Lawyers Who Lead

Lawyers Who Lead is a weekly podcast showcasing the power of leadership in law. Hosted by Sigalle Barness, an expert in communications, business strategy, and online education, each episode explores a guest’s leadership journey and principles, offering actionable insights for listeners. Discover how law evolves with dynamic leaders.

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Saturday May 18, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Akiva Shapiro, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher litigation partner and chair of the firm's New York administrative law and regulatory practice group. Akiva discusses his unconventional journey into law, from aspiring writer and academic to a respected litigator recognized for his appellate, constitutional, media, entertainment, technology, and securities litigation work. He also details the founding of a Sabbath observant affinity group at his firm, aiming to empower legal professionals to bring their whole selves to work without compromising their religious identity. The group's success led to the firm-wide recognition and accommodation of Jewish holidays and practices. Shapiro concludes by speaking about his active role in addressing antisemitism, leveraging his platform to promote justice and understanding. He also touches on leadership in law, the challenges of the billable hours model, and the importance of balancing professional dedication with personal and spiritual rejuvenation.Visit to learn more.

Monday Apr 22, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Matthew Galando, Director of Professional Development at K&L Gates during the NALP's 2024 annual education conference in Boston, Massachusetts. With 22 years at K&L Gates, Matthew shares his journey in law firm professional development, focusing on local and global training programs that span business development, technology, and legal training. He highlights the impact of the K&L Gates HUB, a digital platform providing business and legal insights, and discusses developing cross-practice, experiential programs that enhance associate skills and promote firm-wide connections. Matthew also talks about the firm's new partner learning series, associate leadership development curriculum, and the importance of listening and learning from industry peers to continuously improve and tailor professional development initiatives within the firm. Additionally, he provides a sneak peek into an upcoming conference panel aimed at improving attendance for firm programs.Visit to learn more.

Monday Apr 22, 2024

In this week's episode, Sigalle interviews Chelsey Parrott-Sheffer, the Director of Professional Development at Saul Ewing. Chelsey shares her unique journey into legal professional development, starting from being a history major and a paralegal to becoming a certified executive coach with 14 years of experience in the legal field. She discusses the importance of continuous learning and development within law firms, highlighting initiatives like the Senior Attorneys Resource Group and a leadership pipeline program for professional staff members at Saul Ewing. Although not a lawyer, Chelsey's story illustrates how non-traditional career paths can lead to fulfilling roles in legal professional development, emphasizing the significance of mentorship, skill-building, and fostering leadership across all levels of a firm.Visit to learn more.

Monday Apr 22, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Tiffany Jordan, Director of Coaching and Planning at Troutman Pepper, recorded live at the NALP's 2024 Annual Education Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.Tiffany shares her unique journey within the legal profession, from deciding to become a lawyer at a young age to transitioning into roles beyond traditional legal practice by leveraging her education in social work and her intrinsic curiosity about systems and organizational dynamics. Tiffany emphasizes the importance of service, intentionality, and strategic alignment of personal roles with organizational goals. She also discusses the value of vulnerability and authenticity in leadership, especially post-pandemic, and the positive impact this can have on the legal profession and beyond.Visit to learn more.

Sunday Apr 21, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Jennifer Lucas-Ross, the Director of Attorney Recruiting and Professional Development at Morris James, recorded live at the NALP's 2024 Annual Education Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Jennifer shares insights into her journey from pharmaceutical marketing to leading professional development within the firm. Jennifer highlights the collaborative culture at Morris James and her role in fostering professional growth for attorneys and partners through innovative programs like the 'MOMI' - a monthly leadership insights email. The episode concludes with Jennifer's impromptu haiku on leadership, encapsulating the spirit of creativity and the significance of leadership in professional development within the legal industry.Visit to learn more.

Sunday Mar 31, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Alain Mathieu, Associate Attorney at Mintz, a full service AmLaw 100 law firm employing approximately 600+ attorneys serving clients worldwide. Alain shares how his grandfather's political stance in Haiti inspired his legal career, highlighting the sacrifices and dedication needed for success while underscoring the importance of personal boundaries. He delves into navigating the complexities of big law, advocating for proactive career development, mentorship, and finding a balance between professional growth and personal well-being. He emphasizes the role of a supportive firm culture, with mutual respect and DEI efforts, in enhancing work quality and mental health for legal professionals. Concluding, Alain touches on self-care, community involvement, and the impact of authenticity and empathy on a fulfilling legal career, illustrating how true self-expression and understanding others are fundamental to not just succeeding, but thriving in law.Visit to learn more.

Sunday Mar 03, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Puja Bhatia, Senior National Attorney at For The People, an organization that supports prosecutors to look back at past sentences, and safely bring people home from prison. Puja discusses how her work enables prosecutors to reflect on their previous recommendations and bring safe early releases for convicts who might have reformed or unnecessarily received lengthy sentences. She emphasizes how reflecting on past cases can help inform future decisions resulting in a more equitable justice system. Moreover, Puja emphasizes the importance of strong leadership in law and how law firms should embrace paths and opportunities for public interest. Visit to learn more.

Monday Feb 19, 2024

In this week long series, Lawyers Who Lead covers insights from 2024 ABA Tech Show in Chicago, Illinois. In episode four, we interview Mathew Kerbis, founder of Subscription Attorney, a law firm offering limited scope legal services through a monthly subscription model. Having spent nine years in private practice, Mathew started the Subscription Attorney in a bid to abandon the traditional billable hour. Inspired by companies like Costco and Amazon Prime, Mathew explains how the subscription model has not only proven beneficial for both lawyers and clients, but also covers aspects of DEI, attorney wellness and access to justice. He also discusses the role artificial intelligence has to play in the future of legal tech, suggesting that it will soon be a commonplace tool for streamlining the industry. He affirms that lawyers who do not adopt these changes will risk being outdone by competitors.Visit to learn more.

Monday Feb 19, 2024

In this week long series, Lawyers Who Lead covers insights from 2024 ABA Tech Show in Chicago, Illinois. In episode three, we interview Gyi Tsakalakis, the president of Attorney Sync, a digital marketing company that helps law firms grow their businesses. Gyi's discusses the importance of online visibility for lawyers and how his company leverages Google Business Profiles. He also emphasizes the rising role of AI in the legal world, particularly its potential in client communications and data analysis. He argues that though AI is transforming efficiency in law practices, lawyers must understand the technology ethically and practically. The conversation ended with his views on legal tech leadership and its responsibility towards improving client experiences and access to justice.Visit to learn more.

Monday Feb 19, 2024

In this week long series, Lawyers Who Lead covers insights from 2024 ABA Tech Show in Chicago, Illinois. In episode two, we interview Greg Siskind, co-founder of Siskind Susser, P.C. one of the leading immigration law firms in North America. Greg, a renowned legal professional with over three decades of experience, shares his thoughts on integrating technology into legal practices and how it impacts the economics of law practice. He also discusses the creation of AI tools that replace labor-intensive tasks and provide efficient solutions for lawyers, while also highlighting the importance of professionals understanding the underlying processes that are being automated. Concerns regarding client preferences towards AI and the ethics of using such tech in law practices are also addressed.Visit to learn more.

Monday Feb 19, 2024

In this week long series, Lawyers Who Lead covers insights from 2024 ABA Tech Show in Chicago, Illinois. In episode one, we interview Stephanie Everett, the CEO of Lawyerist. Stephanie, a pioneer in the legal tech space and a recognized contributor to legal tech and innovation, delves into her journey from owning a law firm to becoming a business coach for lawyers. She discusses the challenges lawyers face in running a business and how they can strategically tackle them. She further advocates for shifting from billable hours towards more innovative billing solutions. Stephanie also addresses the significance of effectively leading in the legal tech sector, emphasizing the necessity of making bold, risky statements to instigate change in the profession.Visit to learn more.

Sunday Feb 04, 2024

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Amol Sinha, Executive Director of ACLU of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ). Amol discusses his experience advocating to advance civil liberties and to address critical issues like the racial justice implications of cannabis legalization, reducing incarceration during COVID-19, and disrupting elitism in the law industry. He also emphasizes the importance of integrated advocacy, which includes using all tools like litigation, policy advocacy, community organizing, and strategic communications to achieve a transformational vision for society. He also underscores the importance of adaptability, community involvement, and creating genuine relationships in striving for progress and justice.Visit to learn more.

Monday Jan 08, 2024

In this episode of Lawyers Who Lead, host Sigalle Barness speaks with Ashley Herd, the founder of Manager Method. Ashley shares her unique journey from working as a lawyer and in-house HR leader to starting her own platform to address the human element in the legal industry. They discuss the importance of open and proactive communication in managing employee expectations, building a positive work environment, and averting litigation risks. Ashley suggests regular one-on-one conversations and establishing shared agendas as ways to facilitate effective communication between managers and their direct reports. She also advises leaders to approach decision-making with a human-first mindset, considering how they would wish to be treated in similar circumstances. Additionally, Ashley emphasizes the value of actively listening to employee feedback and adopting a balanced approach to work-life culture to enhance job satisfaction and overall productivity.Visit to learn more.

Monday Dec 18, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Erin Gerner, Founder of Powerhouse Lawyers, a community empowering women in law through community and connection. Erin shares how, after seven years practicing, she shifted her focus towards empowering women in the profession and dismantling the toxic narratives keeping women overwhelmed and stuck trying to do it all. Erin's episodes illuminates the importance of investing in one's self, the power of community, and how connection to others is the key to growth. Visit to learn more and visit to join Erin's next retreat!

Thursday Dec 07, 2023

In this episode of Lawyers Who Lead, guest host and Lawline's VP of Learning, Angelica Cesario, interviews Kathryn Marquez, the Global Director of Learning and Development at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.Kathryn shares her journey from being a legal personnel assistant to leading a team focusing on professional skills and legal skills training. She discusses the importance of professional development conferences like NALP's PDI, her biggest takeaways, and the influence of team-based learning sessions. Kathryn also dives into leadership and the significance of advocating for your team and creating a psychologically safe work environment. The conversation wraps up with a discussion about self-care, including Kathryn's use of a coach for professional matters and spending quality family time.Visit to learn more.

Tuesday Dec 05, 2023

In this episode of Lawyers who Lead, host Sigalle Barness interviews Meredith Zadnichek, the Director of Attorney Professional Development and Integration at Smith, Gambrell and Russell. They discuss Meredith's career shift from PR to law, the importance of relationship building in her role, and the impacts of incoming Generation Z lawyers on law firms. Meredith shares her personal experiences of transitioning between firms, her insights from the current conference, and explanations of how Gen Z's expectations are changing the legal profession. She also underscores the emphasis on mental health awareness in modern lawyer recruitment strategies, and the need for authentic leadership in law. The conversation wraps up with Meredith sharing her self-care ritual and how it aids her productivity.Visit to learn more.

Tuesday Dec 05, 2023

In this episode, host Sigalle Barness is live with leaders from NALP's 2023 PDI conference in Washington, DC. She interviews Isaiah Weedn, Sheppard Mullins' Director of Litigation Training. Isaiah discusses his journey from a young lawyer thrown into the deep end to becoming a Director of Litigation Training for Sheppard Mullin. He shares about his experience at NALP's conferences, his strategy for implementing an effective skills training program and the benefits of setting clear benchmarks for associates. He also speaks about leadership in law and how to generate excitement and investment in learning which he believes is crucial for a leader in any industry. Visit to learn more.

Tuesday Dec 05, 2023

This interview focuses on the experiences of Suzanne Thomas, Director of Talent and Learning at Dentons, hosted by guest host and program attorney of the Lawline, Cali Franks, at NALP's 2023 PDI conference. Suzanne discusses her transition from practicing law to mentoring legal professionals, highlighting the importance of education and the benefits of professional development conferences in smaller markets. Suzanne also shares her views on multi-generational workforces, better ways to train for expanding the law industry, importance of mentorship, and the varying definitions of leadership in law. She also sheds light on the importance of self-care for individuals in high-stress professions. Suzanne is open to networking and advises listeners to find a method that suits them best in maintaining their professional and personal life balance.Visit to learn more.

Monday Dec 04, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Stephanie Felder, Director of Professional Development and Diversity at the Groom Law Group at NALP's 2023 PDI Conference in Washington, D.C. With a rich 18-year history in the legal field, Stephanie delves into her journey, emphasizing her dedication to attorney development and diversity. A key focus of the discussion revolves around the transformative power of 'micro leadership moves' for creating 'macro impact' in the legal profession. Stephanie highlights the importance of nuanced, strategic actions in leadership and how they can lead to significant, larger-scale changes and advancements.During the episode, she also shares valuable insights from a recent coaching workshop, offering practical takeaways for legal professionals. Stephanie's perspective on leadership in law and legal professional development is not only informative but also deeply reflective of her extensive experience in the field.Further enriching the conversation, Stephanie talks about the value of networking at legal industry conferences. She shares her personal strategies for self-care and underscores the importance of maintaining robust social support networks, both professionally and personally. This episode promises to be a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone looking to make meaningful impacts in their legal career through thoughtful, deliberate leadership actions.Visit to learn more.

Monday Nov 06, 2023

In this week’s episode, host Sigalle Barness speaks with Colin Levy, Director of Legal at Malbek, a contract lifecycle management program that provides lifecycle AI functionality to improve an organization's contracting process.Colin shares his lawyer origin story of struggling to find work after law school in 2010 and piecing together temporary roles, as well as the lack of technology use he noticed in law. A failed attempt at implementing a contract management system at his first in-house role showed Colin the importance of understanding people's needs and processes before implementing tech. He shares how this experience led him to realize effective solutions require aligning people, process, and technology.At Malbek, Colin handles legal work but also serves as an evangelist, assisting with marketing, sales, content creation, and community building. He explains how AI like Malbek's helps attorneys work more efficiently and how sharing what he learn with others has helped Colin connect and educate the legal community.Visit and to learn more.

Monday Oct 23, 2023

On this week's episode: Sigalle dives deep with Ben Grimes, the multi-faceted former U.S. Army helicopter pilot turned military attorney, and now the visionary founder of BKG Leadership. BKG's mission is to transform legal realms by fostering leadership rooted in trust, transparency, empathy, and fervor.Journey with us as we trace Ben's unanticipated journey from West Point, through the Army, and into the corridors of law school. Ben's emergent leadership roles, particularly his investigations into grave crimes and his ventures into litigation as a fledgling military prosecutor and defense counsel, cemented his belief: sterling leadership thrives on trust, transparency, empathy, and passion.Ben passionately argues for leadership's pivotal role in shaping law firm culture, affecting turnover, bolstering morale, and refining client interactions. For a refreshing look at the nexus of law and leadership through Ben's singular lens, delve in for a thought-provoking conversation.Visit to learn more.

Sunday Oct 08, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Mike Kasdan, Partner at Wiggin and Dana, and Founder of Lawyering While Human, an organization whose focus is to promote support for lawyers and law students through their mental health and wellness services. Mike shares his journey to becoming a lawyer and his battle with depression. Leveraging his experiences, he illuminates how lawyers can affect individual and systemic change in order to keep more practicing while also enjoying life at the same time. Visit to learn more.

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Robert Chesnut, former General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb and Author of the Bestseller "Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead An Ethical Revolution."Rob shares his journey from the U.S. Justice Department to eBay to Airbnb and the benefits of exploring new sides and angles of your career. He then digs deep into the importance of business integrity, how he helped build an integrity culture at Airbnb, and how his work led to a bestselling book. Visit to learn more.

Sunday Sep 10, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Craig Johnson, former New York State Senator and Founder and CEO of Long Point Advisors.Craig shares his journey from lawyer to elected official to accomplished lobbyist. His episode illuminates the intricacies involved with representing clients at various levels of government. Craig's story shows that compromise, flexibility, and civility are vital components to helping clients achieve a successful outcome. Visit to learn more.

Saturday Aug 26, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Aliza Shatzman, President and Founder of The Legal Accountability Project, a nonprofit that ensures that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences while extending support and resources to those who do not.
Aliza shares how her clerkship experience quickly became one of mistreatment and harassment. Realizing there were no resources to support or protect her, Aliza persevered by filing a judicial complaint, advocating for legislation to extend to law clerks and federal public defenders, and ultimately creating a platform to provide more transparency and accountability for in the clerkship system.
Aliza's story shows how speaking up about our personal experiences, even when faced with those who hold more power than us, can create real and systemic change. 

Visit to learn more.

Monday Aug 14, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Paula J. Schauwecker, Principal and Chief Talent Officer at Beveridge & Diamond.
As a more in-depth follow up to her short form interview in 2022, Paula shares her journey from singer songwriter to her dual roles in practice and professional development. She also emphasizes the importance of establishing trust to promote lawyer and firm growth and how listening, strategic thinking, and continuous learning helps provide the foundations for great leadership. 
Visit to learn more. 

Monday Jul 31, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Kathy M. Zhu, Co-Founder and CEO of Streamline AI, an intake and workflows automation platform purpose-built for in-house legal teams.
Kathy shares how her various pivots from law firm to in-house to entrepreneur helped her gain the courage and vision to build products with purpose. She also discusses the importance of leaning in, taking risks, and what it means to be a legal leader of innovation in business.
Visit to learn more. 

Monday Jul 17, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews her first repeat guest, James Gatto, partner in Sheppard Mullins' IP Practice Group, Leader of the Open Source Team, and Co-Leader of the firm's Blockchain and FinTech team. 
Focusing deeply on leadership in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space, Jim illuminates the various stakeholders and the corresponding legal angles rapidly arising. Topics include federal-level considerations, authorship and inventorship interests, and tech platform developments. This episode is a must-listen for both new and seasoned attorneys practicing in the AI space.  
Visit to learn more. 

Monday Jul 03, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Peter A. Halprin, partner in the New York office of Pasich LLP where he represents commercial policy holders and complex insurance coverage matters. He also acts as counsel for US and foreign companies in both domestic and international arbitrations, and is a member of numerous organizations including the AAA National Roster of Arbitrators. 
A third-generation lawyer, Peter shares how his focus on alternative dispute resolution provides him immense career fulfillment. Through equal parts intellectual curiosity and experiences in international arbitration,  Peter shares how exposure to global ways of thinking helps inform his approach to practice. 
Through specific examples, Peter illuminates that if a lawyer is open to different approaches, they are much more inclined to provide the best representation and resolutions for their clients. 
Visit to learn more. 

Monday Jun 19, 2023

In this week’s episode, Sigalle interviews Jordana Confino, Assistant Dean of Professionalism and adjunct professor at Fordham Law School where she leads initiatives designed to promote student wellness, mentorship, and professional identity formation. She is also the founder of JC Coaching and Consulting, a company that partners with law firms and law schools to advance the well-being of the legal profession. 
Jordana shares how the stories we tell ourselves can anchor us into taking actions that may not necessarily align with what we ultimately want. She illuminates how "stepping back from the story" provides the space we need to question what truly makes us happy and gives us purpose. 
Through specific examples for both law students and lawyers alike, Jordana illuminates the ways in which legal professionals can work more efficiently while making an impact that doesn't compromise health and happiness. 
Visit and to learn more. 

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