[Podcast] RL 94: Michelle Wimes — Diversity and Inclusion: What Does Your Diversity Story Look Like?


 

 

 

In this episode, I am excited to have Michelle Wimes on to talk about Diversity and Inclusion and the importance of sharing your diversity story.

Michelle Wimes serves as the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer at one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms. In her role, Michelle leads the firm’s efforts to attract, develop, and advance a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s national platform. Additionally, Michelle leads the firm’s attorney training and professional development efforts.

 

Topics Covered

  • Her incredible journey from being a lawyer in a multitude of different law specialties, to the D&I Professional she is today and her thoughts on diversity and inclusion in today’s law firm. She talks on the challenges she faced as a woman of color that is a lawyer, and how far we have come and have yet to go with social biases and constructs.
  • How Ogletree approaches D&I, by both creating a common language that imbues diversity in the firm’s mission and values while making diversity a shared responsibility with everyone.
  • How to get buy-in from white males on D&I efforts, and getting away from the zero-sum game mentality on diversity that some non-person of color lawyers can feel.
  • How getting involved with different D&I events and organizations and spreading your network there can greatly affect how lawyers view D&I in their own firm.

 

 

Questions? Comments? Email Jeena! [email protected]. You can also connect with Jeena on Twitter: @Jeena_Cho

For more information, visit: jeenacho.com

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Transcript

Michelle Wimes: [00:00:00] We don’t feel like diversity should just be siloed over by itself to one thing, right? We really believe that diversity should be tied into the talent management process. It needs to be tied into how we recruit people, how we hire people.

Intro: [00:00:18] Welcome to The Resilient Lawyer podcast. In this podcast, we have meaningful, in-depth conversations with lawyers, entrepreneurs, and change agents. We offer tools and strategies for creating a more joyful and satisfying life. And now your host, Jeena Cho.

Jeena Cho: [00:00:43] Hello my friends, thanks for being with us today. In this episode, I am so happy to have Michelle Wimes. She serves as the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer at one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms. In her role, Michelle leads the firm’s efforts to attract, develop, and advance a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s national platform. Additionally, Michelle leads the firm’s attorney training and professional development efforts.

[00:01:11] Before we get into the interview, if you haven’t listened to the last bonus episode go back and check it out. I shared a 6 minute guided meditation practice to help you let go of stress and anxiety. It’s a preview for my course, Mindful Pause. So often I hear from lawyers that they know they should be practicing mindfulness, but they just don’t have the time. And I always tell lawyers, start with just six minutes or .1 hour. Of all the hours you dedicate to your clients, work, and others, don’t you deserve to have at least .1 hour to yourself? Mindful Pause is designed for lawyers like you, to fit into your hectic schedule. Think of it like taking your daily vitamins to boost your well-being. Head on over to JeenaCho.com to learn more, or check it out in the show notes.

And with that, here’s Michelle. Michelle, welcome to the show.

Michelle Wimes: [00:01:58] Thank you Jeena, happy to be here.

Jeena Cho: [00:02:01] So to get us started, can you give us a 30-second introduction of who you are and what you do?

Michelle Wimes: [00:02:08] Certainly. I grew up in the Midwest, in Kansas City, Missouri, and I’ve always been interested in other cultures and languages. I’ve had a proclivity in Spanish; in fact, my major in college was Spanish. And I lived abroad in Mexico and Spain for a year, and it’s just interesting because I reflect on being made fun of for being an African-American woman or girl who learned another language, and people just didn’t understand why I wanted to learn another language and they really kidded me. Like, what are you going to do with that in Kansas City, Missouri and living in the Midwest? And so I’ve always just found myself being an advocate for equity and representation, and for women particularly, being able to do things outside the norm.

So for the last 10 years, I would call myself (and the work that I’ve done over the last 10 years) an inclusion strategist and a cultural innovator. And particularly, I think my focus has been on challenging leaders and organizations to move beyond the status quo and to really interrupt their own biases so that they can ultimately create environments where diverse talent can thrive. And I try to do that by developing organizational solutions; that includes everything from creating the necessary infrastructure, advocating for and adopting inclusive policies, equipping our leaders to be more culturally competent to understand what cultural competence means, and also developing innovative programming and initiatives that are talent-based strategies. So that’s what I do in my day job, and I also do a lot of speaking and training on diversity and equity and inclusion as well.

Jeena Cho: [00:04:05] Did you start as a practicing lawyer before you moved into the D&I space?

Michelle Wimes: [00:04:11] I did, I did. It’s been about 24 years. I was just thinking about that this morning, how long has it been since I’ve been out of law school? And I graduated 24 years ago. I practice law for about 14 years, so I’ve been on the administrative side doing diversity and/or professional development for the past 10 years. And my focus area when I was practicing was mostly in the employment arena, some immigration law, I did discrimination and harassment, and I also practiced education law; I’ve represented a number of school districts and worked with quite a few school board members, superintendents, principals, administrators. So I really enjoyed that area as well. And then I also had a five-year stint where I did some product liability work, particularly I was able to utilize my Spanish speaking skills and travel quite a bit, working to develop expert witnesses in tobacco litigation.

[00:05:14] I loved that work because it took me all over Latin America; I was working in Brazil and Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica. I just really, really loved that work; I loved going into different cultures and being able to utilize my Spanish. And they got us a Portuguese tutor at one point, so I was learning a little bit of how to speak Portuguese. I never really picked up a whole lot of it, but I got to the point where I could at least be proficient and read Portuguese. Because we had a lot of documents that were coming in in Portuguese, and we needed to be able to read, catalogue, and sort through those.

Jeena Cho: [00:05:56] So in your many decades of practicing law, when you look back on it in hindsight do you feel like we’re making progress towards having more diversity and inclusion in our law firms? How does it feel to you, having gone through being a practicing lawyer and then moving more into the leadership arena?

Michelle Wimes: [00:06:18] I do feel like we are making progress, I feel like it is incremental progress though. I don’t feel like it’s like I can just look and say, oh my gosh we have so many more attorneys of color than we had 20 years ago. I don’t see it in that respect. Where I do see it is I do see more women moving into leadership roles in law firms, I do see more women serving in and becoming equity partners and things of that nature. But in terms of attorneys of color, those numbers still are very abysmal. And even when you look at African-American attorneys in particular, and African-American female attorneys, the numbers are just so very small. So there is much work that remains to be done.

Jeena Cho: [00:07:11] Are there experiences or stories that stand out to you, an experience that you went through because you’re African-American that other people let’s say who are white would not have, when you were practicing law or just in your professional experience?

Michelle Wimes: [00:07:32] I would say there are a number of experiences that I’ve had as a woman of color practicing law, that I think probably other women of color can identify with. I remember going into a deposition once and they thought that I was the paralegal. Another time they thought I was the court reporter or the person who transcribes the depositions and things like that. And I was like, no I’m actually here to take the deposition. I just remember having those kinds of experiences can be very disheartening because they speak to.. and I had to learn this the hard way, because initially when something like that happens you internalize it and you think that something’s wrong with you. But you have to recognize that that speaks to that person’s own bias and that person’s own personal and professional experiences as to what their expectations are for who opposing counsel should be or what opposing counsel should look like, or what an attorney looks like, right?

[00:08:55] And I speak to other women of color attorneys, even younger women now that I mentor and sponsor, who still have even in 2018 those kinds of experiences. And it’s disheartening because we ARE in 2018, and you just wouldn’t think that those kinds of things still happen, but they do.

Jeena Cho: [00:09:16] Yeah, I’m surprised at how common that is. I remember being a baby attorney and walking into the courtroom and the judge looked at me and said, “Are you the Asian language interpreter?” And that question just completely perplexed me, because I was like what, so I know how to speak all 150 Asian languages and the thousand dialects?

Michelle Wimes: [00:09:39] Right, assumptions that that judge is making based on your appearance and based on what you look like, and it’s just ridiculous. I remember one of my first trials that I had, and the judge addressed me as “little missy.” It had to be 20 years ago, right? I was probably a fourth-year associate, fifth-year associate and yeah. The judge, who shall remain unnamed, that is how he referred to me until I had to pull him aside and say, “Could you please call me Mrs. (because I was married at the time) Patterson-Wimes?” And he finally stopped. And of course, he didn’t call my co-counsel, who was a male partner at the firm that I was working with, “little mister.” But I was a little missy, in front of the jury mind you.

Jeena Cho: [00:10:43] Yeah, and of course you can’t react. You really just have to keep a poker face when the judge says something like that in front of the jury, because you don’t want the jury to get a bad impression of you if correct him.

Michelle Wimes: [00:11:01] Yeah, because if you correct them right there in front of the jury, you look like the person who is the a-hole. So you have to be very careful with how you handle that.

Jeena Cho: [00:11:12] Yeah, it’s that Goldilocks Dilemma; you can’t be too aggressive but you can’t be too polite, and you can’t be too nice but you can’t be too mean.

Michelle Wimes: [00:11:23] Exactly, exactly.

Jeena Cho: [00:11:26] Well, maybe we can shift the conversation a little bit and chat about.. you obviously work in a large law firm, and I would imagine that trying to think about diversity when you have such a large pool of attorneys and also staff, I would imagine it’s overwhelming. What’s your approach for thinking about diversity and inclusion? Because I think this is such a complex issue, right? It’s not just about the numbers, it’s not just about saying, well we hire so many of these type of mixture of people. But it’s about retention and who gets placed into leadership roles; there are so many different angles to think about. So I guess the overarching goal in terms of how you and the firm think about diversity and inclusion.

Michelle Wimes: [00:12:22] The overarching goal for us is to attract super talented lawyers; to attract them to our firm, to recruit them here. And then once they’re here, to develop them and to create wonderful opportunities so that they can learn and they can grow. And once they have matured and they’ve gained a certain skillset, we then want to encourage them to move into leadership positions in the firm, encourage them to become rainmakers, to be key relationships stakeholders with our clients. We just see diversity as kind of a progression, there’s a continuum. And we want to, no matter what the person’s gender or sexual orientation or gender identity or religion or race or ethnicity, we want to make sure that we’re embracing all parts of that.

[00:13:29] Those people are talent that’s coming in the door, and that they have those opportunities to grow. I’m glad you asked me this question because I do think that Ogletree is a little different in the way we approach diversity because we have combined diversity and inclusion with our professional development department. In some firms, you’ll see they’ve combined diversity with recruiting, which that makes sense. For Ogletree though, and I think we’re rare, we’re probably one a handful, maybe one of 5 or 6 AM Law 100 firms that combine diversity and professional development. And we do that very intentionally and strategically because we don’t feel like diversity should just be siloed over by itself to one thing, right? We really believe that diversity should be tied into the talent management process, it needs to be tied into how we recruit people, how we hire people. What are the programs that we’re developing, what are the initiatives that we have in place so that people are learning and growing, and then how do we promote our talent and how do we move them through that pipeline?

So our attorneys, we want them to be culturally competent. We want them to be able to work across all different perspectives and beliefs and to understand how to work with different people from different backgrounds. We believe that just as important as writing is to a lawyer’s career, learning how to research, learning the professional skillset that you need to be a good attorney, leadership training, client development. We believe that along with all of those things, it’s also really important to be inclusive, to act inclusive, to be culturally competent. And so that’s why we’ve combined the two of these things together and that’s how we approach it, because we feel like to be successful in a 21st century environment where it’s increasingly global, you need to know how to get along with people and you need to know how to respect people, and you need to know how to embrace people from different backgrounds and experiences and perspectives.

Jeena Cho: [00:15:45] Yeah. I often find (I don’t know if you probably have this experience too) that people want to delegate diversity and inclusion, like well we have that person who manages all the diversity and inclusion. But it’s really hard to fold in that conversation in everyday situations. Like there’s some meeting, everyone’s sitting around and have people look around the room and say, oh this is not a very diverse pool of people. And how do we go about actually adding some more diversity? How do you shift away from delegating diversity and inclusion to either yourself (since that word is in your title), to filtering it into people’s consciousness? And have them look around the room and say, everyone in this room is a white male. You know, whatever that situation might be.

Michelle Wimes: [00:16:50] I think that it’s really important to make diversity personal. I think you have to personalize it, right? I think that everybody should feel responsibility for ensuring that we have diverse voices at the table. And the only way that you’re going to do that is when it becomes everybody’s responsibility. It’s not just the responsibility of the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer, it’s not just the responsibility of the Professional Development and Inclusion Team. So it is creating a common language so that people understand that this is part of our firm’s mission; this is part of our core values, to make sure that we have diverse voices at the table.

[00:17:37] How do you get those diverse voices at the table? Many times, it’s when you have people from diverse backgrounds and people who have diverse experiences. And the proxy for that many times is people of different genders and races and ethnicities and sexual orientations and what have you. So from my perspective, I want to equip and empower my leaders. I want to make sure that we’re speaking a common language; that they understand what diversity and inclusion is, why it’s important, why it’s a core value in the firm, and what they can do to promote diversity and inclusion. So when I’m not in the room, and I shouldn’t have to be in every single room, it is something that they can carry forward as a core value in the firm. It’s not something that I or somebody on my team has to be in the room for it to be thought about or for it to be a priority.

It is because we are all operating from the same language, we are all operating from the same set of core values, and whether you’re a white male or a white female or an Asian female or Hispanic male, you’re in the room; you need to be equipped to be able to feel confident enough to advocate and to have conversations advocating for diversity and advocating for an inclusive environment. And we can talk about this a little later, because I know one of the other questions you want to talk about is how do you get the buy-in from white males on diversity, and I can go into that later because I do think that there are some tools that firms can utilize, that chief diversity officers can utilize in getting everyone to personalize what diversity means and to take it as part of their core, so that it becomes part of how they operate. It’s part of how you end up doing business.

Jeena Cho: [00:19:31] Well, let’s just go there then. How do we get buy-in from white males on diversity and inclusion efforts? I find (because I have a lot of these conversations with my white male lawyer friends) it’s either like, yeah I can see why diversity and inclusion is important, and I don’t want to work with everybody else that are essentially carbon copies of myself. But I feel uncomfortable speaking out in front of my colleagues who all look like me, because they’re going to be like well what do you care? You’re a white dude. Why is this conversation important to you? Or they think that if we have these special programs like a woman’s retreat or a POC retreat for the attorneys of color in the firm, that we’re somehow treating them as more special, therefore we’re somehow discriminating against the other white attorneys. So I feel like it’s such a complicated issue, it definitely is a complicated issue. So yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.

Michelle Wimes: [00:20:39] No, you’re absolutely right. Yes, you’re absolutely right. It is a complicated issue, and when I say personalize what diversity and inclusion means what I mean is that we have to move away from this concept of scarcity and this zero-sum game and the way that we approach diversity. That if a woman or a minority is promoted, or they get to go on a pitch and pitch for new business, or if they get promoted, that that’s automatically taking away a benefit or a promotion or an opportunity from a white male. Right? So it’s having people understand that if you increase the pie, there’s a bigger piece of the pie for everyone to share. So if a person of color happens to be the person who’s assigned to go to a pitch and they bring back that business, if they hadn’t gotten that business you’d have 0% of 0% to share. Right? But that business comes in the door and then you are also working on that business, 50% of something is better than 0% of nothing, right? So it’s moving away from this concept of scarcity and really approaching it from an abundance mentality. And many times, this happens for me in the course of relationship building. I think that you absolutely have to get to know people; you have to spend time with them, you have to understand what their diversity and inclusion story is.

[00:22:15] And many times when I have these conversations with white male colleagues, they’re like what do you mean my diversity story? Everybody has a diversity story. Tell me who you are; just because you’re a white male doesn’t mean that you don’t have diverse experiences or that you haven’t felt different, you haven’t felt separated or apart from a group or an individual at some point in your life. So if I can talk to them, for instance if it’s a white male partner and I’ve done this, I’ve had this conversation. Where they have a daughter and that daughter is a lawyer, and that daughter is working in a law firm and battling up against trying to get a seat at the table; trying to meet their billable hour requirement, trying to get good work. So now their eyes are open because their daughter comes home and she’s complaining about the very things that we’re developing diversity initiatives around. So for the first time it’s like they can see, oh my gosh now I see why this is needed. Because it becomes personal to them, because it’s an experience that they can identify as having someone in their family who has been treated differently. It’s the same with when you talk to people, do you have a child with a disability? Do you have someone in your family who has had to deal with being otherized, because of a special trait or characteristic?

[00:23:42] So when you start drilling down on these stories, they can start to identify and empathize and understand where the pain points are, and identify with those pain points, right? So it increases their cultural competency. So my whole thing is that when you personalize this for people, it gives them greater opportunity to look at things from a different perspective and to want to create greater opportunities for other people, because they understand and have personalized it, and understand how difficult it is. In the same breath though Jeena, I should say too that I feel like it’s really important that diverse lawyers are excellent. I think that you have to bring your best self to the table, and I think that you have to seek sponsors. And in the course of seeking a sponsor or a mentor, that person can be a person of a different race or ethnicity, gender. And in the course of doing that, again you’re making it personal. You are developing a relationship with that person, and that person is going to be more inclined to invest in you when they realize the similarities and the commonalities that you have. So if you bring that excellence and you’re doing a great job workwise, it’s that much easier for people to want to get to know you and to find out what the commonalities and similarities are, and to want to invest in you and in your career. So I think you get that buy-in through the relationship building, the one-on-ones, and then also teaching a common language so that people feel personally invested. Does that make sense?

Jeena Cho: [00:25:29] Yeah it does. The follow-up question I have for you is just the way that law firms are structured, there’s this constant pressure to bill. That’s one of the things that I keep hoping that law firms will fix, but of course that’s not the case. Time is so scarce, especially for busy lawyers, so how do the lawyers go about finding the time to hear the stories of others that they work with, so that there is this sense that everyone has a place in the firm and that there is a sense of belonging?

Michelle Wimes: [00:26:12] Yeah, that’s such a great question. And I think that if it doesn’t happen in the normal course of work, maybe you’re not assigned to work with a particular partner that you really want to get to know better, I think you have to look for other opportunities. For instance, is there a pro-bono matter that has come in through the firm that you can ask that particular lawyer to supervise you on? So it gives you the opportunity to be down in the trenches together and working on a matter, even if it’s not a billable matter it gives you that opportunity to get to know someone. Maybe it’s instead of going to..

Because a lot of times this is what happens with our baby lawyers, we’ll have these big firm retreats, which we do every single year. And they’ll just be overwhelmed because we bring all 900 of our lawyers together. It’s a fabulous opportunity to really get to know other lawyers and other offices and another practice group. And I tell my baby lawyers, you need to be very strategic when we have these firm-wide events. You need to reach out to people ahead of time and say, hey I’d like to get together with you at the retreat (and the retreat always has a jam-packed schedule). But if you can say hey, can we do coffee or can we do drinks or can we meet, I just want to pick your brain for 15-20 minutes. Find the opportunity and be strategic and intentional about getting on somebody’s radar. And most of the time, nine times out of ten no one, especially here at Ogletree because we know that 50% of our business in one office comes from another office, no one office is just self-sufficient in and of itself. So our cross-marketing and cross-selling are really big within our firm.

So if you say hey, I want to chat with you about doing more work with you. Or there’s a particular client that I’m interested in, I would love to have your perspective. People are going to meet; they will meet with you, they will allow you to pick their brains. So I think it’s finding those discrete pockets of time, whether it’s through a pro-bono matter, whether it’s through meeting folks at a retreat, or maybe it’s getting involved in the different initiatives, the different community and philanthropy initiatives that the firm is involved in, or the diversity efforts. We sponsor a lot of different national affinity groups, like The National Bar, The National Hispanic Bar, The National Asian Pacific American, NAPABA, and the South Asian Pacific American Bar. So we go to those events, we go to those conferences, and we are always encouraging our lawyers to network there and for the lawyers that we’re sending there, to get to know each other better. So I think there are lots of different opportunities, even though we are busy. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of those opportunities.

Jeena Cho: [00:29:10] Yeah, yeah. Great.

Michelle Wimes: [00:29:11] Yeah I do want to mention Jeena, there’s another tool that we recently developed that I think your listeners might be interested in. It’s called the Diversity Action Plan, DAP for short. This is one example, we’ve asked our lawyers at the beginning of this year to commit to doing 5 to 7 different daily or weekly or monthly, really we want 5 to 7 actions that they have taken over the course of a year, but if they can do it daily, monthly that would be awesome. But 5 to 7 things, whether it’s reading and learning something, whether it’s watching something, attending an event. And we give them specific examples of things that they can do to support diverse lawyers in the firm, to support diversity in the legal profession generally, to support our diversity initiatives. And so it’s a way again for that personal investment in diversity and inclusion to come to fruition.

So we asked them things like read about the American Bar Association’s Resolution 113 and understand why certain clients are committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive legal profession, right? So read about that, understand it. We have asked them to do things like watch Verna Myers, her TED talk. She has a TED talk on how to overcome biases and walking boldly toward them. There’s another TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story. I don’t know if you watched that one with Chimamanda Adichie? She is wonderful, and she gives insight on how we judge someone just based on who we think that person is, based on their culture and based on where they’re coming from. So she utilizes that whole concept of judging people by a single story in her TED talk. So we encourage them to watch that, or we say attend one of our BRG (business resource group) sponsored events; go recruit at one of our career fairs. We go to 7 or 8 different minority career fairs throughout the country, be one of the lawyers that go to that career fair and helps to recruit diverse attorneys to the firm.

[00:31:25] So we give them a lot of different activities that they can do, and this is really for I would have to say the white men in many cases. Because a lot of times they come to me and they say, well what can I do to help you? What can I do to further the diversity efforts in the firm? I don’t know what I can be doing. So this DAP is meant to give them a list of concrete things that they can do to help themselves, to educate themselves, to educate others to learn what clients want. And then at the same time, to help bring diversity into the firm and help grow diversity once it is in the firm.

Jeena Cho: [00:32:04] I love that, I love that bite-sized daily practice of getting to know your own blind spots, and also an action item where you can go out and be an ally. Yeah, I really love that. That’s so great.

Michelle Wimes: [00:32:22] Thank you. Yeah, that was just one of the concrete things we came up with this year that we thought of, our Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. It’s a pilot project and I think that so far it’s been really well-received. And one other thing, well there’s a couple of other things but one thing I’ll mention. In my former firm we also had what we called a buy-in subcommittee or task force, and it’s something that I’m thinking about implementing here (we haven’t gotten around to that yet). It was a group of powerful partners, most of them were white males and white females, who when we were wanting to roll out a new initiative or a new program, or we wanted to get buy-in from firm middle managers and practice group leaders, office heads, things like that. We would go and bounce these ideas off of this buy-in subcommittee and get their feedback, re-frame it or re-tool it if it needed to be re-framed or re-tooled. And then we tasked them with going out and helping us to create buy-in and helping to advocate or sway others to adopt the new policy, or implement whatever initiative or program we were putting into place.

Jeena Cho: [00:33:41] That’s great. And it’s not like diversity and inclusion is something can do once and go oh, I went to that diversity and inclusion training, now I’m perfect at it. It’s a practice and I think that’s such an important thing to remember; that it’s a journey and it’s a practice, and none of us are free from implicit or probably explicit bias. I think it’s about getting to know our own blind spots, and also sharing our privilege with others and making sure that we don’t slam the door behind us when we walk through it.

Michelle Wimes: [00:34:22] Right. And I think there’s a piece that people don’t talk about as much, it’s the measuring piece. What I like to do is use our lawyer’s competitive nature to help with the measurement piece. So you know that the diversity metrics really tell a story, and you can look at the metrics and you can see, how many attorneys of color have we recruited this year? How many have come in through the door to actually be hired? Then fast forward a year later, three years later, five years later, how many of those attorneys are still with us? Are there practice groups where we’re losing attorneys, attorneys of color or women, are there offices in particular, where we’re losing a particular subset or group of folks? So if you supply the practice group leaders and office heads with those kinds of metrics and statistics, those people who feel like diversity is a touchy-feely thing and want to stay as far away from it as possible because it’s too loosey-goosey to them, but they like numbers. So if you can give people objective numbers and objective metrics and say look, in this particular office you’ve lost five diverse attorneys in the last two years. What’s going on here? And when we look at other offices in your region, these offices are doing much better and they have lost zero or they have lost one.

[00:35:53] And so that competitive nature of oh my goodness, what’s going on in my office? Or what’s going on in my practice group as opposed to other practice groups? So sometimes it’s utilizing that natural competitive nature that we have as lawyers to get them to focus on an issue objectively, and then to say okay what strategies do we need to put in place to make sure that we stem this attrition or that turnover is not happening?

Jeena Cho: [00:36:21] That’s fantastic. Michelle, before I let you go one final question to you. The name of this podcast is called The Resilient Lawyer, what does it mean to be a resilient lawyer to you?

Michelle Wimes: [00:36:34] Oh my gosh. You know, I think to be a resilient lawyer it really means your ability to recover from setbacks. I think that every lawyer that I know, including myself, has had professional and personal setbacks. And I think being resilient is how do you adapt well to change, how do you keep going in the face of adversity? Because we’re all going to have adversity, we’re all going to have setbacks. And when I think about.. recently the ABA came out with a path toward your well-being report. And in that well-being report, they talked about thriving across six or seven life dimensions. And they talked about your occupation, your emotional health, intellectual health, your physical health, emotional and spiritual.

I think of being resilient as each one of those different areas; how are you living, how are you making healthy and positive choices? How are you ensuring that your quality of life is such that you are thriving across all of those dimensions, in spite of the setbacks, in spite of the adversity that you may face. And that really means knowing who you are, being self-aware, and being able to adjust when you need to. When you have to adjust, accepting what that reality is but having the belief and having the optimism to know that you can recover, and that you will recover. Sometimes I think people get so negative and so focused on the bad things that are happening, but I think it’s important to be optimistic. I think it’s important to find meaning across all of those dimensions, and to really be able to bounce back when you encounter those kinds of problems and setbacks.

Jeena Cho: [00:38:44] Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your time and your wisdom with me today. I really appreciate it.

Michelle Wimes: [00:38:51] Thank you. Thank you for having me Jeena. You are doing amazing, important work and I am so happy to have been part of your podcast today. Thank you for having me.

Closing: [00:39:05] Thanks for joining us on The Resilient Lawyer podcast. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please tell a friend. It’s really the best way to grow the show. To leave us a review on iTunes, search for The Resilient Lawyer and give us your honest feedback. It goes a long way to help with our visibility when you do that, so we really appreciate it. As always, we’d love to hear from you. E-mail us at [email protected] Thanks and look forward to seeing you next week.