Nov. 13, 2019 - Mercedes K. Meyer urged members of the legal profession to be enterprising while also taking time for personal wellness during a discussion Tuesday at the University of Houston Law Center.
Meyer ‘96 is a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath and a renowned expert in intellectual property law. Her talk, "Tales in Practicing Law for Rebel Women" was presented by the Law Center's Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
"My best advice is to put together a business plan,” Meyer said. “You will be more successful. Things to include in your business plan are who are my current clients and who are my target clients? Which clients will I go after next year? Which clients did I lose this year and why?”
Meyer encouraged attendees to seek out people who can provide honest feedback over the course of one’s career.
“Find coaches, mentors, champions and role models,” Meyer said. "Role models are somebody you want to be like, champions are people who push you up and you may not even know it. Mentors are somebody who will give you advice, even if you don't want to hear it. You can hire coaches.
“Just because you graduated from law school does not mean learning has stopped."
Meyer highlighted common issues in the legal field such as addiction, and the importance of participating in activities that foster physical and mental health.
"Depression and substance abuse is a really bad problem in our profession,” Meyer said. “It's really important to stay centered. Be interesting - don't be somebody who studies all the time and is all about your billable hours.
"There is a huge amount of benefit from meditation, mindfulness and exercise. Be loving of yourself."
Meyer concluded her talk by saying that by being open-minded and a better listener can help attorneys to arrive at innovative conclusions.
"You cannot be adversarial and defensive in your listening," she said. "You have to be fully open to listen well. If you're only listening to be adversarial, you've already shut yourself down from creative opportunities. It is a legal Achilles heel."
Meyer’s talk was the third of three discussions presented by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Previous events included a talk on the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany and the U.S. with Associate Professor of Law and Political Science Zachary D. Kaufman and Professor Dr. Eric Hilgendorf of the University of Würzburg in Germany, and a lecture on countering implicit bias with University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law Professor Laura McNeal, who also works with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.
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