Second Annual Lawyers in Transition Conference offers practical advice

Issue November 2008 By Jennifer Rosinski

Practical advice on how to re-enter the legal field, try out a new practice area or embark on a second career as a lawyer was presented to dozens of practitioners at the Second Annual Lawyers in Transition Conference, which was held Oct. 7 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough.
Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a partner at Bowditch & Dewey LLP in Framingham, delivered a keynote address about attaining success and fulfillment in the legal profession.

The daylong conference featured four “Back to Basics” breakout sessions to help attendees sharpen their skills in family and immigration law, basic estate planning and civil litigation.

The remaining three sessions were “Traps for the Unwary,” “Strategies for a Successful Transition” and “New Technology for Re-entering the Practice.” The event ended with a networking reception.
MBA Treasurer Denise Squillante, vice-chair of the Lawyers in Transition Committee, called the conference a “tremendous success.” “We are bringing out lawyers who have practical needs and the conference is fulfilling them,” she said. “It’s helpful because these lawyers see lawyers who are in their same shoes.”

Acton attorney Mark B. Ryan became a lawyer two years ago at the age of 54 after switching from a career in insurance and investment. He attended the conference to help him determine how to better run and grow his practice.

“I’m still in transition. I’m still looking into the way to do it,” Ryan said. “It’s very practical,” he said of the conference topics. “This helps me out a lot.”

Rikleen, also executive director of the Bowditch Institute for Women’s Success, suggested lawyers think about their future in an organized manner with thought given to what they really like to do and how to get there.

“When you look at the most successful lawyers you know, what is the one common element? The one common element is they love what they do,” Rikleen said.

“I think it’s really important as you think of your career to think about the difference between fulfillment and success,” Rikleen said. “I think it’s really important to seek your own fulfillment in your work no matter how successful you want to be.”

Rikleen left the group with several “pearls of wisdom” she has heard from others, including, “a goal is a dream without a deadline.”

Law clerk Mari Ito, who recently took the bar exam, was grateful for the practical advice she received at the conference on how to start her own practice. “It certainly will augment my law school education as I begin to practice,” said Ito, who graduated in May from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.

Lisa Terrizzi, an attorney and vice-chair of the Lawyers in Transition Committee, called the conference productive and informative. She said the committee plans to build on the momentum of the conference and offer regular luncheons with speakers.
“We hope to be the committee that lawyers in Massachusetts consider when they start to think about their personal and professional transitions,” Terrizzi said.