heidi K. Brown is the Associate Dean for Upper Level Writing at the New York Law School and a former litigator in the construction industry. As a University of Virginia School of Law graduate, she earned her master’s degree in applied positive psychology in 2021. Heidi is an internationally recognized speaker and the author of three books about lawyer and law student well-being, including The Introverted Lawyer, Untangling Fear in Lawyering, and The Flourishing Lawyer. Having struggled with performance anxiety as a law student, attorney, and new law professor, Heidi untangled her fears and embraced authenticity as a powerful asset in teaching and practicing law. She advocates for openly discussing stressors, anxieties, and fears in the legal profession. Heidi has garnered several awards for her work, including recognition for outstanding contributions to well-being and legal education from the Association of American Law School’s section on balancing well-being and legal education. She helps quiet and anxious law students and lawyers harness individual strengths to become advocates for work and achieve optimal performance and well-being. In this episode… When facing public speaking anxiety and other stressors, lawyers and law students are often told to fake it until they make it or simply conquer their fears. Yet this advice is futile for introverts who rely on quiet spaces to recharge. How can lawyers (whether or not they are introverts) overcome these anxieties by leveraging their authentic personas, and how can law firm leaders support this practice? Having wrestled with introversion, social anxiety, and shyness, legal well-being advocate Heidi K. Brown struggled to overcome deeply embedded fears of judgment and criticism that caused her to shut down. After researching these widespread experiences, she learned that while these lawyers often can’t perform in the same manner as their extroverted counterparts, they can harness unique skills through legal writing and creative problem-solving to gain confidence and execute their authentic selves. This requires deconstructing fears by identifying their physical manifestations. When law firm leaders encourage creativity and authenticity, they benefit from optimal performance, potential, and intelligence. In today’s episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman interviews Heidi K. Brown, a prolific author on how lawyers thrive and the Associate Dean for Upper Level Writing at the New York Law School, about promoting lawyer and law students’ performance and well-being. Heidi describes the difference between introversion and shyness, how she honed an authentic public speaking persona, and notable takeaways from her books.


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Shaun Jardine | Stop Billing Hours! Why and How To Embrace Value Pricing

Shaun Jardine is the Managing Director of Big Yellow Penguin, which encourages businesses to adopt alternative pricing methods. As a non-practicing solicitor and mediator, Shaun served as the Commercial Director and CEO of Brethertons LLP, a top UK 250 law firm. During his tenure, he led the design and implementation of a value-based pricing project that reflected the services delivered to clients. Shaun is the author of Ditch The Billable Hour!, which is scheduled for publication on January 22, 2024. With experience in marketing and business development, he has created large and exceptional legal teams in niche areas, including property management debt recovery, catastrophic injury, and leasehold enfranchisement. As an international speaker, Shaun has spoken at business and legal industry events in the UK and the US to advocate for business pricing changes. With a unique insight into what makes law firms tick, he helps them understand why and how to transition from billable hours to value pricing. In this episode… Law firms have employed the billable hour pricing method for decades. Should they keep doing it? It turns out that the billable hour can actually hinder revenue growth and that value-based pricing is a viable, growth-oriented alternative when used properly. What are the benefits of value pricing, and how can law firms implement it to boost their bottom lines? Lawyers aren't always receptive to change, so when introduced to the concept of value pricing, they may resist based on the belief that their clients won’t benefit from it. However, having implemented value-based pricing at a leading law firm, seasoned mitigator Shaun Jardine says that allowing clients to choose between various service levels priced accordingly creates transparency and maximizes the service value clients receive. Additionally, this system provides clients with clear terms and conditions while ensuring more precise financial forecasting for firms. Implementing value pricing requires creating a pilot program to categorize and price each service appropriately to maintain consistency throughout the firm. In today’s episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman welcomes Shaun Jardine, the Managing Director of Big Yellow Penguin and the author of Ditch the Billable Hour: Implementing Value-Based Pricing in a Law Firm, to talk about transitioning from the billable hour to value pricing. Shaun explains the differences between flat fee billing and value-based pricing, how to structure service prices, and his career trajectory from recovering lawyer to value pricing advocate.


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Erin Kuzz | The Top Investments To Make in Your Firm’s Lawyers

Erin Kuzz is a Founding Partner and Lawyer at Sherrard Kuzz LLP, a labor and employment law firm. In her practice, she assists employers in various aspects of the employment relationship, including pre-screening and hiring, employment contracts, training and development, and employment standards issues. Erin also consults with non-union employers and helps unionized employers manage issues like bargaining and grievance arbitration and ending employment relationships. Erin is recognized as one of Canada’s leading labor and employment lawyers by Lexpert, Chambers Global, Who’s Who Legal, and Best Lawyers. As a leading lawyer, she is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the former Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Ontario Bar Association. Erin speaks frequently at national conferences about various labor and employment law topics and has taught at Canada’s leading law schools. Having founded Sherrard Kuzz in 2001 and practiced for over 25 years, she understands that investing in your lawyers’ personal and professional growth is crucial for firm success. In this episode… Traditionally, attorneys remained loyal to a single firm, advancing from junior associate to partner. Today, lawyers shift from firm to firm to pursue greater development opportunities with leaders who prioritize their personal and professional endeavors. In particular, women lawyers struggle to balance raising children, caring for aging parents, and excelling in their careers. How can law firms invest in their attorneys to retain top talent? As a seasoned attorney, Erin Kuzz received backlash and harsh demands from male senior lawyers. After taking the reins and becoming a partner, she gained the respect of her peers. Having witnessed young lawyers leave firms that don’t nurture their abilities and needs, Erin recommends these firms remain flexible to allow attorneys to prioritize responsibilities and explore additional growth opportunities. Even if your lawyers leave your firm to pursue other possibilities, they’re more likely to return when you invest in their personal and professional development. In today’s episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman hosts Erin Kuzz, the Founding Partner and Lawyer at Sherrard Kuzz LLP, to talk about the investments law firms should make in their lawyers. Erin shares her initial mistakes as a partner, how to manage burnout as a female lawyer, and the lessons she learned from some of her most valued mentors.


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Rich Bracken | Earn More and Stress Less by Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence

Rich Bracken is an executive speaker coach, corporate culture consultant, and keynote speaker on emotional intelligence, leadership, motivation, and business differentiation. For over 20 years, he has researched how various leadership styles and employee engagement tactics impact businesses and teams. Through content, thought leadership, data-driven insights, and research, Rich drives sustainable change for individuals and organizations. As a trusted advisor, he has been featured on media channels such as Fox News, CBS News, and Reader’s Digest and has worked with global organizations, including the Legal Marketing Association. Rich is also the Founder of RB Consulting, a performance improvement firm focused on coaching and consulting top business leaders, organizations, and celebrities on goal achievement, personal branding, and public speaking. Rich has served as a professor of leadership, creating educational and training videos for internal leadership development. As a media personality and passionate servant leader, his unique blend of empathy and positivity resonates with professionals from diverse backgrounds. Rich’s ability to combine knowledge with compassion and results with care allows him to cultivate organizational well-being and teach executives how to increase their emotional intelligence to earn more and stress less. In this episode… The legal profession is considered one of the most demanding careers, with lawyers regularly encountering high-stress situations. These high-pressure circumstances trigger the fight-or-flight response, pushing you to persist but impacting critical thinking and compromising performance and client relationships. How can you reduce stress in your personal and professional life to boost productivity and increase your income? After a severe panic attack that left him hospitalized, Rich Bracken discovered the value of emotional intelligence for identifying and managing stress. Developing this skill requires possessing the self-awareness to recognize your emotions and adjusting your responses to manage these feelings effectively. Yet research shows that only 15% of people are emotionally intelligent, and lawyers are highly skeptical of this school of thought. Rich maintains that lawyer burnout is inevitable, so rather than waiting for it to occur, you can take time to document your emotions and restructure your day accordingly. Tune in to this edition of The Lawyer's Edge Podcast as host Elise Holtzman introduces executive speaker coach Rich Bracken, who talks about developing emotional intelligence to reduce stress and maximize income. Rich describes how to identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses, how highly sensitive servant leaders can cultivate emotional intelligence, and his engaging program for mastering the skill.


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Barnaby Merrill | Will Your Law Firm Be Successful in 15 Years?

Barnaby Merrill is an Editor for The Legal 500, one of the world’s leading legal directories, which annually updates its comprehensive research to provide insights into the global legal market. The publication assesses the strength of law firms in more than 150 jurisdictions. As editor of The Legal 500’s US-related content, Barnaby is responsible for the annual rankings of more than 300 US law firms across various practice areas. He joined The Legal 500 after receiving a BA in history and politics and a Masters in US foreign policy. With experience in writing, interviewing, and research, Barnaby has conducted research for several Legal 500 guides and contributed to its magazine as a writer. He also hosts The Legal 500 Podcast, where he interviews lawyers and law professionals about key issues, including social mobility and ESG. Barnaby, an active participant in the coverage of the US legal market, analyzes long-term law firm strategies. The primary focus of his work is to assess the 15-year success rate of top firms. His research and expertise enable him to provide valuable insights into the trends and patterns that shape the US legal market. Through his work, Barnaby contributes significantly to understanding the strategies that lead to long-term success in the legal industry. In this episode… Amid economic volatility, clients spend less, and law firms try to maintain profitability while adapting to emerging trends and demands. As the industry focuses on technology investments and developing ESG principles and internal culture, it may seem difficult to prioritize these initiatives. How can you ensure the ongoing success of your law firm well into the future? With a deep understanding of the US legal market, Barnaby Merrill notes that leading law firms forecast and analyze overall market trends to develop long-term strategies. Rather than observing adjacent law firms in your sector, it’s wise to assess the larger business community for client needs, emerging work styles, and culture integrations. To remain successful over the next 15 years, you must listen to clients, legal talent, and the legal and business market to establish a robust culture and future-proof your firm. In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman chats with Barnaby Merrill, Editor for The Legal 500 United States, about how to assess and drive law firm success. Barnaby explains how The Legal 500 assesses law firm efficacy, how to select qualified law firm leaders, and strategies for addressing client demands.


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Roslyn Tsao | Managing Your People: How To Drive Efficiency and Performance at Your Law Firm

Roslyn Tsao is the Managing Partner at Epstein Cole LLP, a boutique family law firm where she manages operations, recruitment, and student programs. As a family law attorney, she specializes in parenting arrangements, property division, and support issues and represents high-net-worth individuals with complex assets or compensation structures. Roslyn has appeared on motions, conferences, and trials in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and argued appeals at the Ontario Court of Appeal. She is also frequently retained as a mediator and arbitrator in private disputes. Roslyn is an Associate Editor of the Reports of Family Law and has taught family law courses at Osgoode Hall Law School and will teach at the University of Toronto Law School in 2024. She is the 2022 recipient of the Award of Excellence in Family Law and has a Band 1 ranking in the Chambers & Partners Global High Net Worth Guide in Family/Matrimonial. With prior experience in employment, wills and estates, criminal, real estate, and taxation law, Roslyn has achieved favorable outcomes for clients by focusing on practical, results-oriented legal advice and ongoing dialogue. Her expertise in the courtroom and role as Managing Partner enables her to manage attorneys effectively to drive law firm efficiency and performance. In this episode… Our legal education certainly didn’t cover how to best manage and lead people, meaning that most lawyers who assume leadership roles are learning on the job and figuring it out as they go (or to put it another way, “flying by the seat of their pants”). When you are one doing the managing and leading, what are some of the ways in which you can facilitate productivity and efficiency at your firm while at the same time fostering a desirable organizational culture? With over three decades of experience in the legal field, family law attorney Roslyn Tsao has become a coveted leader at her firm. She notes that attorneys today prioritize satisfaction in their careers and personal lives, so managing partners should facilitate a delicate balance to encourage professional development. Identifying your staff’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses allows you to cultivate empathy, deliver value, and boost performance and your firm’s bottom line. Additionally, Roslyn emphasizes educating lawyers on supplemental roles at the firm to reduce workload. Join Elise Holtzman for this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast as she interviews Roslyn Tsao, the Managing Partner at Epstein Cole LLP, about her experience managing lawyers to increase firm productivity and efficiency. Roslyn shares the ideal attributes of lawyers in a boutique law firm, how to terminate attorneys tactfully, and how professional talent management roles have evolved. Spoiler alert: Empathy drives more productivity and efficiency!


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Bree Buchanan | Stigma and Silence – Tackling the Legal Industry’s Mental Health Crisis

Bree Buchanan is a Senior Advisor at Krill Strategies, which improves lawyer well-being by reducing the impact of mental health issues and substance abuse in the legal profession. With a 30-year career as a litigator, lobbyist, law professor, and legal assistance program director, she was a Founding Co-chair of the National Task Force of Lawyer Well-Being and co-authored its report, The Path to Well-Being. Bree is a member of the Lawyer Well-Being Committee of the National Bar Association. From 2013-2018, she was the Director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, where she worked with lawyers experiencing behavioral health issues and legal employers seeking resources and support for their staff. Bree frequently speaks for national and international law organizations and global law firms on lawyer well-being and impairment issues. As the co-host of the Path to Well-Being in Law podcast, Bree shares her story of addiction recovery, and her writing has appeared in publications, including Law Practice Today and The American Lawyer. With a warm presentation style and engaging presence, she breaks the stigma and silence of mental health to tackle the crisis in the legal industry. In this episode… According to the ALM, 35% of lawyers feel detached and isolated, often leading to anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders. This is especially prevalent among younger attorneys, who must navigate steep learning curves and face pressure to exceed expectations. What resources can law firms offer to promote lawyers’ mental health and well-being? With so much stigma surrounding mental health in the legal profession, many lawyers struggle to disclose their challenges. After experiencing burnout and alcoholism from a demanding career in law, Bree Buchanan became dedicated to sharing her experiences with others. Hearing stories from lawyers facing similar issues fosters connection and encouragement to seek help. Additionally, law firms can provide confidential employee assistance programs (EAP) with professional psychologists. However, reducing the pervasiveness of mental health issues in the legal profession requires easing work-hour expectations and motivating employees to take vacation time. In today’s episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman welcomes her guest Bree Buchanan, a Senior Advisor at Krill Strategies, for a conversation about addressing the mental health crisis in the legal profession. Bree shares mental health resources promoting confidentiality, how to raise awareness of substance abuse in the industry, and the increased mental health epidemic among younger lawyers.


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Jessica Fairchild | How Flexibility and an Entrepreneurial Mindset Can Lead To Explosive Growth

Jessica Fairchild is a Partner at Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres, a certified women’s business enterprise counseling clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. As a lawyer, law firm leader, women’s advocate, and entrepreneur, she serves as Co-chair of the firm’s Management Committee. Over her 23-year legal career, Jessica has served as a mergers and acquisitions attorney, counseling founders, private equity sponsors, family enterprises, and corporations on both the buyer and seller sides. She also has experience with general counsel law and corporate governance, securities, joint ventures, and negotiating sponsorship transactions and key commercial agreements. Before founding Croke Fairchild, Jessica founded and managed several additional law firms and served as General Counsel for Chicago 2016, the non-profit and civic organization that led Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games. Her flexible and entrepreneurial approach to acting as a legal and business advisor has allowed her to facilitate explosive growth for diverse organizations. In this episode… Many lawyers don’t have an entrepreneurial background and may struggle to grow their firms effectively. These professionals either don’t know how to execute a strategy or lose top talent when trying to maintain culture at scale. How can you build a durable and impactful law firm? After serving as general counsel for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid, the city lost the competition, prompting business-minded attorney Jessica Fairchild to explore additional opportunities. Her passion for entrepreneurship and desire for flexibility allowed her to launch and scale a firm that values professional growth. One of the most vital aspects of firm success is building an attractive and valuable culture. This involves providing attorneys with the flexibility to pursue their passions and allowing each team member to share ideas and voice their concerns directly to management, creating a unified environment. On this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Jessica Fairchild, a Partner at Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres, joins Elise Holtzman to talk about growing a law firm through flexibility and entrepreneurship. Jessica shares her transition from BigLaw to founding a midsize law firm, the common mistakes of scaling a firm, and how to include your entire team in your culture.