A New Resource for Law Firm Leaders to Learn from Each Other

Mastermind groups have been a staple in the business community for decades, though they are less prevalent in the legal industry. The basic concept is to bring together similarly situated professionals who discuss their business challenges and get ideas, feedback, and support from the other members. Leadership is difficult, even without a pandemic and global recession; and it is even more challenging for law firm leaders who can’t spend all their time looking at the big picture and strategizing about the future. They still have to manage clients, develop business, and do billable work. The ABA Lawyer Leadership and Management Committee has put together a series of virtual mastermind sessions to help leaders navigate and lead effectively in these tumultuous times. The benefits of this mastermind program include the following:

Gain A Broader Perspective: To make good strategic choices, you need a solid understanding of the trends and the big picture business environment. It is very easy to get caught up in a bubble when we are talking primarily to a narrow group of clients and colleagues. Hearing from lawyers in different practice areas around the country can provide a deeper understanding of opportunities, pitfalls, and trends relevant to the current environment.

Learn from Others’ Experiences: Every firm is experimenting and seeking optimal ways to adapt to this new environment. Attendees of the mastermind sessions will hear success stories, as well as approaches that failed to produce the intended results. Each firm has its own culture, and its own logistical and geographical considerations. Nevertheless, hearing from other law firm leaders about their experiences provides additional data points as you consider new initiatives or fine-tune existing approaches.

Enjoy a Supportive Community: When law firm leaders participate in mastermind events, they often comment that it is reassuring to hear that others are struggling with the same problems. They enjoy connecting with others who genuinely understand their frustrations. As with any other professional or personal challenge, such as becoming a parent or writing a book, connecting with others who are navigating similar circumstances creates a sense of belonging and paves the way for friendships to develop.

Receive Input and Resources: As firms are considering changes to critical aspects of their businesses, discussions with other smart, knowledgeable individuals will almost inevitably lead to better solutions. Mastermind session participants will have a chance to share ideas with other law firm leaders who can provide suggestions, pose thoughtful questions, and offer relevant resources. Such discussions benefit everyone involved because they prompt participants to identify assumptions and think more deeply about critical issues.


The ABA Law Firm Leaders Mastermind consists of six sessions, conducted via video conference once per month over the course of six months. Each session will focus on a specific topic of interest to law firm leaders related to management, strategy, retention, and other leadership topics. Sessions will begin with a subject matter expert briefly introducing the topic by providing examples, conceptual frameworks, or other relevant content. This is intended to provide “food for thought” and generate meaningful discussion. The remainder of the session will be a facilitated dialogue where leaders can discuss ideas, pose questions, and share lessons learned. The dates and topics are below:

  1. Best Practices for Planning a Safe and Effective Return to the Office: September 15, 2020
  2. Herding Lions: Getting Partners On Board with Necessary Changes: October 20, 2020
  3. What Now? What Next? Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World: November 17, 2020
  4. Lawyer Well-Being: The Best Law Firm You Can Be: January 19, 2021
  5. Does the Compensation System Thwart Your Law Firm’s Goals?: February 16, 2021
  6. Succession Planning: What’s Your Next Step?: March 16, 2021

This Mastermind series is available to anyone in a leadership role at a law firm. For more information please see the registration page.

About the Author

Anna Rappaport is a former lawyer and principal of Excelleration Coaching, an executive coaching firm for lawyers in Washington, DC. She is co-chair of the ABA Law Practice Division’s Lawyer Leadership and Management Committee.

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