2020-21 Program

Meet Our 2020-21 Participants

The 2020-21 SSPI participants started in February 2020. Five participants were selected through an application process that required detailed business plans.

10 Tips to Improve Your Zoom Meetings & Drive New Business During a Pandemic

December 3, 2020

While many of us are feeling "Zoom fatigue," others are leaning into it and creating new relationships and more business than ever before. In this interactive Zoom workshop, three-time author, podcast host and sales coach for lawyers, Steve Fretzin shared the following with SSPI participants:

  • How to be more effective at using Zoom as a business generation tool

  • Why we must focus on "low-hanging fruit" to grow more business quickly

  • LinkedIn best practices to get noticed and build your personal brand

  • Client loyalty and why it's never been more important than today

Steve Fretzin
Steve Fretzin provided "business development" tips for SSPI participants to use during the pandemic - actionable tasks that can help them drive tangible results.


How to Ethically Deal with Bad Behavior

November 5, 2020

Success in your practice has a lot to do with the way you handle opposing counsel. Unfortunately, some lawyers resort to bully tactics to gain a perceived advantage. They are the ones who may take the idea of "zealous advocacy" too literally. The truth is that every lawyer is bound to encounter opposing counsel who has made his or her job a nightmare. Have you ever encountered a lawyer where every meeting, call, or email exchange seems to spiral into venomous threats? Where every exchange involves hostility and sarcasm? How do we handle lawyers who use unethical, unprofessional tactics? On November 5, 2020, Jennifer Lavin, principal attorney at Jennifer L. Lavin, P.C., provided answers to these questions with guidance on how SSPI participants can get the most for their clients while handling challenging personalities in the profession.

Jennifer Lavin
Jennifer Lavin ('12) provided guidance on how to handle challenging personalities in the profession.

Servicing Clients During COVID-19

September 17, 2020

It is widely known that the legal industry is a people-centric and relationship-driven profession. With rapid changes to relationships (both personal and professional) caused by the pandemic, solo and small firms need to adapt to how clients are seeking and purchasing legal services. On September 17, 2020, Libby Popovic (‘98), partner at Caputo & Popovic, P.C., provided SSPI participants with strategies in effectively servicing clients during COVID-19. From updating business fundamentals and incorporating new ways of marketing to working new leads in emerging areas of law and learning different platforms, participants gained valuable insight in practicing during a pandemic.

Libby Popovic ('98)
Libby Popovic ('98) shared strategies in servicing clients during COVID-19.

Time Management for Lawyers

July 16, 2020

Good time management is an essential skill for all lawyers. When we organize and manage our time well, we are more likely to work productively and use our legal skills more effectively. When we are scattered, disorganized, and over-committed, we simply cannot leave a good impression on our clients and colleagues. On July 16, 2020, Director Dawn Young provided practical time management techniques designed to address lawyers’ unique challenges, including pandemic considerations when working from home. Participants from SSPI attended the workshop, as well as participants from the Louisiana Bar Association’s LIFT and the State Bar of Texas’ TOJI programs.

Dawn Young
Dawn Young shared organization and time management techniques for lawyers.

Negotiation Tactics

June 18, 2020

Michael J. Delrahim ('02), Managing Partner at Brown, Udell, Pomerantz & Delrahim Ltd., provided a workshop on effective negotiation strategies and tactics for lawyers. SSPI participants learned how to transform deals into better deals by moving away from conflict towards collaboration when negotiating with the opposing party. In particular, Mr. Delrahim shared how using calibrated questions, mirroring, and labeling can yield better results for clients.

Michael J. Delrahim
Michael J. Delrahim ('02) provided participants with a systematic framework for handling disputes through the negotiation process.

Low- and No-Cost Marketing Strategies

May 21, 2020
Alumna Rebecca Melzer ('05) from Berlin Melzer Law LLC provided participants with concrete examples of low- and no-cost marketing strategies specifically designed for solo and small firms. Some of the topics discussed included joining professional organizations and networking groups, leveraging social media tools (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), implementing video marketing, featuring client reviews and testimonials, writing blog posts, articles, and newsletters in your practice areas, highlighting awards and other accolades, and most importantly, developing relationships (by simply picking up the phone or getting together for coffee or lunch).
Rebecca Melzer
Rebecca Berlin Melzer ('05) led a discussion on effective no-cost marketing strategies for solo and small firm practitioners.

The 90-Day Challenge: Increase the Success of Your Business Development

On April 17, 2020, participants learned how to develop an effective marketing and business development plan for their firms. Nancy Linder (Chief Marketing Officer, Chapman & Cutler, LLP) and Linda Berger (Growth Strategist and Coach, Business Women Warriors) discussed the importance of understanding how to market legal services, developing a client development process/pipeline, owning and promoting value, and knowing the numbers. At the end of the workshop, the participants were presented with a 90-day challenge to incorporate what they learned on a particular project related to their business.

Nancy Linder
Nancy Linder, Chapman & Cutler LLP
Linda Berger
Linda Berger, Business Women Warriors


Law Practice Management

March 17, 2020

On March 17, 2020, Michelle R. Greene (’11) from G&G Law LLC shared practice management strategies with participants. From managing administrative tasks and implementing cost control to developing structured procedures for administrative and client service workflows, participants learned how to increase their firms' overall efficiency and bottom line.

Michelle Green
Michelle R. Greene ('11) provided practical advice on managing law firm workflow and increasing overall efficiency in the office.

Full Day Training Boot Camp

February 21, 2020

On February 21, 2020, SSPI participants attended an all-day boot camp that provided essential information on getting a successful law practice up and running. Dean Anita K. Krug welcomed the new lawyers to the program and Dawn Young, director of Institutional Projects, moderated the training, which included presentations from seasoned IIT Chicago-Kent alumni and business professionals in the community.

  • Ethical Considerations in Starting a Law Practice – Presenters: Kathleen Robson Gordon ('09) and Salvador J. Lopez ('08), Partners, Robson & Lopez LLC
  • Law Firm Finance – Presenter: Andrew B. Gordon ('12), Attorney, Gordon Law Group, Ltd.
  • Productivity, Marketing, and Pricing – Presenter: Andrew R. Greene, Attorney, ASG Law LLC
  • Common Causes of Malpractice Claims and How a Malpractice Policy Protects Your Practice – Presenters: Andrew Murray and Magali Olson, ISBA Mutual
  • The Short List for Starting Your Firm – Presenter: Mellisa Grisel ('16), Attorney, Atlas Legal Services, LLC
  • Building Your Business Development Foundation – Presenter: Alycia Sutor, Managing Director, GrowthPlay
  • Four Critical Moments in Attracting and Retaining Happy Clients – Presenter: Randy Micheletti ('09), President and Founder, Incubate IP
  • Billing, Retainers, and Engagement Agreements – Presenter: Mariana Karampelas ('11), Attorney, MK Law, LLC
  • Creating a Law Firm Tech Plan – Presenter: Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Welcome and Introduction to Amata Law Office Suites – Presenters: Grant Drager and Beth Lestingi, Amata
Dean Anita K. Krug welcomes the new SSPI cohort.
Salvador Lopez ('08) and Kathleen Robson Gordon ('09) share advice on starting a practice.
Andrew B. Gordon ('12) provides an overview of law firm finance.
Andrew R. Greene discusses productivity, marketing, and pricing to participants.
Mellisa Grisel ('16) explains lawyer and law firm requirements to start a practice in Illinois.
Randy Michelletti ('09) shares 4 critical moments in attracting and retaining happy clients.

Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring

February 21, 2020

SSPI participants and their mentors attended a mentoring orientation session presented by Dawn Young, director of Institutional Projects. The orientation provided an overview of the mentoring component of the program, including its purpose and goals. Mentoring pairs then participated in break-out sessions to develop and create structured mentoring plans to customize and chart the progress of their learning experience.

SSPI Participants and Mentors:

Participants attending a mentoring orientation conducted by director Dawn Young.
Victoria Mullins and her mentor Jennifer Lavin.
Jawad Fitter and his mentor Ljubica Popovic.
Mentor Mariana Karampelas with her mentee Jeremiah Shavers.
SSPI participant Lindsay Ayers