No matter what happens during this economic, political, health, and social crisis, Olga Mack reminds us that our skills are ours to keep. Olga is the CEO of Parley Pro, and brings her wisdom to the podcast on what lawyers and other legal professionals need to do to take care of themselves and thrive through the good times and the bad. Olga is the CEO of Parley Pro, a company that developed an innovative contract lifecycle management (CLM) tool, but she is so much more than that. A prolific speaker, a thought leader in the legal industry, a litigator, a transactional attorney, an in-house, as well as BigLaw attorney alumni. If you can name it, she’s probably mastered it. We sit down with Olga to talk about a range of topics and share in her wisdom and experiences. Come along for the ride.

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Information Inspirations
Artificial Lawyer and Legal Examiner both covered stories about a unique type of litigation funding company called LawAsYouGo. While they tout their ability to enhance Access to Justice (A2J) issues, there are a number of issues that we’d like to see addressed with how they actually create a positive influence on the A2J movement.
Our friends at Legal Innovators produced a White Paper called “Restoring Lost Hope: How to finally achieve meaningful diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.” Bryan Parker and Jon Greenblatt cover the issues of current and historic racial discrimination in the legal industry and suggestions on how to move forward. One major issue that we worry about is the fatigue that seems to be setting in on certain segments of the population. Now is not the time to rest, or think we’ve learned enough. Sharing this paper with the powers that be at your organization might be one way to help power through and look for meaningful ways to encourage diversity, inclusion, and equality.
In a recent Lindsey, Africa, and Major survey, women partners are paid an average of $332,000 less than their male counterparts. Business Insider looks at this report and explains how one of the best options for female partners to increase their pay and their happiness, is to leave and go to somewhere else.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript

Marlene Gebauer:  Welcome to the geek and review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene gay, Bauer. And I’m Greg Lambert. So Marlene, we are finally out of beta.

Greg Lambert:  Yes, thankfully, in and by that I’m I mean, the tropical storm, not like we’re some software that’s coming out of.

Marlene Gebauer:  I know what you mean. my backyard knows what you mean. Yeah.

Greg Lambert:  Well, I don’t know about you. But I could use a little sunshine. You know, to be honest, I would much rather have the inconvenience of being just a little bit soggy then from the tropical storm than having those wildfires that they’re having out west. So, you know, we’ll, I’ll take the rain and best best luck to the people out west or in during those wildfires? Absolutely. All right. Well, let’s jump right into this week’s information inspirations. Marlene, we’ve talked about major litigation funding before on the podcast with the likes of Scott mazursky. And recently with legal value network webinar that I attended on the subject really interesting. But I saw two stories this week about a new funding company called law as you go, which claims to help fill the access to justice gap by creating a line of credit to individuals needing legal assistance. Oh, boy. Yeah. Now I’m going to come right out and say that my initial reaction to the story, which ran both in the artificial lawyer and the legal examiner, the past couple of days is that, you know, there’s a sea of red flags that are going on here. You know, it has this feel of a cross between a payday loan company and a bail bonds operation. You know, and those are perfectly legal businesses. But you know, we all know that, that they have some serious issues, which, you know, tend to create a lot of residual issues, you know, for people who are financially vulnerable. Exactly, yeah. So we know that we have an access to justice problem in the United States, there’s just no doubt about that. That you know, and the issue is that people just can’t afford the high cost of justice, you know, and that’s a big obstacle in the legal system. So being able to finance that costs could be a reasonable approach on helping people obtain justice. This type of operation, however, you know, seems to come with a lot of questions that I would like to see answered before I would view it as a reasonable approach to an atj issue.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah, I have to agree. I mean, there would have to be a lot more transparency as to how this works and how it’s explained to those who are going to use this the service. And and you know, what their liabilities are for it? Well, Greg, our friends, Brian Parker and john green Blatt at legal innovators have come out with a white paper, and it’s highlighting how to achieve meaningful diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. They start out with highlighting the state of the legal industry, and you can cue up the sad music. Yeah,

Greg Lambert:  I can kind of envision what the state of the legal industry is, right?

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah, so not surprisingly, the industry has been slow to embrace diversity. And the 2008 recession, disproportionately impacted attorneys of color. So it’s set levels back, and it’s taken a decade to recover that ground. The report also notes that there’s higher attrition rates by females and racially and ethnically diverse lawyers from law firms. And if you just get on to Twitter, you can hear all of the reasons why people left.

Greg Lambert:  Twitter’s a good place to find out all the reasons.

Marlene Gebauer:  It’s like the after dark, you know, it’s like the after dark. So many in 2020 are worried that they’re going to see a repeat of diversity inclusion goals receding. And so what they’re talking about is is what’s the business case for it? So they know the McKinsey report finds a solid business case for increasing diversity. But you know, what we’ve seen is turning aspirational talk into action has remained a problem. And the issue of diversity fatigue, which I did not know was a thing until I read this is real. You know, there’s real burnout about how to recruit and retain, racially and ethnically diverse and female talent. So they talk about how do we move this needle, and they go a little bit into the history of it. So you know, the ABA has made recommendations for reforms, including areas of planning, culture, assessment and accountability. So Sherman and Sterling way back in 1997, had a partnership with the n double A CP, to attract aspiring candidates that were unlikely to go into corporate law, but firms still have not succeeded in making a model where diversity is sustained. The paper suggests that a practical way to sustain diversity and inclusion efforts is to make it a business imperative and to consistently measure and report results, culture needs to be addressed. So talent feels included and valued. Good culture also has to concern itself with the lifecycle of talent management. So the hiring, development promotion. So the white paper is great. A lot of research has gone into this and legal innovators lays out their model and you know how it supports the case for helping law firms. And in addition to deep content, it has really easily digestible infographics. So take a look forward to your HR or talent management recruitment or DNI teams.

Greg Lambert:  Yeah, yeah, one of the things you mentioned there is the, you know, worry and you see it in some of the current federal government educational programs and some of the rules Now, is this backlash against the DNI training. So that type of what did you call it? fatigue? diversity, fatigue, diversity? fatigue? Yes, yeah, is real. So we have to be very careful, because this is not something that we need to be fatigued about. Alright, so I have a quick one to wrap it up. So Business Insider had this article that caught my attention, and it caught my attention because it was a little click Beatty in the title. So first of all, I want to read the wording of the link that I saw in safe it grabs your attention to so here’s the link, female partners and big law make $332,000 less than male partners on average. But one change has been shown to increase women’s salaries by more than 40% and boost their happiness as well. Did that graveyard, I want to know what that one change is?

Marlene Gebauer:  That’s good. I gotta say, it’s like, I want to click

Greg Lambert:  I know, I know. Well, there’s some really good information that’s been gathered by the recruiting firm of Lindsay Africa and major in their salary survey. And I think they do this every other year. The one thing that boosts pay and happiness for female partners, I’ll go ahead and jump in that. And so you don’t have to click on row. So the one thing is kind of good and bad, and that is that they need to move to another firm.

Marlene Gebauer:  Bingo. So what did I just talk about? Like, oh, yeah, people leave? Why do they leave to go

Greg Lambert:  play cells go someplace else? So again, while it may not be a shocker to many of us, you know, in a way it is it’s very sad that law firms can’t do better at finding ways of keeping talent and appropriately paying the talent, especially if that talent is historically underpaid, and underappreciated. So

Marlene Gebauer:  yeah, you know, it’s interesting because I you know, when I’m on Twitter, I see some of these people talking about why they’ve left firms and and a lot of them just go out and start their own because you know, how they feel that the culture is so sort of unaccepting and unwelcoming. Yeah. And that wraps up this week’s information inspirations. Olga Mack is the CEO of parley pro and next gen contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. If you haven’t seen her LinkedIn posts, you absolutely should. Let’s hit the interview.

 

 

Marlene Gebauer:  Today we have a very special guest, Olga Mack is the CEO of Parley Pro, a next gen contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. She’s presented at TEDx on how smart contracts will change the world, and several webinars and podcasts on why corporations need women on their boards. In 2019, she received the Agents of Change Award from Diablo magazine. In 2020, the women of influence award from the San Francisco Business Journal. And most recently she was inducted into the Fastcase 50. This year, Olga, thank you very much for being on the show.

Olga Mack:  Marlene, it’s fantastic and exciting to be here. Thank you for inviting and Greg, it’s great to be with you again.

Greg Lambert:  Well, it’s good to have you here. So, Olga. I mean, you’ve got a, you know, an arm’s length of awards that you’ve done, but can you give us a little bit about your journey to where you are professionally?

Olga Mack:  Yeah, I’m what you would describe as a tech lawyer by design. I immigrated to the United States when I was 13. And in the middle of Silicon Valley, and have observed my family change and transform through technology, through the opportunity that has provided. Both of my parents engineers, and I just had a little bit of pressure to become one. And I became completely apparent that I cannot spend my entire day in front of the computer, I decided to go to law school. I wanted to be on the corner product knowledge, I wanted to shape policy, and I wanted to have people and companies to really be on this digital journey. And when I went to law school, I basically studied intellectual property security and privacy. A sort of very classic training for a tackler. I after law school, I joined Wilson Sonsini as a patent security privacy litigator, and that at some point I went in house, my first in house job was at Visa Inc, the fortune 500 company. And that’s when my traditional career ended, and I ran away with the circus coke startups. And I joined Zoosk, which is online dating company as the number two lawyer. And I was there, trying to help the company to go public. I was then recruited to be the General Counsel of ClearSlide, which is online and sales engagement platform. And my job was to help the company be acquired and I helped on the journey for about three years. After that, I joined as VP of strategy of a Y Combinator company called Quantstamp, and my job was to help to build products, protocols and partnerships. And that’s when Parley Pro came into my life. Parley Pro has approached me to join as a CEO because of their former general counsel, because I’ve been on the cutting edge of technology. And because I deeply care about the future of law, especially as it relates to the in house community. I’ve had numerous conversations with the in house community, through my writing through my webinars, through my speaking about technology aspects of the future of law. Skills aspects of the future of law, and, frankly, emotional preparedness. As we’re seeing the future of law, the way it’s practiced in house and other areas change right in front of our eyes.

Greg Lambert:  What a shame that you’ve had such a boring career.

Marlene Gebauer:  I was gonna say,

Olga Mack:  I really like to be predictable.

Marlene Gebauer:  Well, Olga, I know you have your fingers in many pots, though, there’s a lot of things that we could talk about. But what we’re going to focus on for the podcast today is the importance of attorneys taking care of themselves. And you’ve recently been posting a lot about the importance of this. So things like you know, mentioning, you know, lack of sleep is not an act of heroism. And thinking about the stress from having to act in a way that’s expected rather than being genuine being chained to a desk. And I think that’s particularly stressful now, you know, if people have to go back to the office. Eating poorly, not exercising, you know, the list, the list goes on. How the heck did we get to this place? And what do we need to do to reverse course?

Olga Mack:  That’s a very good question. You know, back to law school, Somebody once told me that being aware is 1000 year old path and to be successful, you have to keep going on it. And otherwise, you’re sort of on your own, and the wolves and the sharks will eat you. I’ve been told that basically the beginning of law school. And it’s sort of fueled the desire to change law from the day one, the way we practice it, the way we consume it, the relationship we have, both as professionals and as recipients of that advice. One of the things that we accept for granted, is how much we push lawyers to the limits, how much we don’t train them to be, you know, good humans first good, take care of themselves, and how we really worship on a pedestal a lot. But I think law cannot be divorced from humanity. When we talk about concepts of justice and doing the right things, and law is very related. Doing justice to yourself, is important. And unlike business schools, where you spent two years, in law school was spent three. That’s a lot of time, we have plenty of time to teach future lawyers how to be human first, how to take care of themselves, how to contribute to society, and frankly, how to be a good lawyer. So law school is long enough, and somehow we fail to teach 80% of what’s important. And it shows in a lot of anxiety, numerous folks have written spoken about it, and how many lawyers exit this profession, and just general dissatisfaction. You know, what I in my transition to on the business side, which actually was not all that intential, I was a very, very happy lawyer, I really enjoyed practice of law, I just sort of happened. What what struck me as a very remarkable is when folks have told me that I’m a “recovering lawyer.” And that does not sound good. It made it sounds like law somehow was a bad choice, or it was just an indiscretion, or some sort of addiction. And I assure you, it was none of those things, I was a very happy lawyer. But a lot of people feel this way. There’s a reason why we use words of addiction to describe practice a law. And that has to change.

Greg Lambert:  So you’ve posted recently, and and I think maybe somewhat controversially, that lawyers are not as risk averse, as everyone seems to claim that they are. What about this particular topic, especially like with self care? Do you think they are that they’re risk adverse on on this issue?

Olga Mack:  I think self care, I think an education will go a long way. I don’t think it’s a question of risk so much. Really. I think it is the baseline expectation and education and giving tools to take care of yourself.

Greg Lambert:  Well, let me let me follow up on that. What kind of if you could be the the leader of a of a law school and you had, you know, 1L, 2L, or 3L, what would you inject into the system that would help?

Olga Mack:  Oh, so many things?

Marlene Gebauer:  Where do I start?

Olga Mack:  So many things. I mean, in fact, I taught at Berkeley law, and none of them were traditional subjects. I was teaching financial statements, leadership and design thinking. I think it was a great addition. But specifically to taking care of yourself. I really break clause that I sat through once, was will is by the author of Anxious Lawyer, Jeena Cho. And she lead, you know, very hardcore litigators through the meditation exercise. She asked everyone to close their eyes. That is not a common ask for lawyers. And then very calmly, in her soft voice, proceeded to a very different conversation. And then she asked everyone to open their eyes, and I saw how they looked at the world differently, like right in front of my eyes. That is something would be useful to teach the law students. You know, when you see this really hardcore lawyers, who argue all day long and on top of their licenses, know case law, first law, the idea of closing their eyes right in the middle of the day in the big round table? And then just you can tell how they enjoyed life so much better after that exercise. It was so visible, it was unforgettable. It’s things like that. And I think if you show. Lawyers are some of the smartest people I know, if you show them a better way, if you show them technology, if you show them skills, if you show them tools, they’ll use them.

Marlene Gebauer:  So I want to get back to the the expectations comment that you you made a little bit earlier. So you know I think on a certain level, legal organizations and maybe more specifically big law You know, they want their practitioners to be healthy and happy, you know, they don’t want them to be miserable. But, you know, at the same time, leadership is faced with an economic issue. That revenue has to keep coming in to keep the lights on. So how do they facilitate this health conscious working environment, and still keep a focus on the bottom line?

Olga Mack:  I think I’m gonna say something that may be a little controversial.

Marlene Gebauer:  Um, please do.

Olga Mack:  I’m gonna inject some drama. you know, look, you know, in a big law, I was in big law. And actually, I was in big law right at the time of last recession. And a couple of things, you know, some long as you tie your profits to hours, your intentions may be good in terms of helping you lawyers to thrive, but I think if you tie profits to hours, your business model has to depend on overworking people.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah, that’s what I was wondering like, since we’re all still married to the billable hour, how do we get around that?

Olga Mack:  Hey look, there are many ways to get around it. And sometimes it is the easier way to go. But a lot of times, it’s not necessary. There are ways to structure legal services. You know, my, my plumber doesn’t charge me by the hour. My gardener does not charge by the hour. They could, but and that incentivizes them to look for efficient ways to add value to my household.

Marlene Gebauer:  And, and they have a sense of what it costs, like they have a sense of how long it’s going to take. And so they can price accordingly. You know, based on that, that’s right.

Olga Mack:  But they’re also incentivized to look for efficient ways to to add value to my household. To work with me and be open minded. So um, you know, I do think that maybe in some circumstances, our win rate may be easier. But not every time, you really don’t have to charge hourly to add a lot of value to your clients. I think if we change this model largely or completely, that will force us to buy, look for efficiencies, I think acknowledge is going to be a big chunk of look for ways to measure volume, as opposed to hours. That’s a very crude way. I used to joke at a law firm, me telling you how many hours I work makes me feel a little bit objectified, it’s a little bit like describing older in pounds and height, but it just whole lot more to older than how much a weight and how tall I am. So I do think that we can and we should find the value of legal services. And I think changing the focus from hours to value will really demonstrate how much volume most lawyers give to businesses to humans. And I think that will change the reputation of lawyers.

Greg Lambert:  Now, you know, we talked about how how we take care of ourselves, but with this profession, you know, it’s it’s very confrontational. And so a lot of times we we don’t necessarily treat each other very well. And I was thinking of you had shared an amazing story about how you were working as a prosecutor in court while being almost nine months pregnant. And the judge asking you in front of the court, how you plan to handle your cases.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah, I’m gonna jump in, like your response here was was brilliant. So I hope you share it for the listeners, you know, the judge may have not met anything by this but you know, it was viewed as Okay, and it’s not okay. You know, bad behaviors notoriously tolerated in law firms, you know, big stakes, high pressure. How do we do better?

Olga Mack:  Yeah, very interesting. Um, yeah, I was fortunate enough to be part of justice program where I spent half a year in San Francisco DS office under Kamilah to prosecute cases. And that’s where I had an experience of doing 30 trials. And they were not trials of the century. Many of them were possessions and he lies. But for a young ambitious lawyer, seeing the courtroom was a really big deal. And I learned so much, and doing everything from arraignments to various motion practices do doing trials, and I grew up in San Francisco. I know San Francisco very well. I immigrated when I was 13. And I even had to be Ida for someone who I knew growing up. And so I really understand the problems of the of the city, a big city, and how some people get lost in this world. And I, my very first case, I was, I was very excited about it was a case of stolen goods from a store in downtown. And I was over preparing just like every little bit of work for a trial. And I might have been a little nervous, but I was super excited. And I was also visibly pregnant. I was nine months pregnant, like they gave birth the day after we got a birthday. So I was pretty big. And then the judge was looking at him with a lot of curiosity. And then at some point, he’s a well respected judge, she said, madam da, I always wanted to ask you how you’re being pregnant affects your ability to prosecute the case. You know, I didn’t really think about it, I just sort of said, Hey, you know, my stomach grows, but my brain stays the same. I really wish it were the other way around. I wasn’t trying to be brushed, I just I did not know how to answer that question. That’s the first thing that came to my mind. I’m also pretty honest and truthful. You know, if you want to know how I’m doing, I’m going to tell you exactly how I’m doing. And so, you know, I think it kind of led to a pregnant pause in the middle of a courtroom. And that would just serve proceeded as if nothing happened. But you know, I, I do believe he did not necessarily come from a bad place. I think he was probably curious, being, you know, my, the public defender was a male, the judge being a male, you know, being a young pregnant woman. And as that in front of the jury, where you probably don’t necessarily want to be seen as weak as a prosecutor, you know, yes, I was a little stripy. And maybe that’s why I was a little brush. But yeah, I often look back on that comment and question. I don’t really he meant it in a bad way. I do believe that. You did that the question didn’t make me comfortable. But I think we could educate sensitivity. That’s another thing you can teach in law school. I’m here you can even to judges go through a lot of training judges through training.

Marlene Gebauer:  So it’s good. We’re like, we’re putting together all new classes for for law schools, just in this podcast. So that’s good.

Greg Lambert:  I have to say, I really enjoyed that. Olga, injected pregnant pause into that. Yes.

Olga Mack:  I was actually sometimes more powerful than my words. Yes. You know, sometimes when people say funny things, it’s this extra few seconds of stare, that will set a very strong message.

Marlene Gebauer:  Like the sensitivity training is, is, you know, a great idea. Because, you know, you’re dealing with many kind of Type A folks who, you know, perhaps that’s sort of not their first focus in terms of, you know, working, it’s really kind of getting things done and getting the project done and being successful. But being trained to kind of stop and think about what kind of impact that you’re having on, you know, the community around you, I think would would be very valuable.

Olga Mack:  Yeah. You know, but, you know, in house behavior that is rewarded is actually much less confrontational. interest, I spend most of my career in house. And I would say, you can try in house in most in house positions. On the legal side, if you don’t prioritize collaboration, I definitely think that my ability to collaborate focus on adding value to the business to the stakeholders to the department has been ingrained and polished in my in house practice. You know, I when I when I graduated from law school, I didn’t know a whole lot about my options and war. That’s something we can educate lawyers about too. Because, you know, folks asked me what kind of lawyer I would like to be, and I’ve never been in kind of work. So it’s a really hard question to answer. And one of the things that could have been going in house and I have to say the first year in house was an eye opening after being at a big law and actually being a prosecutor for half a year. It’s a it’s a very different world, and the soft skills, the collaborative abilities are much much much more important. Your your legal skills are definitely table stakes, and you succeed in that world. both internally in your legal department and externally with your clients by being a really good team player.

Marlene Gebauer:  Oh, that’s, that’s certainly, that’s good to know. And, and certainly good for the listeners to know. COVID has been stressful for all of us. And you know, but perhaps it’s given us a jumpstart on understanding that careers aren’t static. You know, maybe we’ve learned along the way, there’s a basis for a different approach, or different work or different goals. So what advice would you offer for those practitioners who want to be, you know, their more modern version like the attorney 3.0?

Olga Mack:  Look, I have written a lot about her and happy to share my views. But I do think that in the end of the day has to change quite a lot. We are very rigid, we think of swim lanes, and those swim lanes and not, you know, you know how swim lanes are just kind of beads in the world. They’re concrete.

Marlene Gebauer:  They’re like the ends of the pool.

Olga Mack:  Yeah, you cannot jump over. It’s very granular, right? It’s the swim lanes are rigid. They’re not just rigid. In between the legal world and business world. You are up until recently, we have seen very few lawyers to go from this legal world to business world. Yet, if you look in the business world, somebody who is marketer could easily be a product person could easily become a sales professional could easily then become a customer success person. This is a much more fluid business world. In law, there is a big concrete wall that is like lane number one. But even if you look within law, you know, the number one question that I’m asked, because I’m done with what’s seen in law, as lots of fields have been a litigator, I went in house at a fortune 500 company, I went to down to a startup that I become a general, I never had the same job twice. And in law, those seamless, big pivots, because people somehow when you when I was applying in house will tell me you’re a litigator, you’ve never negotiated contracts. Well, at some point I’ve never taught. And at some point, I wasn’t a lawyer, contract negotiators. I’m not born, they’re made. When I was applying for general counsel position, people will tell me you’ve never been a general counsel, or I’ve never been a lot of things before. Right. At some point, somebody has to give me my first. And that’s it. If you talk to lawyers who go from litigation to corporate to from big law to in house to government, to General Counsel this people to heart, and a lot of it is because we think that there are different skills and you can’t learn and Yeah, that makes no sense. Some of the smartest people I know, are lawyers, you give them a learning opportunity, they will devour they spent, like their entire career jumping through hoops of increasing difficulty. And all of those hoops require learning yet somehow, when they become lawyers will pretend that they’re completely incapable of learning and tell them that if you happen to choose to be a litigator, you cannot be a corporate lawyer. That makes no sense. That absolutely makes no sense. Somebody asked me what why I became a litigator. I’ll be honest with you, I have no plans to become a litigator. I love reading, writing and arguing. But I did not like making other people’s life miserable. I did not like leaning on Discovery. And I think a lot of law cases are or one discovery. So why did I become a litigator? Very simple. I graduated from law school in 2006, as the corporate work was diminishing, and my law firm, told me quite bluntly, Olga you’re very welcome, you think you’re talented, we would love you to join the law firm as a litigator. Otherwise you’re on your own, you can practice it just not transactional on the litigation side. And I spent about three and a half years proving to myself what I already know that I did not want to do it again. Right. And then it was very writing, but after three and a half years, when I was looking for opportunities to you know, I find a way I acknowledge to myself that you know, I am done with proving to myself that I did not want to be litigator and I want to go in house. Then I got another obstacle. Olga, you cannot become a corporate lawyer because you spend three and a half years being away to get this makes no sense. This makes no sense. We wish would allow much more fluid it was in law and frankly, across disciplines. From law. I’ve seen lawyers in product roles in sales roles and customer success roles and all kinds of role and not just in, in other discipline, and they’re capable, they’re absolutely capable. And they’re interested and willing to learn. They’re capable of the smartest people I know. And they can succeed in any view. Now, you

Greg Lambert:  have mentioned that you you practice during the last downturn. And I know, there’s a lot of anxiety, especially from some of the younger attorneys, and specifically amongst those who graduated this year, and are finding all these challenges, just, you know, barriers on entry into the market right now, with your experience and understanding what’s going on. Now, what would you advise for someone just starting out to kind of curtail some of that anxiety that they’re feeling right now,

Olga Mack:  I can actually relate to that, if that was a very junior were at a big law firm as my class was shrinking. And the law firms of the time were not as honest about that they were shrinking. They were talking about performance. Somehow, every, all my friends mother’s had cancer, and they were no longer practicing law. And I found that the person on the right office was empty One day, the person on the web, and being a junior person and the young lawyer and just a young human, it’s a scary place, especially because, you know, in the United States, in law, we our identity is very closely tied to our trade, you know that every conversation you have a stranger will likely end up what do you do for a living in one shape or another, some people will ask you that overtly others will ask you kind of more diplomatically. But basically, that is something that everybody will ask you our identities, we are as people very much, especially in law, but frankly, just in our society, revolve around what we do day every day in providing services or, or building products. And so I think so during that recession, so number one thing in the place where you don’t know things are happening is is just very easy. Number two, I I made a lot of observation is that in that downturn, there’s number of high profile lawyers who were either laid off or, and unfortunately, there’s a number of suicides. I think it shows to you that one, about our identity, and two, that lawyers are probably not equipped to take care of themselves, especially when their identities challenged. Those are skills that need to be taught in law school, we need to know economic turbulence, environmental turbulence, are becoming normal, we need to have skills to seek help when we need it. So with respect to how, you know, what did I think works, because I definitely know I made a decision in house during the bad economy, when everybody told me that it was impossible. I think, one is that I realized that Everything I have is here. You know, there are many ways to learn. And nobody can take your skills away. You you acquire skills, and they are transferable things, and you can have them with you. Your reputation, your skills, and your determination. Those are your skills, no matter what you did before whether you had a job or not. And so I went on the mission to acquire skills. That’s how I made my transition in house. Because everybody told me I never negotiated a contract, I found a way to negotiate contracts. I sat down, I asked my friends to share 40 contracts, I compared them, I created an outline, not all that different I would create in Moscow. And when somebody told me that I had no idea what I’m talking about, you know, actually contracts are a very finite universe. Every contract has about 20 clauses, there’s about what 10 to 20 variations of every clause. And if you look at about 40 to 400 contracts, I guarantee you, you will know quite a lot. Um, and then I was on the board and later become a general counsel of a nonprofit in RSA deeply care about arts and trained artists. And I practiced that negotiation. By the time I was interviewing the visa, and they were looking at my very litigation driven resume, and trying to suggested that I’ve never seen a contract. I could have a very robust discussion about contract negotiation just through self learning and small practice. So I do think that in this chicken and egg problem where you don’t get a job because you don’t have a skill, you don’t have a skill because you don’t have a job. You know, sometimes I my advice is to sell for the skill and be very creative. You have a lot of controllers and some of the smartest people I know. They can learn, they can find very creative ways to learn self learning is absolutely the way to do it while engineering another there’s deal in other ways. I see very senior lawyers learning business through being advisory members for startups, that is absolutely the way to do it. I’ve done that many times. Again, look for opportunities to learn. look for opportunities to upskill look for opportunities to streamline your practice or technology. Nobody can take that away. It’s portable skills, you will survive and thrive in any economy. I guarantee you.

Greg Lambert:  That’s some wisdom.

Marlene Gebauer:  to say those are good words of wisdom. That’s that’s a good ending point, I think.

Greg Lambert:  Olga Mack, we both appreciate you taking the time to come on and talk with us today. Thank you

Post-interview

Greg Lambert:  Marlene, it’s always good to talk with Olga. I was glad she could make it onto the show. The you know, the one thing that my favorite takeaway from talking with her was her comment on how skills are something that you take with you, and no one can take away from you. You know, that’s just a great way of thinking about I don’t want to say your value but the you know, your skill set and that’s yours. And it doesn’t matter what path your career it takes. Yeah, and and so I mean, you can take that from job to job.

Marlene Gebauer:  Of course. Absolutely. I mean, You can’t think of well, just because I’m no longer at this job doesn’t mean that I, I don’t have my skills anymore. I mean that that’s silly. Another I’ll add to yours. Another thing that that I liked is that, you know, she feels that it’s really important to be genuine and to really sort of be your genuine self and I think we’ve we’ve had that theme, you know, with with with cat moon and with Brian Parker, and you know, with numerous other guests about, you know, you got to be your real self in order to really shine at what you do. And so and Olga is definitely if she definitely embraces that, and, and so I really appreciate it. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at at gay, Bauer M or clamber. Or you can call the geek and review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert:  Thanks, Jerry. We’ll talk to you later Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer:  All right, bye. stay dry.

 

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Photo of Greg Lambert Greg Lambert

Librarian-Lawyer-Knowledge Management-Competitive Analysis-Computer Programmer…. I’ve taken the Renaissance Man approach to working in the legal industry and have found it very rewarding. My Modus Operandi is to look at unrelated items and create a process that can tie those items together. The overall…

Librarian-Lawyer-Knowledge Management-Competitive Analysis-Computer Programmer…. I’ve taken the Renaissance Man approach to working in the legal industry and have found it very rewarding. My Modus Operandi is to look at unrelated items and create a process that can tie those items together. The overall goal is to make the resulting information better than the individual parts that make it up.