Don’t Be Afraid to Be Uncomfortable

National Native American Bar AssociationTonight we will be interviewing Mary L. Smith, President of the National Native American Bar Association. She is a Special Counsel & Estate Trust Officer at the Office of Special Deputy Receiver in Chicago, Illinois where she helps manage over 23 entities with approximately $1.5 billion in assets.

Previously, she was General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Insurance and part of the senior management team. In this position, Ms. Smith oversaw the Legal Department and, in fiscal year 2013, oversaw the Market Conduct Section, one of the major regulatory functions of the Department of Insurance. Ms. Smith was responsible for coordinating the legal aspects of establishing a health care exchange in Illinois, developing plans for troubled companies, and leading major regulatory settlements that benefit Illinois consumers.

Ms. Smith has also served as Counselor in the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice. In her work in the Civil Division, Ms. Smith focused on national security, consumer protection, constitutional issues, and legislative matters.  She has also spearheaded a reorganization and reinvigoration of the Consumer Protection Branch, which handles consumer litigation including matters involving international fraud schemes.

While in the private sector, Ms. Smith was a Partner in the Chicago office of Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman, a women-owned firm, and an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Smith has worked at the highest levels of government including serving in the Clinton White House as Associate Counsel to the President and Associate Director of Policy Planning where she was responsible for a number of policy areas.

In addition to her legal activities, Ms. Smith served on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors.

To hear our interview with Mary, join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.


Interview with Esquire Coaching’s CEO


Ann Jenrette-Thomas, Founder & CEO of Esquire Coaching

by Melissa Grau

In celebration of Esquire Coaching’s one year anniversary, Ann Jenrette-Thomas, our Founder and CEO and the host of Esquire Coaching Radio, was put in the hot seat. Public Relations intern Melissa Grau interviewed Ann during this show, getting to the nitty gritty of what Esquire Coaching is all about.

In just one year, Esquire Coaching was able to impact thousands of lawyers across the country through speeches, social media, their blog, radio show, and of course their coaching programs. Esquire Coaching prides itself on “Empowering lawyers to happily succeed in the business of law,” driving home its initiative to help lawyers unapologetically claim the life and career they want.

Esquire Coaching has helped lawyers become rainmakers, honor who they are, and step into positions of leadership. In addition, Esquire Coaching has successfully chartered a new paradigm in coaching, employing a team of coaches to address each client holistically and with a customized approach.

Ann Jenrette-Thomas dared to say, “yes.” She has dared to say “yes” to finding a way to help lawyers build their practice while maintaining their peace of mind. A seemingly far-fetched and nearly impossible feat, this vision is nonetheless demonstrated day in and day out by Esquire Coaching clients happily succeeding in the business of law.

Ann developed this notion after working in a variety of areas of the law (government, small and large firms). She saw how excited people were to go to law school and how excited they were to help make the world a better place. She also saw people enter the practice of law, losing that enthusiasm they once had for the law. Ann wanted to find a better way to help lawyers grow their books of business without sacrificing their personal life or compromising the quality of their legal services. Ann was able to combine her knowledge of law and newfound coaching abilities and Esquire Coaching was born.

Committed to the personal empowerment of clients, Esquire Coaching strives to help clients empower themselves. Realizing that everything comes from within, Esquire Coaching promotes personal empowerment as an essential element of success. This coaching firm prides itself on helping clients achieve their goals and to be ambitious, but certainly not at the expense of their happiness, health, and relationships.

In addition to a strong commitment to ots mission, Esquire Coaching is founded upon the following five core values:

Service. Every member of the Coaching Team is dedicated to providing clients with the best and most beneficial service they have to offer.  As a personal practice, Ann sets the intention and even prays to be of the highest service to her clients before each coaching call.

Comprehensive Solutions. Esquire Coaching is all about finding holistic solutions to far-reaching dilemmas. It might not be the easiest to brainstorm, but this value is most definitely one of the game-changers in terms of Esquire Coaching’s services. They are first to offer customized solutions implementing a holistic approach to any given problem.

Evolution. Whether it is in terms of their company pursuing growth or working to push clients, Esquire Coaching welcomes innovation at all levels.

Fairness. Esquire Coaching strives to empower diverse attorneys and lawyers, leveling the playing field in all respects to race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

Leadership. Regardless of leadership experience or personality, Esquire Coaching aims to unleash the leader within clients, helping them to see their own leadership potential and embrace it.

Esquire Coaching’s values serve as a basis for its holistic coaching approach. To avoid blind spots in any given area of a client’s life, Team Members start by conducting a thorough intake of the client’s life. From clearly articulating goals, to identifying obstacles, to better assessing client characteristics, Esquire Coaching then pairs up clients with specialists in a specific field congruent to the client’s needs. For example, if a client’s marriage is failing, Esquire Coaching realizes he/she would not be able to fully implement business development strategies. Thus, the client would work with a relationship coach in addition to a business development coach. This unique approach of triaging a client’s needs and then assigning a specialist to each need leaves no stone unturned and no aspect of a client’s life ignored.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can experience this unique coaching process for yourself, email Esquire Coaching at for a free consultation. Visit our website at and sign up for our newsletter Elevate!

How has Esquire Coaching affected your life in the past year?

We want to hear from you! Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ and share your comments below.

Interview with Esquire Coaching’s CEO

Ann-headshotWe are celebrating Esquire Coaching’s 1-year anniversary!

Here is a statement honoring this milestone from our CEO & President, Ann Jenrette-Thomas:

‘In our first year, we’ve impacted thousands of lawyers across the US through our speeches, social media, radio show & blog, and of course through our coaching programs, encouraging them to step into leadership, develop their businesses, make wellness and self care a priority, and honor WHO they are (their authenticity).

We’ve chartered a NEW paradigm in coaching, one where we help our clients avoid blind spots by pairing them with a TEAM of coaches.

We’ve innovated solutions to empower lawyers to happily succeed in the business of law.

We wrote an Amazon best-selling new release, The Happy Law Practice, and had an innovative telesummit exploring this topic.

We’ve already taken the national stage several times, speaking and presenting for organizations like the ABA, NALP, and SABA-DE, as well as at the Lavender Law Conference.

We are a thought leader on issues of diversity and we equip diverse attorneys with the business development skills and mindset necessary to succeed.

To all of our supporters, to our wonderful team, coaches, consultants, and our amazing clients, we THANK YOU for a tremendous first year.


This is just the beginning! Thank you!’

To hear our interview with Ann, join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.

Hacking Law School: Creative Suggestions for Excellence and Expertise

Lenese Herbert“Hacking Law School: Creative Suggestions for Excellence and Expertise During Your Legal Education” is an unusual, behind-the-podium, 21st century approach to law school in an age where legal jobs for new graduates are scarce and the competition for them is brutal.

Lenese Herbert, Esq. is currently a Professor of Law at Howard Law School.

Professor Herbert served as a Visiting Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law from 2007-08. Formerly, Professor Herbert was a Professor at Albany Law School and an Associate Professor of Law at Western New England College School of Law, where she began law teaching as an Assistant Professor in 1999.

Immediately prior to entering law teaching, Professor Herbert served as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, criminal and civil divisions, Trial Attorney, Manipulation and Trade Practice Unit, Division of Enforcement, U.S. Commodity Futures Training Commission, and Attorney-Advisor, Chief Counsel’s office, U.S. Department of Transportation.

Prior to government service, Professor Herbert was a law clerk for George Haley and Associates.

Professor Herbert assists attorneys who are seeking assistance with career transition within the law and on issues of career advancement for diverse attorneys.

To hear our interview with Lenese, join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.

Support LGBT diversity in your firm

by Ann Jenrette-Thomas and Kathleen Ashwill

In honor of LGBT Pride month, we wanted to share a few strategies to help your firm become more inclusive.  The American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) has provided a Guide to the Best Practices for Promoting LGBT Diversity. We’ve highlighted some of the key points within this guide to support your evolution into greater diversity within your practice or firm.

  • Network with local law schools and sponsor events which address the LGBT community.
  • Connect with LGBT community organizations, providing support either financially and/or with speakers and event ideas.
  • Keep inclusivity in mind when creating invitations to firm-wide social events (i.e. clarifying “partners” versus simply “spouses” or “husbands and wives”)
  • DiversityHighlight diversity within your website and weekly or monthly newsletter. Devote a web page to your firm’s commitment to diversity and update it regularly.
  • Encourage clients to add “gender identity/expression” to their non-discrimination policies and to support the hiring of transgendered individuals.
  • Promote expertise with addressing LGBT issues and label your firm or practice as “LGBT-friendly.”
  • Communicate the emphasis your firm places or seeks to place on LGBT diversity.
  • Encourage participation in LGBT-related conferences, such as Lavender Law.
  • Keep in mind and educate employees as to any transgendered employees’ desired pronouns.
  • Avoid a gender-specific dress code and allow employees to dress to represent their particular gender identity as they feel called.
  • Develop a Diversity Committee and include an LGBT segment within that group.
  • Be proactive in addressing discriminatory speech towards LGBT employees and uphold a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to any form of prejudice both internally and from clients.
  • Use inclusive language and provide a warm environment that supports LGBT employees.
  • If you suspect someone is LGBT, don’t assume, ask, or gossip. Make it clear you are comfortable with the LGBT population in order to offer a continued safe space to all employees.

You may access the full guide by clicking here.

In addition to the above, we at Esquire Coaching believe that it is imperative to provide all attorneys with the skills and training necessary to succeed.  That’s why we’ve created the Diverse Rainmaker program.  In this program, not only do we provide training and 1:1 coaching on essential business development skills (e.g., marketing, sales, creating content, etc.),, we address some of the unique challenges that diverse attorneys, including LGBT attorneys, face.  By taking a holistic approach and not ignoring the challenges, our program participants feel empowered and equipped to rise to their full potential.

How have you increased the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in regards to the LGBT community at your firm? Have there been any obstacles and how have you navigated them?

Share your comments below. We look forward to hearing from you and are happy to support you in cultivating a more LGBT friendly workplace.

The LGBT Bar’s Work to Connect Community and Careers in the Legal Profession

The LGBT Bar Association is the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied legal professionals. With thousands of members spanning the corporate, firm, non-profit and government sphere, The Bar plays a leading role in ensuring legal professionals have access to the latest resources, opportunities and skills. From organizing Lavender Law, an annual conference attracting more than 1,600 attendees working on cutting edge legal issues, to spearheading legal change from inside the profession, The Bar plays a unique role in ensuring the legal and political advancements of the LGBT community impact real people and families.

D’Arcy Kemnitz

D’Arcy Kemnitz, Esq. – Executive Director of The National LGBTBar Association

D’Arcy Kemnitz brings more than two decades of non-profit and social justice experience to her role as The LGBT Bar’s executive director. Under her leadership, The Bar has become the largest and most recognized organization of LGBT legal professionals in the country. In addition to organizing more than 25 affiliated LGBT bar associations, and dozens of LGBT law student associations, D’Arcy oversees the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair each year. D’Arcy is frequently quoted on LGBT legal issues, appearing in media outlets including The ABA Journal, ABC News, and Time Magazine. She is a distinguished graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Hamline University School of Law.

Join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.

Leveraging the LGBT Market in your Legal Practice

Jenn T. Grace, Professional Lesbian and CEO of Gay Business and Marketing

The LGBT market can be a lucrative place for many business owners. The LGBT community often faces additional challenges that their straight counterparts do not – this is especially true for legal matters. There is a right and a wrong way to approach the LGBT market and today we will cover some of the right ways to go about it. There is a lot of money to be made by being the attorney of choice to handle often complex legal matters for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Learn today how you can be the go to resource for LGBT people in your geographic footprint.

Jenn T. Grace is a Professional Lesbian and the CEO of Gay Business and Marketing, an online educational outlet and judgment-free space where professionals can ask questions to better understand business etiquette around working with and selling to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Entering this field in 2007, Jenn first sought out marketing opportunities within LGBT travel. She quickly became involved with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and subsequently her more notable work on the local level with Connecticut’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Today she focuses her efforts solely on helping business owners and professionals understand the community better through a variety of services catering to the needs of helping straight people better market to gay people.

Join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.