Lots of seminars and conferences promise to arm busy professionals with the “tools for success,” whether that’s the latest software, networking techniques or skills for managing time and money. But one recent workshop sought to bring local legal professionals together to rethink what “success” even means in the first place.
A small but enthusiastic group at- tended the On Purpose Legal Workshop, held January 17 at The Commons on Champa in downtown Denver. The workshop’s creators hope it will be the start of a community dedicated to change in the legal profession and are planning on more events over the next year in Denver and Chicago.
OPLW, the brainchild of Colorado attorney Lauren Lester and Chicago-based Jessica Bednarz, was in- spired by the personal experiences of its founders and the malaise that affects many in the legal field.
“[We] had this recurring experience that we would either meet some- one who was in the profession and had left or was really struggling within this profession because they just didn’t feel like they fit into it for whatever reason,” said Lester, who practices family law in Denver.
A lot of the problems in the profession are already well known and, thanks to studies like the ABA’s re- ports on attorney well-being, have even been quantified. Many of the industry’s troubles can be traced to the billable hour business model, Bednarz said, citing a favorite lawyer com- plaint.
But OPLW explored other stressors that attorneys might be more reluctant to discuss openly, like the feeling of not being smart enough to be in the profession or their fears of failure.
The full-day workshop began with a discussion on finding one’s purpose and staying focused on it. The session was led by two local entrepreneurs who have built careers around helping businesses find their purpose: Nathan Havey, founder of Thrive Consulting Group, and Conscious Company Media co-founder Meghan French Dunbar.