Hi Traci, tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Traci Ray, and I serve as the Executive Director of Barran Liebman LLP, in Portland, Oregon. I have been a member of the ABA Law Practice Division since being introduced to the Division at the October 2013 meeting in Scottsdale, AZ.
Why did you join the Law Practice Division?
I attended the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Conference in October 2013, and was pleasantly surprised that the conference was a joint venture with the Law Practice Division (LPD). As I met LPD members, and heard about their committees, boards and initiatives, I was immediately hooked. The expertise and experiences of the LPD members resonated with me, as I had recently taken on the role of Executive Director with our firm, and I was extremely interested in gaining insight from professionals who held similar roles.
What have you found to be the biggest benefit of the Law Practice Division?
The members! Joining a Division can be a little daunting, especially when you don’t know many people. However, the LPD was really welcoming from the start. Walt Karnstein introduced me to many members, and Tom Bolt remembered my name after learning it just once (and would say, “Hi, Traci” whenever he saw me). Both Walt and Tom helped me feel comfortable from the start – which I will always try to pay forward. I feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing LPD members (which continues to happen at each meeting I attend), and to have the chance to learn from them and work with them on various projects. Speaking of projects, the Division is full of rewarding opportunities. In the past year I’ve had the fortune of authoring a chapter for the Women Rainmakers newest Rainmaking Tips book (a big high-five to Afi Johnson-Parris and Dee Schiavelli for their management on the book) and I’ve had the pleasure of acting as the Issue Editor for the November issue of Law Practice Today (another shout out to Micah Buchdahl, Andrea Malone and Elizabeth Henslee for all their support throughout this undertaking). All of the boards and committees do wonderful work, and the LPD members have been more than inclusive – thank you!
What would you say is your biggest practice management challenge?
I thought about this answer for less than five seconds – the answer is easy for me: time! All the ideas and initiatives that I want to explore and implement take time…and time is the one thing remains elusive. On many occasions, a clock will catch my eye and I will just pause in disbelief, thinking “How can it already be 4:30 in the afternoon?” I guess it’s true, time flies when you are having fun.
What’s the best practice management tip you would like to share with readers of this article?
I have learned a majority of my management style from Ed Harnden, our managing partner at Barran Liebman LLP. I consider myself lucky to work alongside such a hard-working, personable, positive mentor – Ed is truly one of the greats. He teaches through experience, and has really allowed me to grow as a person and a professional. From him, I have ascertained that there are really three pieces to the management puzzle: Relationships, Communication, and Managing Expectations. I believe that when all three of these pieces are highly functioning, much can be accomplished.
What is the funniest moment you’ve had in your practice?
I like to help – this is just one of the many traits I inherited from my mother. Perhaps to my fault (and everyone else’s amusement), I like to help even when I am not qualified to do so (perhaps something else I learned from her; “You can do anything you set your mind to” works against me here). Once when I was trying to “help” clean up after a large firm event, I noticed the dishwasher was full and so I started it. Well, I used the wrong soap and, as the story goes, not only did the dishes get clean that evening…but so did the floors. I suppose no good deed goes unpunished, but at least it provided a nice laugh!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love weddings! I love them so much that I have helped plan numerous nuptials for friends (and even for lawyers at our firm). Furthermore, I was ordained a few years ago and performed my first ceremony in 2009 (for the daughter of one of our secretaries, who is also a close friend). I am excited to marry another long-time friend and her fiancé this summer in North Carolina.
Jason Marsh is the founder of Orlando-based internet marketing agency MARSH8. He frequently writes and speaks on how law firms can implement better online marketing strategies to acquire new clients. He is the Chair of the ABA, Law Practice Division, Legal Marketing Interest Group and Editor of Member Spotlight in Law Practice Today.