Level Up Your Communication Game: Tips from a Former Prosecutor with Laurie Gilbertson

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Episode Description

In this episode of A Different Practice, Lauren chats with Laurie Gilbertson, communications coach, about the importance of communication skills for lawyers. Laurie discusses how being a good communicator means focusing on your audience and tailoring your message for them. She explains that confidence is crucial for good communication, and offers tips for building confidence such as quantifying your skills, getting feedback, and practicing daily communication mindfully.

Laurie emphasizes the significance of listening, not just talking, for effective communication. She suggests actively listening by making eye contact, being fully present, and asking thoughtful questions to show interest. Lauren discusses how improved listening helped her better understand the opposing party’s goals in negotiations. We explore how strong communication abilities can improve client service, marketing, and overall lawyering skills.

Laurie offers excellent insight into leveling up communication abilities in our profession where talking and listening are vital everyday tasks.

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Episode Resources



Tribeca Blue Consulting 

Connect with Laurie

Episode Transcript 

LAURIE: [00:00:00] Because you can make that connection. You can make that eye contact. You can show your listening. You can be a very active listener in paying attention without having to somehow bring it back to you.

LAUREN: Welcome to a different practice. We’re your host, Lauren Lester and Jess Bednarz and we’re obsessed with all things, business well being and optimizing the practice of law for solo and Lauren started her solo practice right out of law school, built it from the ground up, and now works four days a week while earning well over six figures.

Jess approaches the profession as a whole to identify opportunities for growth and help implement systemic improvements. We’re here to share tangible, concrete tools and resources for ditching the legal profession’s antiquated approach and building a law practice optimized for growth and enjoyment.

Think of this as grabbing coffee with your work besties. Mixed with all the stuff they didn’t teach you in law school about how to run a business. Pull up a seat, grab a cup, and get ready to be encouraged and challenged. [00:01:00] This is a different practice.

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of a different practice.

So excited to be spending some time with you today. We’re going to get a little meta on this episode and talk about talking. It’s something we do all the time as lawyers, no matter what type of practice we are in. And I think that it’s something we take for granted because we do it so frequently. We may just assume that we’re always great at it, but I think when we really look at how we communicate.

And consider whether or not we are being as effective as we could be. There’s likely going to be some room for improvement. So in this episode, we are chatting with Laurie Gilbertson, who’s a communications coach. I’ve known Laurie for several years now. She’s very impressive. She has a really unique [00:02:00] background and how she has used her skill set in all different areas from within the law, to in media, to running a non profit, And now doing communications coaching.

And every time I chat with Laurie, I always learn something. Whether it is indirectly, just by watching how she communicates. Or directly and talking to her specifically about how to be a better communicator. And that’s where we go today during our conversation. Talking about what makes communication effective, how we can get better at it, and how we can really use listening to be a better communicator.

Before we jump in, let me share a little bit more about Laurie. So Laurie Gilbertson is a former New York City sex crimes and organized crimes prosecutor, television legal analyst. Educator and [00:03:00] entrepreneur. As the owner of Tribeca Blue Consulting, she helps professionals communicate with clarity, confidence, and creativity in their public speaking, presentations, trial work, and media appearances.

Laurie began her career with a federal clerkship in Washington, D. C., after which she joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted homicides, organized crime, sexual assaults, and violent felony cases during her 10 years there. She knows how to present and be in the courtroom. She then translated her extensive trial experience into creative and comprehensive on air legal analysis for both local and national TV and other media outlets, which she continued when she transitioned into the role in the nonprofit sector.

In 2019, she became a member of the Board of Directors and helped launch the Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice program, an incubator for attorneys starting solo in small firms to help provide access to justice to [00:04:00] Coloradans. Laurie graduated from Cornell University with a B. A. in government, and she received her law degree cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University.

She is licensed to practice before the U. S. Supreme Court, so fancy, and the bars of the states of Colorado and New York. Here’s my conversation with Laurie. I hope you learned something about communication and how we can all do it a little bit better. I feel like it’s just. Just friends grabbing some coffee and having a conversation because I have known Laurie for some time now and she is wonderful and I’m really excited about the conversation today because we’re going to get into just communication and what that looks like and how we can be better communicators since it is such a vital part of our jobs as lawyers or anyone in the legal profession.

I wanted to start Laurie with what might be. Maybe a dumb question, but I thought [00:05:00] I would start really simply and when I was thinking about and prepping for our interview, thinking about communication, I thought, like, how do you define being a good communicator? So I thought we would start there. Like, what does it mean to communicate well? What does that look like?

LAURIE: I think that is a fantastic question. It is not at all a dumb question. It’s great. It looks like different things for different people, but ultimately what it comes down to is that good communicators think about their audience and they think about who they are communicating with.

And they make that the center of everything that they are communicating about, whether you’re talking to a client about a case, whether you’re talking to a colleague in the workplace, whether you’re getting up in a meeting and sharing some ideas, or whether you’re up on a stage and presenting a big CLE.

[00:06:00] Or something else. So what it really is about is who are you communicating with and how can you make that message as simple, direct, engaging and persuasive for that particular audience. So that is how I define it.

LAUREN: So knowing your audience is key, and does that go along the lines as you were chatting? I thought of, I don’t know if it’s an adage, but I heard once someone say that if the person who is receiving your communication isn’t understanding or understand something different or interprets it different, that is a reflection of you as the communicator most of the time versus them as the listener of your communication?

Is it kind of along those same lines? Like if I don’t understand the listener or the audience and I’m not communicating with them in a way that they can receive it, that’s on me. [00:07:00]

LAURIE: Yeah, I agree. I mean, in most situations, that is it. You know, you’re, as the speaker, as the person who’s communicating, you’ve got to do the work.

And you’ve got to do the work before any words start coming out of your mouth or before you’re writing anything on a page. Or before you’re putting yourself on video, you’ve got to do the work to figure out, how is my audience going to receive this? How can I put the message in a way that’s going to resonate with them?

And look, that’s not always the case. You can communicate really, really beautifully and someone, because of their personal experiences or because maybe they’re not paying attention and they tune out somewhere in between or whatever, may not get your message. So it’s not 100%, but it’s a pretty good adage to keep in mind,

LAUREN: especially like you said, if you, if you’ve done the work, then really the ball is in their court in terms of responsibility.

But if you can’t say you’ve done that work on the front end, then really the responsibility does [00:08:00] lie with us as the communicator.

LAURIE: Absolutely. And that’s why it’s hard. That’s why it’s not an easy thing to think about. But the great thing about being a communicator is that we all have these skills. We have all been communicating since we first got language when we were maybe one and a half, two years old.

You know, we, we, from the time you start to have words, you really start to use storytelling and you start to use language to make sense of the world and to communicate. So. As we talk about communication, it’s really important for people to remember this is not some foreign thing, you know, we’ve, we’ve been doing it for a very long time.

It’s just a matter of taking some ways of thinking about it and applying that to what we already do to really make those messages clear and to really be able to get them across to whoever we’re speaking with.

LAUREN: It feels like a vital part of not only our existence, but certainly of us in the legal [00:09:00] profession.

I mean, that’s how we do our jobs most of the time, whether it’s orally or written, we communicate. But it feels to me, at least in going through the process of law school and the bar exam and entering into the profession, that being a good communicator can be classified as like a soft skill. Which makes it feel like or sort of insinuated that it’s less important than the hard skills of being a lawyer of like researching and examining witnesses and writing briefs, but.

Like you just said, this is something we’ve been doing most of our lives, as soon as we could communicate. And so, how do you feel communication skills should be approached in the legal profession, both from a skills standpoint, and then if you’re also looking to hire someone, is that something you should look at or focus on more?

Maybe, or give some more weight to than, yeah, they can research their [00:10:00] ass off, but their communication skills really need some work.

LAURIE: Okay. I’m writing a few things down. Let me be sure I tackle it all. You know, I, I had this discussion on, on a legal podcast with someone about soft skills. And we both were talking about it in a way that was, you know, insinuating like you are too.

And like, I always have that, that’s just not as important when you say a hard skill or a soft skill. And Soft skills are incredibly important, and I don’t know how they got termed soft skill, but communication, you know, you ask how it should it be a part of our profession, it is intertwined in every single thing we do.

Research and how you’re going to use it. Doing, say, a deposition or learning how to write a brief. All of this is important. a means of communicating and should be looked at that way. These are all tools for how we communicate. So in law school, it’s interesting [00:11:00] because most of the communication part tends to come out in doing things like trial work, doing moot court, being on a mock trial team, as if being in the courtroom is the only kind of communication that lawyers do.

It’s an incredibly important part of communication that lawyers do. And obviously, trial lawyers have to be excellent communicators. That is what they do. But every other lawyer needs to as well, in order to, to really do their best to succeed, to do the best work for their clients. And to really be able to, you know, we look at it in kind of a lofty ideal to, to use our expertise in the world.

You have to be able to communicate it. So, I do wish, I mean, you and I have discussed this lots of times about law school and how that can be changed. I do wish there was a little more emphasis on it. That it’s not just, you know, being called on in class and put on the spot or anything like that. Because [00:12:00] the great thing about communication, like I said before, we do it all the time, it shouldn’t be scary, and people can always learn to be better.

And those three years of law school, or four years if you’re in night school, would be a great opportunity to really exercise those skills. with amazing professors, with incredibly intelligent law students and friends around you. So I wish there was more of that. In law school, I really, really do. And students want it.

So I know I’m going off on a little bit of a tangent, but I will get back to the tangent away. Students want it. I teach at a program at Emory Law School where they make all their two L’s go through a one week intensive trial skills program, whether or not they want to be trial lawyers. And I wish every law school had this because.

It teaches you how to communicate and the students, some of whom are going to be transactional lawyers [00:13:00] or go to big law firms or maybe go be general counselor. Maybe you just use their legal degree in a different way. So aren’t going to be in court. They really get a chance to practice for an entire week.

And what I witnessed there is the. Improvement and the kind of awakening to this incredible skill that they all have that they may not even realize they have from the first day to the last day is unbelievable to watch. And I had many students coming up to me afterwards, especially the women saying, we don’t get taught this.

We need to be taught how to communicate. We need to be taught how to do this. So the need is there, the students recognize it, and the next step is really, you know, for the law schools to start implementing it. So that’s my tangent on that. And back to thinking about hiring, you asked about and what we need in the profession.

You know, I would, I would [00:14:00] hate to see people not get hired because their communication skills are lacking, because that can be improved. I do coaching. I can see improvement, you know, from one session to the next. People can learn if you’re not going to take a coaching aspect to it. People can learn through reading books.

People can learn from listening to podcasts like this one. There are so many little steps people can take. So I, I really think that when, you know, I think hiring can be so difficult and It is the kinds of skills that you can improve, that it would be great if hiring managers look at that and say, maybe that’s lacking, but let’s get some help in there and let’s improve that.

If that’s the only thing the person really needs, there are ways to improve. You and I, I know, have tons and tons of books that we read all the time. I know we can’t see the video, but, you know, I’ve got a ton of books behind me. I’m always learning, and this is what I do for a living. So… [00:15:00] And always, always be learning.

They’re always new ways. There’s always things to think of. They’re amazing. Ted talks out there. They’re amazing people who can teach you. There’s great things. You know, the internet is all over. So these are things people can learn. And my hope would be that organizations would support people. In learning these skills, practicing them and really valuing them.

LAUREN: It provides me a lot of optimism that it’s something that can be learned. It doesn’t feel like, oh, I just I’m a bad communicator. It’s sort of innately who I am. Like, this is something we can all get better at. But what I’m sitting here thinking is, how do I know? Where I am on the spectrum, like, I guess, how do you litmus test if you’re just sort of in your own silo, you know, maybe you read the books and you pick up some tips here, but is it something where you workshop it with the audience to say, Hey, I’m going to [00:16:00] make this presentation, am I coming across, I feel like we don’t get a lot of opportunities in the legal setting, like we can’t go, let’s have a mock trial for my real criminal case, then Have a jury and let’s see how my communication is like we don’t get that opportunity until it counts and we don’t want it to be Oh, well, I screwed that up because I wasn’t clear.

And now there’s some sort of consequence that we would have liked to avoid. So I’m curious. Are there things we can look at in ourselves to say, okay, I’m, I’m a six out of 10 on my communication and, and it’s great that I know I can improve, but I need to know where I’m at or what I need to focus on. How does someone figure that out?

LAURIE: Some of it. You know, the first step, like you said, is even just wanting to improve. So even just thinking like my communication might be, I don’t, I wouldn’t necessarily quantify it. Like, that’s fantastic. I’m going to start thinking about that, but. [00:17:00] What I do when I start with with communication clients is to ask a lot of questions for people to reflect on, like, and I do quantify some of that.

So you would love that, Lauren, because I know you quantify everything.

And you know, my brain does not work that way, so I’m trying to do some of that. And I do ask people to say, you know, on a scale of one to ten, how do you think you are when you get up to do any public speaking? On a scale of one to ten, how comfortable do you feel when you’re talking to clients?

On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel when you’re, you’re sharing an idea at a meeting? And so people can start to feel like, what is their comfort level? Not even just how well they’re doing it or how good of a communicator they are, but kind of what’s that comfort level? What’s that confidence level?

How do they feel? So I love that you asked and having people start to quantify that a little bit because of communication being thought of, like you said, is this soft skill that’s somewhat intangible to start being like, Oh, this, this is tangible. I can kind of [00:18:00] measure it. It’s really good. That’s one thing.

And then I do ask questions about how do you see your communication style? What kind of a communicator do you think you are? Do you spend more time listening than talking? Which honestly more people should be doing, but we’ll talk about that. How do you feel about asking questions? Are you comfortable doing that?

Do you prefer to speak to small groups or large groups? You know, you and I have talked a lot and, and done some programs on networking and you know, what works best, do you want to be like. Some people we know in the middle of a huge group sharing your stories, or do you want to do it one on one? There’s no right or wrong.

Getting people to start to be self aware of what their communication style is and what they feel comfortable with is the first step in that direction, because the most important thing is that you communicate. In an authentic, sincere way that resonates with who you are, and that’s why everyone can really get good at it because we have these skills [00:19:00] inside us already, and we’re just uncovering them, and we’re just honing them.

So you have to kind of know yourself. First, before you can start measuring how you’re doing. So when I ask people questions, it’s a lot of that self discovery. So I would encourage anybody listening to start thinking about that. Ask yourself some questions. What three adjectives kind of describe you? What adjectives describe your communication style?

Where are you most comfortable? What do you feel most comfortable sharing? And then you do the opposite also. And you say, well, what am I uncomfortable with? What would I like to maybe improve upon? What do I think I’d like to get better at and work at? So it’s a lot of, just like we prepare before we communicate, before you even get to judging how you are, or thinking about improving, you start thinking about…

All of these things and doing some real kind of in depth thought and preparation. Once you’ve done [00:20:00] that, there’s lots of great tools. So I will start with something that you are going to love this more. And there’s lots of great AI tools to really help. There’s a great tool called Udely. It’s Udely. ai.

And what you can do on there is you can record yourself giving a speech, giving a pitch, just saying whatever, and it will tell you what your energy level is, it will give you how many filler words you have, it will give you suggestions for ways to do things differently. It is working on putting me completely out of business as a communication coach, but it’s actually something I use and it’s fantastic because people can be really nervous speaking.

Right in front of other people and getting up, like you said, and maybe doing a mock something and getting judged, right? Which makes us feel so terrifying. So terrifying. Here’s something you can kind of do on your own that gives you feedback right away. It’s a fantastic tool. It’s a great way to start.

Another thing you can do the AI feedback. [00:21:00] And of course, human feedback, talk to people, ask them, how do I come across? When I got up in that meeting, or if you’re kind of siloed, maybe a solo firm attorney, you’re not around a lot of other people. I know you love all the surveys, right, Lauren? Like we want to get feedback.

We get client feedback. You can get it from your clients. You can throw that kind of a question into some feedback you’re getting from them. And just was my communication clear? What might improve it? What kind of communication do you want to see from your lawyer? And then you can see where you fall. In that spectrum, but feedback, feedback, feedback is the really important thing.

Just ask people, just ask and people will share. And then as you continue to work on things, keep asking.

LAUREN: Those are fantastic. And I’m immediately after we hang up, going to go do that AI thing. Just so you know, I’m like in love now. That’s so fantastic. It’s awesome. I love it. I [00:22:00] can’t imagine. It’s so great.

In listening to you talk, what I’m hearing is it’s kind of a lot about confidence. That being a good communicator, there’s an undercurrent of just feeling confident. And to get to that point, Is identifying where do I not feel confident? Where do I feel confident? How I can, how can I take those aspects and put them in the areas that I’m not confident?

How do I get feedback so that I can improve? But it really does sound like there’s a certain level of getting to where you feel confident in your skin, confident in what you’re going to do. You’ve practiced, you’ve prepared. And that I would imagine is one of the maybe intangibles in communication that really does make a big difference.

LAURIE: Yeah, that that elusive competence. How do you measure it? Right? That this idea of, you know, I also put comfort with confidence. So this kind of elusive idea of how do we feel comfortable and [00:23:00] confident when we’re communicating? And that was a lot of consonants in one session, a lot of Cs in one sentence there.

So, you know, we talk about practice and one of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is because we communicate so much in our daily lives. Why not use that? As these kind of micro practice sessions, and when I talk to trial lawyers and I talk about communication in the courtroom, it kind of is these three main pillars of communication in the courtroom, and one of them is being creative and thinking about doing things in, in different ways.

One of them is telling stories because storytelling is really how we communicate from the start of having language, and that’s how people remember things. And one of them is delivery. How do we use our bodies, our eye contact, our voice, all of these amazing things that we already have? How do we use them to highlight the creativity and highlight the [00:24:00] storytelling?

So as I started giving these presentations to trial lawyers, I started thinking, well, this is, this is what we do We tell

stories to people. We think about. Or actually we don’t even think about when we’re talking, is our voice getting louder or are we being quiet? Are we using pauses? Are we not? These things come very naturally. And so what I’ve been encouraging people to do and think about is be aware of your daily communication.

Think about when you’re in a conversation with someone, how can you listen better? How can you ask better questions? How can your communication just in that one conversation be better? Because the more you do that, the more you improve, and we don’t have to wait for it to be a work situation, or like you said, real, you know, like a trial, or we’re about to do something to get that practice.

We have all these little micro opportunities [00:25:00] every single day. I learned this because as a former DA, when I would speak to my kids, I would often cross examine them. And they didn’t like that. Really? I can’t imagine. Right? Yeah, nobody really likes that. So… I had to revise how I communicated because I was so used to kind of doing it one way that when I would get into these kind of higher pressure situations, if we’d be discussing something important or maybe arguing about whatever, I would launch into that.

So I had to start to learn and practice different ways of communicating and be really aware of it and switch to listening, switch to asking questions. And it’s been incredibly eyeopening for me. And you really can just change your communication style. By changing it, how you do it in your daily life. So I would just encourage people to kind of add that to the great AI and the feedback and just do a little bit of that every day and be [00:26:00] aware of it.

So that when you do get to the part in business where, you know, you said it counts, you’re doing the criminal trial or you’re giving a keynote or you’re getting up in a meeting or whatever it is, you have so much practice already under your belt.

LAUREN: Yeah, that awareness really does make a difference in just shifting.

Your focus to say, I’m going to pay a little bit more attention to how I’m communicating and not have it be so unconscious really does that in of itself provides so much enlightenment that you wouldn’t think because it feels so simple, but in all areas of life, I’ve been being more aware from. What I’m eating too.

Yes. How I’m spending my time. I mean, from everything. And you’re like, Oh, I can learn a lot from just doing that. But I do want to talk and circle back because we keep touching on it. And I think it’s such an important part of communication where we as lawyers, because we are the ones presenting so often we focus on us talking, but a [00:27:00] huge piece of being a good communicator is being a good listener and not talking.

So can you share Some ways that we can either be more mindful of how or if we are actually listening, and if we need to be a little bit better at it and be more of an active listener, what are some steps we can take to do that?

LAURIE: Yeah, it is incredible how much you learn when you listen. You know, one thing just to, to kind of bring it into the personal sphere, because I present a lot and because I’m used to talking a lot, I, I was generally feeling a lot of the time like I talk too much.

I have to stop talking so much and I want to listen. So how do I do that? So exactly what you’re asking. And what, what I did was start, honestly, just being very aware of closing my mouth, just not saying anything. And when I would be, and when I tried to in conversations with people, I think there’s a real human [00:28:00] need and want for connection in terms of sharing our own experiences.

And there is a time and a place for all of that. But often someone will share something in our immediate. response is to say, Oh, I, I identify, let me share something about me. What I’d encourage people to do and what I started doing, and it has been a bit life changing for me is stop, just stop and just listen, because you can make that connection.

You can make that eye contact. You can show you’re listening. You can be a very active listener in paying attention without having to somehow bring it back to you. And just as when we’re speaking, it’s about the audience. When you’re listening, it’s about them too. And so I started trying that, and every time I wanted to share something about myself, I was like, nope, just listen.

As I said, not that there’s not a time and place where there certainly is, and you can judge that, that’s a good way to just start doing it. And, [00:29:00] I think people will be really surprised at what that does, both for you, in terms of what you get out of a conversation, but also for the person who’s sharing with you.

Because think of how many times maybe you shared something with someone and immediately they, they want to connect. So they want to tell you they, they have something to share too. It wasn’t really about them. So that’s one thing. Another thing is those tools that we have for listening. It sounds very basic.

The eye contact, right? You look at people, you show them you’re listening. Sometimes another great thing is instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’re really in the moment. You were just talking about being really aware, and I know, you know, with all the wellness we talk about, it’s so important for lawyers and We talk about being mindful, being aware, being present in that conversation.

And being present means that is the only thing going on. You are not [00:30:00] on your phone. You are not on your computer. You are not thinking about what you have to go do next. That is it. That’s the world. And just preparing your mind, you’re present in that conversation. And when you are present and listening, questions.

Just ask questions and show that you’re listening, show that you have taken in what the person has told you, and you have more you want to know, you want to be curious, and being a curious listener I think is one of the most important ways that you can show active listening. We talk about, you know, you’re giving eye contact, maybe you’re nodding your head, you’re doing all those physical things, but beyond that, how do you really show you’re interested?

You build on what they’re saying. You ask about it. You go even deeper. And that also makes for really, really interesting conversation.

LAUREN: Yeah. And I find too, I was aware or [00:31:00] became aware or found myself, I found myself feeling like when I was having a conversation, particularly with an opposing council or opposing party that I was in a.

sort of defensive argumentative stance. So as they were talking, I was listening, but only to have my argument ready to be able to like respond to them. And I found that I was doing that. And while it’s sort of our nature as attorneys in those conversations were typically around trying to reach settlement.

And I found that I wasn’t Doing a great job of hearing what the goals of the other side were. They certainly had some sort of, you know, I want it to be red. They want it to be green. So it felt like, oh, we’re at an impasse. But when I stopped to say, okay, let me not formulate a response or an argument in my head.

Let me ask more questions about, well, why does your client want it to be green and come from a place of wanting to understand versus [00:32:00] defend that that’s made such a difference? Because then they’ll say, Oh, well, because green reminds them of. I have no idea. Their grandmother. And so then I’ll be like, great, well, what about this solution?

Because I understand that’s what’s important. It’s not the color. You can then find something to your point about being creative just by listening. And so as you were talking, I thought, you know, it’s not only in a personal setting, but if you want to bring it back to our jobs, we do that in a way when we’re often in settlement negotiations or just talking with opposing counsel, we just always have that sort of defensive posture that if we can come back and.

Listen and ask more questions and be more curious. We can probably do our job a lot better for our clients.

LAURIE: Oh my gosh, 100%. And you, you can reach those kinds of solutions because how can you reach them? If you, you don’t have that, you haven’t been curious about or discovered that path, but that takes, that takes a lot of nuance and a lot of awareness.

And it also takes being at a level where you [00:33:00] are really good at your job. Where you are really trying to, to reach that. That’s amazing. And to add to that in a business setting, it’s also a way of being able to best serve our clients and getting to a real sense of what do our clients really need, because often it’s, it’s not just what’s on the surface.

There’s often so much underneath and to be able to really, really serve them well in a way that’s efficient and productive and gets to what they need and what they’ve hired us for being able to listen and get to that and get to that goal, like you were just talking about is such an incredible use of communication, which brings us back to the fact that it’s not just this.

Side note, or this soft skill or there’s something that we maybe we teach it. Maybe we don’t. It’s something that’s just integral to our practices. And obviously, from the example you’re giving can make you [00:34:00] so much of a better lawyer.

LAUREN: Whether it’s in the courtroom or talking with clients or in settlement or drafting pleadings, like you’ve said in all of those different areas, it’s such a key skill to have and shouldn’t have the word soft in front of it. It’s just a key skill and great that we can all work on it.

LAURIE: Oh, and it’s also, you know, Lauren, I know I always use you as an example, which you give me permission to which I love, you know, it also goes to a lot of the things that solo law firm owners need to do or small law firm owners and big law firms to or or any kind of marketing you need to do is really figuring out who are you talking to and how are you going to communicate what you do and who you are to them in an authentic way where the messaging really makes sense.

And I know that’s something you do really well in your law firm that I’ve [00:35:00] always kind of used as an example. Well, thank you. You’re welcome. And that kind of communication to, to really figure out, you know, not just what is this particular client do, but when you’re out looking for business and putting your firm out there, how are you communicating who you are?

And what you can do for people out there. And in order to do that, you need to know what they’re looking for. And a lot of that comes from talking to people and listening.

LAUREN: I think that’s all that sales and marketing is, is a conversation. People put a lot of weight and heaviness on it that you have to be some sort of expert or have all the right lingo or the flashy website. And it’s like really at the end of the day, you’re just having a conversation with someone and understanding what is, is the problem that they have and what are their goals and how they want to achieve it and being able to respond, like you said, in a way that provides the answers to that in general is.

You’re marketing and branding. Like [00:36:00] that’s the way that you approach that is sort of how you’re putting your business out into the world. So it really, if we haven’t underscored it enough, I feel like we’ve learned that communication is in everything and it is such a critical skill for us to have and, and be more aware of how we are presenting ourselves, how effective we are being and, and those areas for improvement.

LAURIE: Well, that’s what good sales and marketing is, right? Good sales and marketing is a conversation because we are all certainly subject to a lot of bad sales and marketing. And you know, the bad sales and marketing are the ones that a lot of them have nothing to do with you or knowing who you are, or like you said, what is the problem you’re facing and what is the solution?

And We all get those all the time. And those are the ones that we delete immediately or we don’t watch or whatever. So it’s that good sales and marketing that are a conversation. I love how you put that because that’s all communication is, is [00:37:00] a conversation. Between you and your audience, whoever it may be.

LAUREN: I think that’s such a perfect way to wrap up and end on that simple note is always just remember, it’s just a conversation between you and your audience and how can you really simplify it so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and like something we can’t get better at is just like, how can I have a better conversation and go incrementally and get better at it and feel more confident.

We always end by asking our guests how they define success. So after this conversation, I’m very excited to hear your answer. So Laurie, how do you define success as a member of the legal profession?

LAURIE: I love this question. And I’m also glad I got it ahead of time so I could think about it just a little bit.

I would define it like this. I think that as members of the legal profession, we are in the position with A great deal of expertise. [00:38:00] And knowledge and often power to be able to really affect people’s lives. And I define success as a member of the profession is using that knowledge and that expertise and whatever power I may have to make people’s lives a little bit better.

And when I worked as a prosecutor, uh, that is all I want to do in big ways, like maybe winning a case and giving a victim of a horrific crime, some closure. Or in small ways, like maybe helping someone who had, you know, their bike stolen, get it back, whatever it was, just making someone’s life a little bit better.

And I try to keep that with me now, as I kind of work in, in the communications field and not as much in actually practicing law, that by helping people be able to put their ideas out there, by helping people be able to make their businesses better. by helping people to kind of find that elusive comfort and confidence and maybe get over like a hurdle they may have had [00:39:00] about speaking out that I helped them find their voices and hopefully that that makes their lives a little bit better.

So that’s how I define it.

LAUREN: I love that. Leaving things a little bit better, even in the smallest of ways, I think is all something we can all strive for. So that is the perfect answer. And if anyone listening wants to hone in on their communication skills or needs some coaching or just wants to kind of better understand where they’re at and would like some help from you, where is the best place for them to find you?

LAURIE: The best way to find me is my website. It is TribecaBlueConsulting. com. So you can find me on there. You can contact me directly on there. I’d love to speak to anyone and you know, help you make your communication shine.

LAUREN: And we’ll link that in the show notes as well. And can’t say enough wonderful things about Laurie and all the great work that she does.

So thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us today and sharing some of your wisdom about how we can all be better communicators.

LAURIE: Oh, thank you so much for having me. And thank you so [00:40:00] much for making this such a lovely conversation. I have learned a lot from it.

LAUREN: We’re over here giving you a virtual high five because you just finished another episode of A Different Practice. For more from this episode, head over to for our show notes. If you found this episode helpful, we’d love it if you’d share it with someone. Be sure to rate the show wherever you listen to podcasts and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode.

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