John Mitchell is a lawyer and a leader. He is committed to helping lawyers discover and maximize their leadership potential so that they continuously develop themselves and their organizations in pursuit of changing the world. John specializes in working with lawyers who are in formal roles like general counsel, managing partner, practice group leaders and committee chairs and those in informal leadership roles. He also supports in-house lawyers transitioning to business roles, junior associates, new partners, major rainmakers, and senior lawyers considering their “second season” in life.
Helping leaders transition to new leadership positions is one area of John’s expertise. He also has extensive experience assisting women and attorneys of color successfully apply their talents in new roles and new environments. Mr. Mitchell’s unique background brings personal experience to these types of transitions and his educational experiences ground those firsthand experiences with sound theory and applied research.
His experience is supplemented by his educational pursuits at Northwestern University that include a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, a Juris Doctor degree, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.
Vice Chair Wendy L. Werner
Wendy L. Werner is a consultant specializing in the areas of law practice management and career development. She works with law firms to develop effective hiring plans, train and supervise associates and assess law firm culture. She coaches employees to improve performance, develop career options and provides executive coaching for professional services firms. For fifteen years she was the Assistant Dean at Saint Louis University School of Law and co-wrote the monograph The Road Not Taken for NALP on alternative legal careers. She holds a master’s degree from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University.
She wrote more than 100 columns on careers and practice management for the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. She was the Editor in Chief and serves as a contributing writer for Law Practice Today, an on-line publication of the ABA’s Law Practice Division. She wrote the Division’s Career Paths Column for Law Practice Magazine for ten years. She is in her third year serving as the co-chair of the LP Publications Board. She also serves as the board vice-chair for the not for profit law firm ArchCity Defenders. As a photographer who has displayed her work at art fairs and in offices, she strives to help her clients “see things differently.”
Charity Anastasio is a Practice Management Advisor for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was in private practice for 5 years in the greater Seattle Area, before she entered the bar association world to help lawyers overcome their practice management hurdles. She advises on ethics and practice management issues through one-on-one consultations, publications, and presentations at her bar association of over 15,000 immigration practitioners. Charity is the co-chair of the ABA Law Practice Division’s Professional Development Board, is a past speaker at the ABA TECHSHOW 2019 and 2020, and an ABA 2020 Women of Legal Tech Honoree. Find Charity on Twitter.
Susanne Aronowitz is a senior consultant with Naomi Beard & Associates and a career coach specializing in supporting lawyers in their professional development and career transitions. She guides her clients to deeper engagement in their professional lives, whether that means advancing within their current organization or transitioning to a new opportunity. In addition to her private coaching work, Susanne has been a featured speaker for bar associations and is included on Diversity Lab’s new site, Top Lawyer Coaches.
She previously served as the Associate Dean for Law Career Services and Alumni Relations at Golden Gate University School of Law, where she also served as an adjunct professor and founder of Golden Gate’s Law & Leadership Program. Susanne has been a frequent presenter at NALP’s Annual Education Conference and Newer Professionals Forum. Susanne earned her bachelors degree from the University of Michigan, her law degree from UC Hastings, is a graduate of CoachU’s Core Essentials Program, and holds a Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coaching Federation.
Avery Blank uses her legal training as a consultant and is a nationally recognized women’s advocate. She is currently a Senior Contributor with Forbes. Avery acted as a Team Advisor for the first-ever Women in Law Hackathon sponsored by Bloomberg Law and hosted by Stanford Law. She was previously a Senior Law & Policy Analyst with the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, devising crisis plans and advising clients. She also served as a trainer on goal-setting and personal development at the Ms. JD 2014 Conference on Women in the Law. Avery received her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law where she was the recipient of the 2011 National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award. In 2014, she was named to the “Top 20 In Their Twenties” by the Maryland Daily Record for her professional accomplishments, civic involvement and impact of achievements. She graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University.
Having worked on sensitive and significant issues as a policy counsel, Avery knows how hard yet crucial it is for law students and lawyers to hone their judgment and be able to work quickly and decisively, in crisis mode or not. One particularly difficult juncture she cites is in knowing how to recover from mistakes while keeping intact your credibility and professional relationships. Another important interest of hers is the development of women entering and working in the profession. She looks forward to focusing on these and other core issues through her work on the ABA Career Center Board. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follower her on Twitter @BlankAvery.
Bill Henslee is a Professor of Law and founding faculty member at Florida A&M University College of Law. He teaches Copyright, Entertainment, Music Law, Sports Law, and Torts. Prior to moving to FAMU, Bill taught for twelve years at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a member of the California Bar.
Bill has been a member of the ABA since 1984 (student member since 1981). Prior to becoming a lawyer member, he was the ABA LSD Ninth Circuit Governor and then the Chair of the Law Student Division. He has been a member of the Section on Legal Economics/Section on Law Practice Management/Law Practice Division since 1984. He was a student member prior to graduation. Over the years, Bill has chaired the Publications Board and the Education Board (Professional Development Board). In addition, he has been a member of the Finance Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Career Services Committee, the Membership Committee, the Diversity Committee, the Webzine Committee, and the Council.
In 2019, he co-authored Entertainment Law and Business with his wife, Elizabeth. In 2004, he co-authored two textbooks: Entertainment Law: Cases and Materials on Film, Television, and Music, and Cases and Materials in Theatre Law. In 2006 he co-authored the Fifth Edition of the American Bar Association publication: Non-Legal Careers for Lawyers, and in 1998, the ABA published the Second Edition of his Entertainment Law Careers. In 1997 Carolina Academic Press published Bill’s first co-authored textbook, Travel Law. His pamphlet, How To Survive The First Year of Law School, was distributed to every law student who joined the American Bar Association for years.
In 2005, Bill was a co-producer of the film: The Karaoke King. In addition, Bill was the producer and co-writer for Michael Reardon’s Climb On! Series videos: Joshua Tree and Bishop. Over the years Bill has represented numerous entertainment and sports clients. He is a retired certified contract advisor for the National Football League Players Association and the Canadian Football League Players Association.
Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Hawaii, where he won the Clark Award for Creative Writing awarded to the university’s most promising writers. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. While in law school, Bill served as a Circuit Governor and then Chair of the Law Student Division. Bill was awarded his Master of Fine Arts Degree from UCLA’s Graduate School of Theatre, Film, and Television.
Skip Horne has a long and distinguished career in university administration, with an emphasis in legal education. He brings extensive experience in admissions and financial aid, student affairs, career services, international recruiting, and diversity outreach to the ABA from working at the University of Texas School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law, and the University of San Diego School of Law. Skip spent five years as Global Recruiting Manager for Latham & Watkins LLP, and recently concluded a year’s assignment as Careers Consultant with Trinity College at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He recently served as Special Consultant to the Dean at Santa Clara Law, after wrapping up almost five years as the Senior Assistant Dean for External Relations where he led the Law School’s development, alumni relations, career services and marketing efforts.
Skip is well-known nationally in law school placement and admissions circles. He has served as the President of NALP and the President of the National LGBT Bar Foundation and has been active with the Association of American Law Schools, the Law School Admission Council, the Bay Area Legal Recruitment Association, and the San Diego Legal Recruitment Association. He received his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and his BSFS cum laude from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Allison C. Shields Johs
Allison C. Shields Johs, Esq., President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc., provides marketing, social media, business development, productivity and practice management coaching and consulting services for lawyers and law firms.
After leaving her position as Administrative Partner at one of Long Island’s premier law firms in 2005, Allison started Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. to help lawyers build better law practices. A former practicing lawyer and law firm manager, Allison understands the law firm environment and the daily pressures faced by lawyers trying to manage and build their business while practicing law and successfully serving their clients.
Allison helps her clients create efficient, effective systems and operations to maximize productivity and enhance client experience. Her clients learn how to identify and attract their ideal clients, improve their client intake and selection, increase client loyalty, develop client-friendly fee structures, and increase profits. With the rise of the internet and social media, Allison recognizes that lawyers must capture attention and demonstrate their expertise online. She provides online marketing and social media services and training for lawyers to help them maximize these important opportunities.
The College of Law Practice Management inducted Allison as a Fellow in October 2018. In 2016, Allison was one of the first to receive the Outstanding Women in Law Award from Hofstra University Center for Children, Families and the Law and Long Island Business News. She was recognized by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division in October 2018 with the Wilkins Award for Overall Achievement in Division Publishing, and received the award for Best Column in 2019 for her Simple Steps column in Law Practice magazine. She has served as the Chair of the Division’s Book Publishing Board, on the Division’s Council, Education Board, Nominating Committee, and on the editorial boards of both Law Practice Magazine and Law Practice Today. She also serves on the Board of the Division’s Legal Technology Resource Center.
Also active in her local bar associations, Allison is the former Executive Director of the Suffolk Academy of Law, the educational arm of the Suffolk County Bar Association, served as Associate Dean of the Academy of Law, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Suffolk County Bar Association and past Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Committee. She has served as a member of the Nassau County Bar Association’s Nominating Committee, Chair of the Membership Committee and on the editorial board of The Nassau Lawyer.
Allison writes and lectures on marketing, social media, business development, productivity and practice management for bar associations, law schools and other legal associations, and has been a presenter at the ABA TECHSHOW, the leading legal technology conference and expo. She is the co-author, with Daniel J. Siegel, of How to Do More In Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line, and with Dennis Kennedy, of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, and Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, all published by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division. Her most recent book, Make LinkedIn Work for You, A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals, co-authored again with Dennis Kennedy, was released in October of 2019.
Allison is the author of the Legal Ease Blog at www.LegalEaseConsulting.com. Her website, Lawyer Meltdown, provides resources and information for lawyers about managing and building their practices.
Tomea Mayer Mersmann
Tomea Mayer Mersmann is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Recruitment and Professional Development and a Lecturer in Law at Washington University School of Law. Dean Mersmann has over 20 years of career development experience from both the law school and the employer perspective and works with students and alumni over the course of their careers. She has also taught law students in Legal Writing & Practice, Negotiation, and the Congressional and Administrative Law Externship program in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Washington University School of Law and the University of Virginia, Tomea practiced law and held the position of Director of Legal Recruiting at Thompson Coburn in St. Louis.
Natalie Robinson Kelly
Natalie Robinson Kelly is the Director of the State Bar of Georgia’s Law Practice Management Program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Political Science from Spelman College and her Juris Doctorate from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Prior to attending law school, she taught Law Office Management as an Adjunct Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School; and she held positions in education, commercial real estate, hospitality and small law firm administration. In 2005, she was selected State Bar of Georgia Employee of the Year. At the State Bar serving as Georgia’s PMA (Practice Management Advisor), she has conducted over 1,200 on-site management and technology consulting engagements with law firms and corporate legal departments. She co-teaches Law Practice Technology as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State University College of Law.
Natalie is a Certified Consultant for multiple legal software applications, and has served on many legal technology advisory boards. She was named to the American Bar Association’s inaugural list of Women in Legal Tech; and in 2014, she chaired the ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board. She was selected as a Fastcase 50 honoree for being one of the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders; and is a fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. Natalie speaks frequently and has presented in over 15 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
Natalie is active in the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association including having served on the Division’s Council. In 2016, Natalie won the Division’s highest publication honor, the Robert P. Wilkins Award for best feature article in the Division’s magazine, Law Practice. She is currently a member of the Division’s Professional Development Board and responsible for the webinar series, Best of ABA TECHSHOW. She also writes a regular column in the Georgia Bar Journal; and is the co-author of the blog, Georgia Practice Advisor, offering office management, ethics and technology tips and advice to legal professionals in Georgia.
Natalie is a member of the National Association of Bar Executives, the National Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and the Atlanta Bar Association. She also serves on the Board of Georgia’s Lawyers for Equal Justice Incubator.
Natalie is a wife and mother residing in Atlanta with her husband, three daughters, and their family dog. You can email Natalie, follow her on Twitter @NatalieRKelly, or link to her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalierkelly/.
Abe Pollack is a Co-Founder and Principal of Pollack Badawi Group (PBG), a boutique legal search firm in Washington, DC. Prior to launching PBG, Abe was the Associate Dean for Professional Development and Career Strategy at the George Washington University Law School and a Director at the Georgetown University Law Center's Office of Career Services.
He has counseled hundreds of attorneys and law students on their job searches and fostered relationships with managing partners, general counsels, and recruiting managers. Abe previously practiced M&A and securities law at two AmLaw 100 law firms. He also has served on the Board of Directors of NALP. Abe received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College.