J. Ryann Peyton
The Island of Misfit Lawyers:
Creating Professional Communities Where Everyone Can Thrive
A lawyer’s experience in the legal profession conjures different emotions, experiences, and attitudes based on factors related to one’s identities. These identities, both personal and professional, will ultimately be embraced or rejected by the cultural and leadership norms of the profession. When their identities are rejected, some lawyers simply feel as though they don’t belong. They become legal misfits. Colorado’s legal community has many self-proclaimed misfits. Each of them seeking community, opportunity, and authenticity. Together, we form places of refuge, small islands, where those who don’t fit the mold can find belonging.
This presentation will explore cultural and leadership pain points that undermine belonging in the legal profession. We will also examine the ways in which small habits that every lawyer and organizational leader can employ to build bridges across the islands of misfit and join in the work of creating professional communities and cultures where everyone can thrive. Afterall, discovering your unique gifts is part of what makes this journey worth the effort. Welcome to the island!
5 mins. Introduction
1) About Ryann, logistics, and training expectations.
20 mins. PART 1: Professional Pain Points & The Value of Belonging
1) A discussion about “lawyer professional identity”: how it is formed, challenges and benefits of identity, and the ways in which identity is accepted or rejected by traditional legal profession norms and expectations.
2) The ways in which belonging and uniqueness are cultivated in legal organizations based on professional identity.
3) Leadership styles that impact feelings of belonging in the legal profession.
4) The ways in which culture impact feelings of belonging in the legal profession.
20 mins. PART 2: The Atomic Legal Organization
1) Why “Atomic”? In a sense, lawyers and legal employers are like the atoms of our profession. They are fundamental units that combine into the overall system and culture that make up our professional world.
2) Six Steps to Generating Belonging for Legal Misfits
3) Measuring the Impact of Bias & Motivating Institutional Change
a. Examining Organizational Culture
b. Analyzing Organizational Culture
5 mins. Question & Answer