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Law By Design with Laura Hartnett
Categories: Maximum Mom

This week on Maximum Mom, your host Elise Buie joined Laura Hartnett.

Laura started her early career interning on Capitol Hill and working for federal agencies while completing a Master’s in Public Policy, then became a management consultant advising federal agencies (IRS, the Pentagon, SSA) on how to be cheaper, better, and faster. Her friends didn’t understand what she did, so they assumed she was a spy. 

While she loved her job, she was sick of developing PowerPoints and missed writing in full sentences. She then went to law school and became a litigator. She recognized that while full sentences are helpful, sometimes clients need a digest, bullet points, and even a chart to understand the legal issue better. 

Her first child was born, and BigLaw was draining. She joined the in-house counsel team at a Fortune 100 insurance company. Working directly with business clients, she saw even more that full sentences (and full memos) verged on uselessness. At the same time, she trained with her clients in design thinking – how do we provide services to humans, accepting them and operating first and foremost that the recipients of our services are humans? 

It’s a novel and revolutionary idea in the legal field. To her, it means developing an understanding of each of our clients, deliberating about the possible ways to be their legal expert, and delivering in new and different ways that delight clients. 

She set out and formed a company with the mission of making lawyering better using these skills. She does not want women, minorities, and other marginalized groups leaving the practice of law. She wants them to ascend into legal leadership positions, and she recognizes that we’re not going to get ahead practicing law the way that our largely white male predecessors did 50 years ago. 

That’s where she is committed to getting this work out there – teaching how to better communicate and connect with clients in ways that work better for lawyers and everyone involved.

2:35 cheaper, better, faster

6:27 body-positive messages

10:32 you’re serving a person

13:12 empathy

18:10 do it in bite-size pieces

22:01 do you delight in delivering these services

27:07 experiential people connections 

30:00 giftology

34:58 you need all those perspectives together

38:02 authenticity 

43:49 part of the solution

47:22 I became the spy

50:23 coming out with this mindset

Watch the interview here.

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