Have you ever heard of people experiencing a case of the Mondays? It’s that feeling you get when you don’t want to get out of bed and go to work, or do anything for that matter. Even though working at an amazing company like Lawline helps cure a case of the Mondays, there are those days where getting up to your alarm and getting to work feels like the hardest task. However, this week, Lawline had a culture event that made Monday a day that I was looking forward to.
The Lawline employees got to participate in sound meditation, something none of us were familiar with or had been exposed to before. We got to use our in-office studio for something other than producing award winning CLE content (shameless plug), and it was definitely an experience to remember. We dimmed the lights and laid out on yoga mats, unsure about what to expect. Our instructor explained the different aspects of listening to sounds, and how they impact our mood and behavior. He then had us lie down with our eyes closed, focusing on the sounds of different bowls and gongs while getting to inhale calming aromas meant to relieve stress.
At the end of each half hour session, all of the Lawline employees felt truly at ease. The instructor explained how utilizing sound for stress relief is something that we can do every day if we put in the effort. If we hear a car honking, instead of allowing it to anger us, we can channel that energy to make us feel empowered and ready to take on the day. Participating in the sound meditation was a great opportunity, and it certainly helped relieve the stresses that come with going into work on a Monday. I would suggest that anyone try it at least once!
This event was brought to us by a company called Sound Meditation Collective, and our excellent facilitator’s name was Josh. We can’t recommend him highly enough!
Last week it was Lawline’s! (insert rimshot)
On the day of Spring Equinox while NYC was still covered in snow, John Timothy of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade arrived to conduct an Improv Comedy Workshop. While I had organized this event, I had never done improv and was afraid of looking foolish in front of my colleagues. Luckily, John informed everyone that we would not look or sound cool. That was quite a relief to hear. He started us out with warm-up exercises which were actually physical exercises in some fashion. We were using our arms, forming letters by body contortion, and running to find new partners constantly.
Once John thought we were mentally ready, serious comical creativity poured out. In teams of four that varied each time, groups would take turns telling a story, conducting interviews, and pitching not-so-sound business ideas. We spontaneously created scenarios of a movie extra turned trapeze artist in love, an inspiring story of rehabilitated former confidence people turned pie bakers, and Apple executives selling cutting edge paper. In my experience with different colleagues, I left the US for London to only sneak back to the US, went to Mars via NASA making cookies, and tried to sell a vegan-only menu at McDonald’s. A wild genre of feelings was truly displayed on that day.
What I love is that everyone participated and had a turn, whether it was the CEO, Video Producer, or Developer. Workshops like these have a purpose to create team building, but we end up learning that we already have a strong foundation. It’s fantastic to work among people that are so comfortable to get silly with!
You can learn more about John and his work here: http://www.johntimothy.com/
I think we can all universally agree that knowledge is one of the most valuable resources available to us in life. There would be no growth without the acquisition of knowledge, and this applies to the personal sphere, as well as the professional one. Here at Lawline, one of our five core values is Grow, and it isn’t something we keep in the back of our minds and force ourselves to practice periodically; it’s something we noticed our employees doing every day, and knew was one of our inherent values as a company.
Growth takes many forms at Lawline. Externally, our courses give our customers tools for growth in their industries. Internally, our leaders encourage employees to engage in developing their careers and cultivating opportunities. As a celebration of my favorite core value (please don’t tell anyone that I’m picking favorites), I’d like to share two stories that begin differently, but end the same way.
Earlier this year, everyone at Lawline received the rare opportunity to spend a half day with our business coach, Mark Green, at which time we made emboldening discoveries about our business and ourselves. Meredith Cohen, our Director of Accreditation shared her thoughts on the event:
“On January 18, the entire Lawline team ventured out for an off-site company meeting to meet with Mark Green and learn about…well, we didn’t quite know what we were going to be discussing! We knew it would have to do with ‘growth,’ but that’s such a vague concept. What was he going to tell us that we didn’t already learn from Scaling Up and our multitude of Team Huddles and meetings that discussed growth in the past? It’s even one of our Core Values! We knew about growth, and this meeting wasn’t going to teach us anything new—or so we thought.
Mark gave us wonderful insights about how companies grow successfully, and put particular emphasis on individual, personal growth. He said that companies cannot grow faster than their people do, and so we spent several hours learning more about our own strengths and weaknesses, how each of us is perceived by others, and ways to get valuable feedback from outside sources that can help put us on the right growth path. He even helped us reframe how we see our individual roles within the company, and come up with strategies to better assess what our priorities need to be (and what a priority truly is for that matter).
It was an afternoon full of learning, great takeaways, and personal growth!”
Meredith’s observations on the event are remarkably compatible with my own, as I also found great value out of Mark’s feedback on strategy, and his emphasis on taking the opportunity to grow through our business. As I mentioned before, my second story begins a little differently, but ends this same way. Last Thursday, I spent an afternoon learning about our culture. If you’re under the impression that a company’s culture doesn’t have a measurable effect on its business, then I would highly recommend signing up the next time Ben Kirshner, the CEO of Elite SEM, holds a talk.
The attendees spent half an hour before the talk networking and socializing, which for me held almost as much value as the talk itself. In just half an hour, I learned the culture practices of three different businesses, meeting people willing to introduce the areas where their culture could be stronger, as well as freely share the details of tried and true practices that their employees love. You could tell that people were truly engaged listeners, because when one person shared a culture story, everyone else looked like Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker.
Then the talk began, and Ben Kirshner provided us with answers to the unresolved questions from our conversations. He stressed the importance of core values, hiring employees based on culture fit versus performance, and the most interesting to me: asking what employees want, and giving it to them. The people who make up Elite SEM’s culture are valued above all else at the company, and the business comes second. But the business is doing phenomenally well, so it sets a great example. My feeling after this education event was the same as Meredith’s: it was an afternoon spent gathering actionable takeaways on how people can grow within, and alongside their company. Thankfully, my biggest takeaway was the realization that we’re doing so many of the things that Ben mentioned, and our culture at Lawline reflects that conclusion.
It’s a relief to see that we’re growing in the right direction, that we’re practicing great habits, and that our people are happy to grow with us!
Last week’s blizzard brought its share of commuter horror stories from those Lawline employees who managed the trek to the office. One thing it didn’t bring, though, was any kind of dent in the productivity of our business. Marketing e-mails went out on time, developers continued to perform improvements to our website, and, with the help of a faculty member who braved the storm, a live webcast from our studio went off without a hitch.
Finely-tuned strategy and a flexible work-from-home policy played a role in our success, but more than anything else, I give perks to our company culture and the core values that give it shape. We’ve strongly ingrained such concepts as “Act” and “Care” in our thinking, creating not just professional but also personal investment in the well-being of our enterprise.
Having been with Lawline for over eight years, I know firsthand how many times the forces of nature have put that investment to the test. The brutal December Nor’easter of 2010 brought New York to a standstill and shut down numerous subway lines, but didn’t stop a handful of Lawliners from trekking to our building through knee-deep snow. The freak earthquake of 2011 was equally fruitless in slowing us down.
Our proudest moment, though, came on October 29th, 2012, with the advent of Hurricane Sandy.
Thanks to a major CLE deadline, the final week of October has consistently been one of our busiest and most profitable months. A disruption of the kind suffered by other businesses could have proved painful both for Lawline and the attorneys who depend on us to fulfill their requirements, but as it turned out we didn’t miss a beat. With wind and rain lashing the streets, with transformers exploding and half the city plunging into blackout, our team worked furiously to keep our business bounding forward and our customers front and center. Our developers worked around the clock to migrate our servers out of the path of the storm. Our customer service team took calls at home on their cellphones, tirelessly addressing the needs of our viewers even after losing power in their own apartments. A collaborative effort between our video production and programs teams ensured that all seven scheduled webcasts – each with hundreds of people watching online – were executed without hazard, not one webcast so much as starting late. All the while, and in the days that followed, our Lead Program Attorney reached out to potential faculty to develop new courses. Those outside the mid-Atlantic reacted to her calls with the same, unanimous sentiment: “Wait . . . aren’t you in the middle of a hurricane?”
In reflection, it’s tempting to hint at a deeper, more sophisticated formula behind our accomplishments, but as Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, once remarked, “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” At Lawline, our vision, purpose, and values are predicated on action and caring, on creativity and growth, and all of us eager to chase them. That’s stronger stuff than weather.
Written by Dan Bushkanets
In May of 2016, we launched a fully redesigned Lawline.com. We restructured the architecture, and redesigned tons of pages and features to make our customers experience that much better.
Some new additions included a redesigned Catalog, My Courses and My Certificates. The Catalog allows you to search and browse the courses or bundles by utilizing filters and search. My Courses then helps manage all of your courses. Once you complete those courses, you can find all of your certificates in one place, the My Certificates page.
But wait, just because we have launched a brand new website doesn’t mean we are done adding features. We are constantly working to provide new and improved features to make CLE a simpler, and more enjoyable experience. With that in mind, we have a bunch of things on the horizon that we are very excited about. (more…)
January 21st was quite a day for our nation, and for several members of our Lawline team who participated in the Women’s March. Just to throw out some numbers (who doesn’t love numbers, right?), 30% of our employees attended the march: 25% of us carpooled in buses and cars to be present at the main event in Washington D.C., slept on floors and under the roofs of friends and family members, and the other 5% stayed local and represented us right here in New York. There were also several Lawliners who couldn’t attend because of prior engagements with family and friends, but sent their love to those of us who were able to march. I asked fellow representatives from Lawline for some of their thoughts and observations from the weekend, and the following are a few of their responses:
Two years ago, I was a recent college graduate struggling to find myself a place in the “real world”. I had applied to a random variety of jobs, with hopes that I would discover what I truly wanted to do. I received an email from Lawline to set up a phone interview, and I eagerly accepted.
After going through the interview process, I ended up getting the job, and beginning as a customer experience specialist. Although I minored in Legal Studies in college, I had never heard of continuing legal education. After a few weeks of observation, I began working with Lawline’s customers directly. Lawline support can be reached via phone, email, or live chat. I started answering customers’ inquiries, assisting with purchases, and ensuring that Lawline customers were happy. I got to speak to such a wide variety of attorneys every day, and it was a really interesting opportunity. (more…)
Written by James Terrono
Last Tuesday, Lawline convened after a day’s work to celebrate the holiday season and to a toast a successful 2016 with each other and their significant others. For the 4th consecutive year, Barn Joo, a Korean-inspired gastropub in Midtown, was the place of choice. In Korean language, Barn Joo means musical accompaniment or drinks accompanied by your meals. Lawliner’s embody the meaning of Barn Joo to its fullest. Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by their staff, and escorted to a private room just for us Lawliner’s to indulge in delicious food and tasty drinks (Boulevardier was my favorite!).
In 2016, Lawline celebrated its ten year anniversary since CEO David Schnurman re-launched the company as an online CLE provider. We wanted to commemorate this important milestone with a unique action that embraced all of Lawline’s five core values – Care, Create, Grow, Play and Act. When Rich Hernandez, Lawline’s longtime VP of Customer Experience, suggested that we donate $10,000 in honor of our ten years, we knew that this was the perfect way to honor our decade as a leader in the online CLE business.
We decided that we would pick two categories of charities. First, we wanted to recognize organizations that reflect Lawline’s core values. Under this rubric, we donated $2,500 to the Performance Project, a non-profit that offers grants to young local artists to help support strong, vibrant, and equitable local communities, and also supports artists in discovering the ways that art can heal, empower and activate individuals towards the greater good. We love this organization because it embodies the Lawline ideals of growth through education, creativity, acting with purpose, playfulness, and caring about community. Lawline’s gift was especially timely this year because in October the Performance Project was offered a matching grant to sponsor 8 young artists in a new fellowship program. Our donation helped the organization raise enough funds to reach its goal and receive the extra $15,000 grant. You can learn more about all of the amazing projects supported by the Performance Project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBbiHapY_zU (more…)
It was the day after Election Day, and escape was on the mind of everyone at Lawline. Not escaping to Canada (the #5 country in the world for quality of life, according to U.S. News), not to Brazil (#1 for adventure), or even Italy (the #3 country for dating – that’s amore!).
Instead, the escape Lawliners were seeking was a little more immediate and pressing. We had been locked in a room and had an hour to get out. No, this wasn’t the plot of a Saw-esque thriller, but rather the thoughtful planning of Office Ambassador Ann Joseph. It was our team outing to X-Room, a real life “escape the room” adventure.
After meeting at the designated location in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the Lawline team was split into two groups and briefed on their scenarios. Team 1 was the Top Secret group: secret agents locked into a room in the enemy’s intelligence headquarters and given one hour to find a secret file. Team 2 were archaeologists, locked into an ancient tomb, with an hour to escape before the air ran out. Both groups had to solve a series of puzzles, riddles, and mysteries to get out. It would take *listening* to and believing in your teammates (Care), the ability to act decisively (Act), creative thinking (Create), the playfulness and imagination to immerse yourself in the environment (Play), and building on previous accomplishments to solve the next challenge (Grow). For those keeping score at home, thats all five of Lawline’s core values. (more…)