In Episode 15 of the Legal Genie Podcast, your host, Lara Quie, is in conversation with Claire E. Parsons.
Based in Kentucky in the United States, Claire is a local government and school law attorney, speaker, best-selling author, certified meditation teacher, founder of the Brilliant Legal Mind blog, proud introvert, and mum to two unruly girls.
Claire shares the following:
· Her background coming from a family of attorneys and remaining in Northern Kentucky after she qualified.
· Her career journey and specialism in local government work relating to school law, and special education in particular.
· Her early career and progression to partner at Adams Law.
· How being involved in her local community and having an impact there brings her a sense of fulfilment and also benefits her practice.
· How she did not know where to start with business development but figured it out for herself and what works for her as an introvert.
· How she built her reputation through speaking, writing and being active on LinkedIn.
· How she learnt to be a leader by following her passion for local community projects.
· How insight meditation has helped her and the benefits of loving kindness meditation.
· Discovering LinkedIn’s power to connect with other women and share experiences and support each other, which ended up as a best-selling book called #Networked.
· How Claire has leveraged LinkedIn and lifted her profile and won new work.
· Her advice for younger lawyers on not jumping to leave your firm because your unhappiness there may not be due to the firm, but other things within yourself that you need to work on first.
To learn more about Claire E. Parsons, you can find her on LinkedIn and connect with her here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/claireeparsons/
You can find her Brilliant Legal Mind blog here: https://brilliantlegalmind.com/
· If you liked this episode, please rate the show, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts to help the Legal Genie reach a wider audience.
· Look out for the next episode coming soon.
You can connect with Lara Quie as follows:
· On LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraquie/
· Website: https://www.laraqassociates.com/
· You can also listen to Lara’s other podcast, The Coach Potatoes on Apple Podcasts here:
If you have a question or guest idea, please do drop Lara a line at Lara@LaraQAssociates.com
Lara Q Associates
· If you liked this episode, please rate the show, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts to help the Legal Genie reach a wider audience.
· Look out for the next episode coming soon.
You can connect with Lara Quie:
· On LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraquie
· Website: https://www.laraqassociates.com
· Or Email at Lara@LaraQAssociates.com
Episode 15 of the Legal Genie Podcast with Claire E. Parsons
[00:00:00] Hello, and thank you for joining me, Lara Quie, for the Legal Genie Podcast. As a former corporate lawyer and APAC Head of Business Development for an international law firm, my mission with this podcast is to provide you with insights into the careers and lives of movers and shakers in the legal industry.
[00:00:40] Mentors are hard to come by so, by listening to these conversations, I hope that you will gain some valuable insights that will help you move forward in your career and personal life. I ask my guests to share their advice and experience with you. I ask them also to share about their mindset. As an executive coach, [00:01:00] I work one-on-one with lawyers to grow their practice and self-confidence. I also run mastermind groups and business development accelerators designed to bring like-minded people together, to learn, grow, and support each other.
[00:01:13] If you'd like to learn more, please connect with me on LinkedIn or through my website. The details are in the show notes. Please rate and review the Legal Genie Podcast to help us reach more people who may find it helpful. So, let's move on to this week's episode. I hope that you enjoy the conversation.
[00:01:30] Lara Quie: [00:01:30] Hello and welcome to episode 15 of the Legal Genie Podcast with me, your host, Lara Quie. This week, I'm super excited to be with Claire E Parsons. Claire is a local government and school law attorney, speaker, best-selling author, certified meditation teacher, [00:02:00] founder of the Brilliant Legal Mind blog, proud introvert, and mum to unruly girls. Hi Claire, welcome to the Legal Genie Podcast.
[00:02:11] Claire Parsons: [00:02:11] I Lara, I'm very happy to be here.
[00:02:14] Lara Quie: [00:02:14] You are certainly very, very active on LinkedIn. And that where I noticed your presence and reached out to you. You've had a very interesting background, so, it'd be lovely if you could tell our listeners, a bit about your childhood, where you grew up and where you live right now.
[00:02:31] Claire Parsons: [00:02:31] Yeah. So, I actually practice where I grew up. My parents were attorneys. My grandfather was an attorney in Northern Kentucky where I live, I went away to school, but then I came back. I really didn't want to, I thought I wanted to live outside of the city and forge my own path. But my mom convinced me to apply at a law firm in the area that she was familiar with.
[00:02:52] I clerked there, and I actually really loved it and they do local government work. And I started in civil rights litigation [00:03:00] very early in my practice. And then I got pulled into school law and I went to Catholic school. I did not know anything about public education. But when I started working with the teachers and the school staff, I really loved it.
[00:03:12] I loved what they did for kids. And I really fell in love with it. And then I turned school law into sort of a specialty and built a specialty around special education, which is education of disabled students. And I really enjoyed that. And then that was actually how I started to build my own book of business and became partner at my firm. So, it was a really a good path.
[00:03:34] Lara Quie: [00:03:34] It sounds like a very specialist area. I'm not that familiar with school or can you give me some examples of the kind of cases that you handle?
[00:03:43] Claire Parsons: [00:03:43] Yeah. So, school law is actually really broad. So, schools are sort of like little companies. I actually represent the third largest school district in the state of Kentucky, which has about 20,000 students.
[00:03:56] And we also represent several smaller school districts. [00:04:00] We are also panel counsel and do litigation for schools throughout the state of Kentucky. So, we do general counsel work, which is helping on day-to-day things. But we also do litigation, which includes everything from civil rights issues, discrimination special ed cases.
[00:04:15] So, when students don't like the educational plan a district offers, or there's a dispute about that. We will go to a due process hearing, so, that's very administrative in nature. And then we are also in federal court quite a bit. And so, we are regularly dealing with things that relate to open records FIRPA and then things like first amendment issues, student discipline issues, personnel issues, very, very common. So, it's a whole gamut of issues. And I do other things other than school law, but school law is really my specialty. And even within school law, there are subspecialties and it's something new every day and I really enjoy it.
[00:04:51] Lara Quie: [00:04:51] Well, it certainly sounds very broad as you say, although it's a specialism, there's a lot within that, from civil rights, employment, and labor law, et [00:05:00] cetera. And certainly, as a Brit, I'm very aware how litigious Americans can be. So, I imagine there are a lot of cases. It sounds like a very interesting area. So, you are a partner Adams Law. Tell me a bit about that firm.
[00:05:14] Claire Parsons: [00:05:14] My firm is a small firm. So, we have, I think around 18 attorneys right now, we've generally ranged throughout my career from anywhere from 15 to 20. We've sometimes dipped a little below 15, but then we usually bounce back up.
[00:05:28] And I really like that number. I had clerked after my first year at a large firm. And there were nice people. I just didn't love it. I really liked that. Even as a new attorney, I was able to, I think I second chaired a trial like my first summer at the firm. I wrote briefs for the sixth circuit very early on.
[00:05:48] I think I wrote a sixth circuit brief as a law clerk even. And so, I was able to build a lot of skills quickly, get client contact and work on important matters. Because when you represent local [00:06:00] government, you have a direct impact on your community. So, what we kind of sacrifice doing for local government is that you don't necessarily command the hourly rates that some of the big corporate guys command, but every matter I handle it, even if it's a small one directly contributes to my community, I'm the board attorney for my daughter's school district and, representing them and making sure they do things safely and appropriately contributes to my daughter's safety.
[00:06:25] And so, to be able to do that, it really. It really fills up your soul and it's satisfying in a way that I think few other areas of practice can be, and I really enjoy it. And to some degree it's in my blood. My father was a local government official for a long time, in addition to being an, a lawyer.
[00:06:42] And my family members had other family members who had held office and worked in local government. So, I really understand all of the things that local government can do for citizens.
[00:06:52] Lara Quie: [00:06:52] It's very powerful, how you explain that you can have an impact on your community and be very much part of the fabric of your [00:07:00] local society. And talking about your daughter's school and being part of that as well and overseeing her safety. I think that it must indeed be very satisfying. And as you say when it comes to larger firms, it's hard to feel that direct impact and to feel part of something. And I think, most lawyers really do go into the law with sort of a community spirit, but actually when you end up in big corporate and big law, it's very far removed and actually at the end of the day, it's mostly about money.
[00:07:28] Claire Parsons: [00:07:28] It can really vary based on the firm you're at, and then the practice group, because in a lot of the larger firms, it's the practice chair that kind of decides everything. And depending on who that practice chair is it can really control your destiny.
[00:07:42] And I've had friends at big firms that have loved it and they've loved every minute of it. And I've had. Friends, forensic big firms who have had different stories to tell. It still can be a great experience for people. But ultimately, I think it's sort of like, we just have to find what really fits us.
[00:07:56] And I was lucky that I found a firm in a niche area [00:08:00] that, that really suited me because I've always loved administrative law. I love procedure. I like being able to write a lot and all of those skills I get to use in my practice. So, it's nice to be able to use all of those different pieces of yourself and all those little skills you have to benefit someone else and benefit a whole category of people.
[00:08:21] Lara Quie: [00:08:21] Absolutely. And what you are emphasizing is the fact that there is a place for everybody, and it really is about finding that practice and harnessing your skills and really playing to your strengths. So, being self-aware understanding what you're good at and finding an area of practice that suits that.
[00:08:40] So, it sounds like it's ideal for you and that you're very happy in your practice, which is fantastic. Tell me a little bit about your journey into partnership. What was it like? It sounds like you've been at the same firm the whole time. What did you have to do to progress?
[00:08:56] Claire Parsons: [00:08:56] I had to face a lot of fears about myself [00:09:00] and learn to just do what I wanted to do. To be honest. My firm is a firm where a lot of the partners grew their reputation as the region, as Northern Kentucky, where I practice was growing up. And so, many of my partners, they learned to develop business before the internet really.
[00:09:20] And so, they did it by being really invested in the community and doing a lot of different things. And the legal profession is now different. And so, partners even that made partner, 15, 20 years ago are drastically different than what's going on now. And so, they told me like, Claire, you'll need to start developing some business.
[00:09:38] You'll need to establish relationships, but I didn't necessarily know how to do that. And I put on my LinkedIn profile that I'm a proud introvert because. I am an introvert and a lawyer, and I like networking and marketing, but it's true that I'm a quiet person. I do not like going to networking events.
[00:09:55] I do not like making small talk with people. So, I had to figure out my own way. [00:10:00] And for the first couple of years of my practice, I waited for somebody to tell me what to do. I'm a classic millennial in that way, I want expectations to be clear so, I can meet them and knock them out of the park.
[00:10:11] Nobody gave me a lot of expectations there, so, I had to figure it out. And I started getting really involved in my community. I took leadership roles with my chamber. I did some projects that I really cared about in terms of helping public education. We actually created a makerspace in my region, and I chaired that project and helped raise a lot of money for that.
[00:10:30] And that was really awesome. I started writing, I started speaking because those are things I like. And even when it was about topics I just enjoyed. And lo and behold people actually started to remember, I exist. I started getting more opportunities. I got referrals. I had a reputation that people knew about me.
[00:10:50] And I was able to do that without, going to a bunch of painful networking things that I hated. And, after you know, people in the community, those networking things even get easier. So, it was [00:11:00] really sort of going into this unknown territory. Doing some gut-check stuff on myself and learning, to face some fears. But ultimately, it's just getting started and not being afraid and keep going and eventually, things, bear fruit and it works.
[00:11:15] Lara Quie: [00:11:15] That's very powerful. And I like the way that you really made an effort to get out there. So, volunteering, being part of leadership on committees and things like that involvement in your local community. That is generally the way because people need to know like and trust you before they're going to give any referrals. And so, becoming part of that community, establishing your presence, establishing your reputation as someone who's helpful, that's going to be out there to just try and help other people using skills, your legal skills that you have. So, it sounds like over the years, you've been able to develop that reputation and then you get referrals, a lot word of mouth and through your local network. [00:12:00]
[00:12:00] Claire Parsons: [00:12:00] Yeah, absolutely. And one thing I will say too, is. Even if you're a scared person in, in, dealing with sort of some social interactions you're dealing in groups, if you're following something and pursuing something you really care about, you're not as scared you want.
[00:12:15] Like that maker-space project. I was leading a group of 50. I had never done anything like that before, but I wanted that project to be a success. I wanted that to be there for my kids and other kids in the region. I just thought it was so, cool. And so, I just didn't worry about it. And I just, was excited about it and because I was excited, it went really well.
[00:12:34] And that really helped my reputation. And then once I had done that, it was easier to lead other things. It was easier to innovate because I had done it before. So, sometimes just following your heart as cheesy as it sounds, it can really be motivating and do a whole lot for you.
[00:12:51] Lara Quie: [00:12:51] That's absolutely right and I think that where you can find a passion for something that can be your drive, as you say, you can push yourself outside your [00:13:00] comfort zone because the passion is fueling you. And that's the same for like public speaking. If it comes to a topic that you're passionate about and you just really want to tell people about it.
[00:13:10] It's much easier to talk about that topic than something that's really dry and not interesting to you. So, yeah, that's great. I think that is very important for people to just understand that growing your network doesn't necessarily mean going to huge conferences and networking in large groups, as you say. So, tell me a little bit about being an introvert. How does that affect you and how have you overcome that?
[00:13:33] Claire Parsons: [00:13:33] I don't know that it really overcome it. I think it's learning to maximize it in some ways. And I think it's learning that it's not necessarily something that holds you back. So, with being an introvert, like I actually do like public speaking.
[00:13:49] I don't like unplanned small talk with people, I don't know. And that can be different with different people, but for me, a lot of it is energy management. So, if [00:14:00] I'm like with people all day, I'm not really a happy camper by the end of the day. So, I've learned that I need to take some breaks, even if it's short ones.
[00:14:09] I did a leadership development program in Kentucky called leadership Kentucky a couple of years ago, and we were constantly together, a group of 60 people driving around. It was an exhausting day, although it was very fun. And so, on the bus rides in between events and things, I told the person next to me, I was like, I have to sit here and just put my headphones on.
[00:14:28] And I would do like a guided meditation on my phone or something, or just listen to music and shut my eyes and stuff like that was enough to help. And so, like, if I know I'm going to be in meetings or something all day, I just account for that energy drain. And meditation has been something that has been really helpful.
[00:14:45] Even if it's five minutes, it can make a big difference. I understand, I think a lot of times I get to places early and that's in part because it helps me settle in and get used to a place before everybody gets there. So, some strategies like that have worked, [00:15:00] but like with public speaking, the reason I really like speaking is I like teaching and I'm an auditory learner.
[00:15:06] And so, I've learned that if I really process something and I organize and I plan then I'm really good at communicating it out because of that auditory learning piece. So, I'm great as a speaker, even though I don't want to do small talk. And so, another thing is that like I've used writing and like, tools like LinkedIn when you create content and put ideas out there in written form, then a lot more often people come to you or they see you at the networking event and they are aware of your content and what you do, and then they come up to you. So, you already have stuff to talk about. So, some of those little things that you can do along the way can make it easier for yourself as an introvert.
[00:15:46] Lara Quie: [00:15:47] They sound like fantastic coping mechanisms. And I like your idea of recharging, the self-awareness that you have, that you understand that you need these little breaks. And so, you conscientiously take those, and you are [00:16:00] practicing self-care and you mentioned meditation. I know that you're a certified meditation teacher.
[00:16:06] So, tell me a little bit about the meditation and what that involves really, because we hear a lot at the moment, but what does that truly involve for somebody who's completely new to meditation?
[00:16:17] Claire Parsons: [00:16:17] Yeah, it can be a whole lot of different things. Depending on the style, you like your personality, what benefits you're looking for. For me, I have generally followed the school of meditation where I just basically sit it's insight meditation, where after you get a practice established and you're able to sit for a period of time and you don't necessarily need a focal point to go back to at every point, after you get to that point, you can just sit and see what arises and that's called insight meditation.
[00:16:49] Now my formal practice that I do includes breath practice at the beginning and body scan which is feeling the sensory sensations in your body in a systematic way for the [00:17:00] purpose of relaxing and just being aware of what's going on in your body and then breath practice, which is feeling the sensations of your breath or counting the cycles of your breath.
[00:17:09] Just also to relax and focus. But then after that, I just sit there for a while. And I usually close with a period of Metta or loving kindness meditation which all of the different types of meditation will have different benefits. And that's what the research is telling us. But I really would encourage anyone listening that if you haven't tried loving kindness meditation to look into it, because the benefits of loving kindness practices and compassion practices in general are phenomenal.
[00:17:36] They can improve your relationships. They can improve happiness. I will tell you; they are incredibly effective for people like, us stone-cold lawyers who want to pretend like our feelings aren't there all the time and they can help us make wiser better choices. So, that is where you call people to mind.
[00:17:52] And sometimes have visualizations with that, but you wish people, well, you wish yourself well, you wish your loved ones well, you [00:18:00] wish difficult people well, you wish neutral people well, then you wish the whole world well, and you may think that wishing people well doesn't really change anything and just the wish doesn't.
[00:18:10] But what research is telling us is that ultimately those practicing wishing and practicing, wanting to do good things for good people, actually encourages people to do more good things for other people. And that contributes to happiness and better relationships.
[00:18:26]Lara Quie: [00:18:26] It would seem that something like that might happen an element of forgiveness and acceptance, because you mentioned even difficult people, someone that perhaps you're having some difficult conversations with, but if you are there wishing them well and saying, I know this person's difficult, I find them difficult, but actually, I genuinely wish them well, is that what you've experienced?
[00:18:49] Claire Parsons: [00:18:49] Yes, and it's forgiveness and acceptance of both yourself and the other person. And so, just to clarify, a lot of times, and most teachers will tell you if you're, if you've never done [00:19:00] loving kindness meditation before, you may struggle with offering kindness to yourself, especially people in the West struggle with this because we don't think of it that way. And we sometimes just struggle with who's the subject and who's the object and it feels icky to say nice things to myself. Right? It feels goofy and silly. But once you get over that, it can really open up a lot for you. But like when you're talking about the difficult person, you don't go with your mortal enemy first. Right. You, you start, you work your way up to it.
[00:19:28] You sort of, maybe think of somebody who irritated you a little bit or confused you. You're like, what's their deal. And then you will work up to, people over time. And I, for instance, have been able to offer loving kindness to people who are like my opposing counsel that I can't stand.
[00:19:44] And a lot of times you don't necessarily all, you also aren't condoning what they do. You're not necessarily approving of what they do. You're simply wishing them well. And one of the ways that you can understand why you do that, is that it's just the idea [00:20:00] that, if truly that person, if everybody was happy, if they were safe, if they were healthy, they probably wouldn't act the way that they're acting.
[00:20:08] Right? So, by wishing them, well, I think you're really wishing well to the whole world and even yourself, but what you do when you forgive or a little bit and accept a little bit is really it's medicine for you. Because what it does is it doesn't change them, but it gives you some distance from what they do and some equanimity.
[00:20:27] And when you have that, it can change how you relate to them. If you're not always seeing them as an enemy, you're seeing them as another human who kind of has their own challenges, then that might change how you relate and what you do. And you may have better wiser actions.
[00:20:42] Lara Quie: [00:20:42] Definitely. It's a way of reframing in your own mind, isn't it? So, putting that positive affirmation out there and really seeing everyone as doing their best. And I think that that's a very important new way of seeing the world. If we always assume that [00:21:00] someone's doing their best and that they're actually having a bad day or they're struggling with some personal challenges, we can be a lot more accepting patient and forgiving. So, that's a very powerful thing. I will definitely look into that type of meditation. That sounds great. It says that you're a bestselling author. Tell me a little bit about that.
[00:21:21] Claire Parsons: [00:21:21] Well, I was a best-selling author with 19 other women. So, I do want to, just put that out there. But so, yeah, that's the book "Networked" that I wrote. One of my pandemic projects was becoming a meditation teacher and the other was writing a best-selling book with 19 other women. I met on LinkedIn. Which they're all, we're all women lawyers. And we used, I started using LinkedIn, I think in 2019 consistently. And then by fall of 2019, I was in a group a message chain on LinkedIn of other women lawyers who were using the platform because at the time there really weren't a lot of women using it. And so, we were just all supporting each other. We would help with engagement on [00:22:00] our posts. We would share ideas, share strategies, and even attend events together and stuff when we could. And it was it was just a nice relationship to have. It was certainly a nice support to have when there weren't a whole lot of friend groups getting together during the pandemic.
[00:22:16] And then over the summer, last year, someone had the idea to start to do a book and write a chapter. And I write all the time. I, write blog posts I've I wrote tons of articles over the pandemic. So, I was like, "Sign me up!" In my chapter is actually a very random idea.
[00:22:34] I wrote about the hero's journey and the myth of Psyche and Cupid in my chapter. And talked about how basically you can just fumble into stuff, and you can just go along, and you will find friends along the way who will help you. And that's what the myth of Psyche is about. So, my chapter was a really weird bizarro idea, but I really ended up loving it and being really proud of it.
[00:22:57] And I think every chapter is [00:23:00] so, different. And even though we all did the same thing for a while, like the chapters and the reasons why everyone jumped on LinkedIn, the way we used it, it was all different. And that's what is really neat. Like if anyone is interested in really exploring social media or finding their own personality with It's a good example of that, because you cannot know what you were doing, feel it out, figure it out and really just find something that works for you. You don't really have to copy anyone. It really works best. I think if you are really, really learned to be yourself.
[00:23:35] Lara Quie: [00:23:35] Yes. I provide LinkedIn strategy training to various law firms. And it is very much about helping people to be their authentic self because at the end of the day when it comes to the practice of law, there are many areas where, especially if you're a general corporate lawyer, there's huge amounts of competition.
[00:23:54] So, how do you stand out from the crowd? You stand out by being you, helping [00:24:00] people to see who you are and to see your personality and identify with you. And when you're sharing thought leadership in your practice area, where you're sharing, tips and ideas and helpful information, adding value, people will see that and say, Wow.
[00:24:16] This is a helpful person. She really seems to know about this area of law. She goes out of her way to help people. Gosh, that was an exciting and helpful tip for me. I can use that. So, it really helps to get your brand, your personal brand out there. And definitely not enough lawyers are using it because LinkedIn really is your shop window.
[00:24:37] It's your showcase, your ability to not just position your CV, cause obviously you can state all your credentials there and your track record in terms of profession, but it really is a way to highlight a sense of humor, insights, the way that you comment on other people's posts. And I think people forget that it is social [00:25:00] media and that therefore you're supposed to be social. So, when you reach out to connect, you should put a personal message and say, this is why I'd like to connect with you and then follow up and start conversations in the messaging platform that's provided, et cetera. So, tell me about some wins that you've got directly through LinkedIn. Have you had referrals and business for your practice?
[00:25:24] Claire Parsons: [00:25:24] Yeah. And I actually talk about this in my chapter. I got a referral to do some jury consulting work from another lawyer in Kentucky who, I didn't know, I was actually in an organization with him, but I didn't know him.
[00:25:36] He was from Louisville, which is about 90 minutes away. And I wrote a post about meeting a juror from a case I tried at the gym one morning and just talking about that and just a little post about how she remembered me. And I didn't remember her at first and she remembered me and just said, basically like, hey, these people are in our communities.
[00:25:57] So, be careful how you act in trial because they remember you. And [00:26:00] fortunately, I had won that case. But he saw that, and I got a referral directly from a post and it was a desirable referral. Jury work is, few and far between. And so, to be able to do something like that, was pretty fun.
[00:26:12] So, yeah, and I've gotten other referrals and I think some of it is just it, some of it is just a simple matter of front of mind awareness, right? That people remember you exist because they can see something on social media. We really are that busy that people need to be reminded about each other's existence sometimes.
[00:26:32] But I think another piece of it is, when you are a good person and you are interested in helping people, you're interested in improving the profession, you're interested in just, being supportive of others. People want to help you. And so, you don't necessarily always have to talk about the law.
[00:26:49] You just sometimes talk about what you care about and when people see that you care, then they want to help you. And so, when something comes up in your part of the world, then they'll look for you. And that's [00:27:00] how it works. I think like the other thing is that you get other kinds of opportunities too.
[00:27:05] So, it's not just direct referrals, but speaking opportunities podcast appearances like these opportunities to write more. Honestly, I started doing LinkedIn, not so, much because I thought it would build my practice so, much because with local government, we are pretty specific in what we do.
[00:27:23] I did it because I love speaking and writing and I wanted to do it more. And so, I wanted those opportunities and I got 'em in spades. And so, those kinds of things also then will contribute to your practice and your business development, because then you also have stuff to send to people. So, maybe you do need to pitch work.
[00:27:42] Well, then you've got a profile and you've got a whole body of work that they can look at to see that, you know what you're talking about in addition to being a good person. And that's how you can seal the deal a lot of times.
[00:27:55] Lara Quie: [00:27:55] Absolutely. And I love the way that you really, tapped into [00:28:00] LinkedIn and leveraged it and it's brought you the opportunities that you were looking for in terms of the writing and the speaking. And I've definitely found it's a fantastic platform for that, as you say. And the fact that it's such a global platform as well is wonderful, because here I am in Singapore, you're in Kentucky and yet we reach out and connect and many lawyers are risk averse.
[00:28:25] And if they're not users of LinkedIn, they don't understand how easy it is to connect and build new relationships and find opportunities. So, I would definitely recommend to anyone listening who hasn't tried, LinkedIn, who hasn't used it to definitely get on there and try it out.
[00:28:44] Start to tinker with your profile, start to put some posts out there. It is a very curated community in terms of what you build for yourself. So, you can create a really fantastic group and learn so, much from other people [00:29:00] and collaborate and wonderful to hear about your book collaboration with those other women lawyers and how this produced something really beneficial to people. And it's so, exciting to hear how social media can be used for good in this way. It's, it's fantastic. So, what about some advice for younger lawyers? So, thinking of your younger self, what you know now compared to what you knew, then. What advice have you got for our younger listeners?
[00:29:27] Claire Parsons: [00:29:27] Oh, goodness. I probably all kinds. So, I'm somebody who stayed at my firm the whole time, and I know that that's super rare and weird in this economy. So, I don't know that that would necessarily be my advice to everybody. I think it was the right decision for me. But I will say, I think there's a lot of hopping around and I know like some of the numbers, if you look at the statistics and people that hop around, they make more money.
[00:29:53] I ultimately don't know that they necessarily are happier. I think that's a, that's an unanswered question. So, I would really [00:30:00] say that be careful of the reasons you do leave. For me, the reason, I was really worried early in my practice. I was very anxious. I was overthinking. I had, depression issues and that's ultimately what led me to start meditating.
[00:30:15] And one thing that I remember thinking around four or five years out was, do I want to leave, or do I want to stay? Because it was about that time where people are like, do I want to be a partner here? Or what do I want to do? And I was unhappy at the time. And the thing that kind of came to me was if I leave.
[00:30:32] All of these things that I'm doing in my mind, they're going to go with me. So, I was like, I need to sort some of that out first and make a decision first for myself about who I want to be. And ultimately what I concluded after doing some work. I, I, in addition to meditating, I did some therapy.
[00:30:47] I really worked on change in some of my life in terms of how I was doing things. And I realized I didn't need to leave. I just needed to build into my own happiness. So, I think, I [00:31:00] guess the advice I would have is, leaving and jumping around, isn't always how you find happiness. You have to figure out the recipe.
[00:31:08] I think that kind of works for your life. But. Ultimately those kinds of inner struggles, they can produce good things, even if you stay where you are. So, I don't know that you make a mistake necessarily leaving. I don't know that you make, make a mistake jumping around. I think the mistake is jumping around to avoid facing the issue, because I think when you face those issues not only do you get happiness, but you get strength and I think you can find what it is you really love that way. Because if I didn't stay and face it, I don't know that I would have started meditating. I don't know that I would have started writing so, much. And those things have really made me happy. And that stability has been really something that I think has been a strength for my family and my daughters. And so, I really am glad I made those choices.
[00:31:55] Lara Quie: [00:31:55] Yes. That sounds like you really took ownership of [00:32:00] yourself, your career and looked inwards to see what happiness looks like for you. I think you're absolutely right. It's very easy to look at the job and the things like that. And assume that the grass is always greener. But the reality is that you take yourself with you.
[00:32:15] Absolutely. And therefore, those problems, if they're not actually to do with circumstances will be the same if you're the same person. Law is very complicated. People move for so, many reasons. Often it is purely a very good opportunity. It's a very good way of perhaps moving into slightly different practice area or to a firm with a better reputation in that area.
[00:32:39] Or you may be following a more senior lawyer that you're going with. Who's, a partner somewhere else. So, there's so, many reasons and people definitely shouldn't be afraid to stay, and they shouldn't be afraid to move, but you're right. You should concentrate on what does success look like for you, but what does happiness look like?
[00:32:58] I think many lawyers [00:33:00] are very aware of how much money they could make in another firm. And it's often a path to partnership as well. If you do reach a dead end somewhere, it is a good idea to move on and you'll be aware of the reasons for that. And certainly, for women, it's a very good idea to try and have as many mentors as possible to really grow these relationships so, that you've got support and sponsors as well, who are going to support you in your career trajectory. So, yeah, it's being open to opportunity, but really understanding the reasons for moving on always having a piece of paper where you can put the pros and cons and, really work through all of the reasons and to get comfortable with where you see yourself.
[00:33:43] And I certainly think that having a plan, just having time to sit down and reflect on your past and on your future is always healthy, not to necessarily set goals and be super driven, but just have an awareness of where you're going, because otherwise [00:34:00] you're that little boat on the ocean not heading anywhere. And you can waste a lot of time and energy.
[00:34:05] Claire Parsons: [00:34:05] Yeah. I would agree with that. And I do just want to clarify that, I'm not necessarily arguing that anyone must stay. I think like, I have had mentors throughout my career with my firm. I've had some of my now partners have been those mentors and I have always had a lot of client contact.
[00:34:21] I've had the ability to grow. I've had a practice that constantly keeps me challenged. And I've had the ability in my practice to also have things outside of my practice and a family life and, and those kinds of things. So, I think, those are the things that I would look for and if they weren't there, I would have left years ago. And so, those, I think things are pretty essential ingredients. And so, so, yeah, I absolutely agree with everything you're saying on that.
[00:34:49] Lara Quie: [00:34:49] Great. So, where can people find you, obviously on LinkedIn and tell us about your blog? Where can they find your blog?
[00:34:57] Claire Parsons: [00:34:57] Yeah, I am active on LinkedIn and I [00:35:00] love hearing from people and other lawyers and law students all over the world.
[00:35:04] And you can find me at Claire E. Parsons on LinkedIn. I use the middle initial because there are other Claire Parsons's on LinkedIn who are pretty active and great people. But I also am the founder of the blog, Brilliant Legal Mind. And that is Brilliantlegalmind.com. You can follow us on WordPress or on social media at LinkedIn on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and we also have a YouTube channel, which is mostly a bunch of guided meditations.
[00:35:34] And the blog has guided meditations and articles and resources for lawyers and professionals who want to learn about mindfulness. And we have recommendations posts. We have education posts; we have sort of story posts. I am really happy that we have a basics post every month where we talk about super low-level stuff.
[00:35:55] So, how to find your breath, what to do if I can't sit still what to do, [00:36:00] if I can't clear my mind, those kinds of things. So, I really think that new meditators would really like that kind of stuff.
[00:36:06] Lara Quie: [00:36:06] That sounds fantastic. I will certainly go there myself and check that out and start the beginner's meditation. I've always thought about trying it. So, thank you so, much for sharing today. Claire, it's been great to have you on the show.
[00:36:20] Claire Parsons: [00:36:20] Yep. Thanks for having me.
[00:36:21] Lara Quie: [00:36:21] Thanks for listening. If you've enjoyed this episode of the legal genie podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts, and give it a rating and review to help others. Find it. Please do subscribe so, that you don't miss the next exciting episode of the legal genie podcast. Thanks for listening. Have a magical week ahead.