What Clients Want


Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140407 What Clients WantIn 2000 Mel Gibson starred in a movie called “What Women Want” in which a freak accident caused his character, Nick Marshall, to suddenly have the ability to hear women’s unspoken thoughts. He initially found it to be a very disconcerting experience, because (1) he discovered that he had some erroneous assumptions, and (2) women’s impressions of him were not very flattering. In fact, many of them thought he was a jerk. It turned out that what they said to him and what they actually thought did not exactly coincide.

Eventually, however, Nick realized that he could use his new abilities to do research that would allow him to understand women better. He began to modify his own assumptions, expectations, perceptions and behaviors, based on his research. His interactions became more effective and enjoyable. He became more successful in his career. Read more «What Clients Want»

Relief for Stressed Out Lawyers and Law Students


Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140407 Relief for Stressed Out LawyersThe countdown to the bar exam has started and I’m hearing about stressed out law grads. I frequently get calls from lawyers who need new tools for coping with stress. Sometimes, even as a coach, I get overcommitted or “life happens” and I find myself feeling cranky, anxious and struggling to sleep.

Stress negatively impacts our optimal cognitive functioning. That means that we may tend to forget what we already know about how to relieve stress. So for my own benefit and yours, I’m going to list some of my favorite (and not so favorite) ways to relax.

1. Exercise. I might as well swallow the bad-tasting medicine first. I’m one of those people who hate to exercise just for the sake of exercise. Nevertheless, according to Harvard Medical School, moderate exercise can reduce the production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins which are the body’s mood elevators.

If you feel the way I do about exercise, find ways to make it more fun. Walk along a beautiful trail or work out at the gym while chatting with a friend.  Take a dance class or play a sport. Reward yourself with a protein smoothie after your workout. Do something to make it more enjoyable, or you’ll just wind up stressing over your failure to keep your commitment to exercise. Read more «Relief for Stressed Out Lawyers and Law Students»

Six Essential Traits of the Successful Legal Entrepreneur


Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140407 Successful EntrepreneurSometimes lawyers get so focused on honing their legal skills that they don’t recognize themselves as entrepreneurs. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Very few law schools have classes that actually teach a lawyer how to run a law practice. How can you know whether you will be any good at it? What if you aren’t graduating in the top 10% of your class? Does that mean you have limited potential for successfully running your own law firm?

Inc. magazine online shared advice from Steve Blank about entrepreneurism in a commencement speech to engineering students. It’s good advice for lawyers, too. He said:

“[G]reat grades and successful entrepreneurs have at best a zero correlation….You don’t get grades for resiliency, curiosity, agility, resourcefulness, pattern recognition and tenacity. You just get successful.”

In this post I want to talk about why those qualities are essential for a successful legal practice. Read more «Six Essential Traits of the Successful Legal Entrepreneur»

Ethics of Juggling Client Needs Effectively

Debra L. Bruce and Richard C. Price will be co-panelists

at the upcoming School Law Retreat, speaking on

“Ethics of Juggling Client Needs Effectively in a 24 Hour Day”

for more info: State Bar of Texas School Law Retreat

 Saturday, July 19, 2014

11:15am to 12:15pm

 Hyatt Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, TX

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