A Rift that Needs Healing:

Associates' Needs & Partners' Realities

Presented by
The Harvard Law School Association of New York City

Thursday, April 11, 2024

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Reception to Follow

Location: 151 W 42d Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, 17th Floor


This small-group seminar will help all lawyers – senior and junior – who want to improve the working relationship between and among partners and associates.

Our premise is simple: When lawyers understand one another and are sympathetic to one another’s needs, communication improves and loyalty skyrockets.

Yet, there are obstacles to this kind of mutual recognition. People don’t always know or say what they need from others – and the pressure to get things done means that even well-intentioned lawyers can overlook crucial signals from their colleagues. Partners and associates – inhabiting as they must different realities – are especially prone to misunderstandings, frustrations, and hurt feelings.

Method and Questions

Upon registering, participants will receive an entertaining case study that should take no more than 15 minutes to read.

The case depicts a mid-level associate, Maggie Jones, who is in the litigation department of the commercial firm known as Tollman, Gander, and Wyse. Maggie’s on the receiving end of a steady stream of assignments from the higher-ups – and she’s also trying to dole out some tasks to the more junior associates. She isn’t finding either side of the equation easy.

When we meet in the seminar, we will ask: What hopes and expectations do people who are relatively new to legal practice bring to the workplace? Why can it be hard for associates to bear in mind their own needs and to speak more openly when they are talking to partners? How can partners talk to associates (and associates to each other) in ways that foster initiative, creativity, and a sense of belonging?


Participants will learn about the unspoken needs of lawyers in the early stages of their careers – and they’ll practice talking in ways that show an awareness of these needs. They will come away with a deeper understanding of how this kind of effort leads to better outcomes all around: to clearer communication, improved teamwork, and greater loyalty to the firm.

This workshop invites all participants to share their experiences and impressions. Expect a sense of camaraderie to develop and bonds of friendship to form!


Glenn Novarr founded Open Arena Consulting to help his fellow lawyers embrace the human side of legal practice. He combines a lifelong immersion in the humanities, decades of experience in leadership development, and an insider’s understanding of the forces bearing down on today’s legal professionals.

Glenn built his expertise in leadership development while serving as a dean at Columbia University, where he has offered scores of workshops on the link between self-understanding and professional success. He has helped thousands of adults think clearly about the relationship between their own subjective needs and the objective demands of the working world.

Glenn is also personally familiar with the realities of legal practice, having served as an intellectual property lawyer in large corporate firms, boutique copyright firms, and in-house legal departments at major publishers and universities. He earned his JD (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School, a master’s degree in Political Philosophy from Princeton, and a BA in English Literature (with Distinction in All Subjects) from Cornell University.


Event Information


6:00PM - 7:30PM Thu 11 Apr 2024, Eastern timezone


Fross Zelnick
151 W 42d Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues 17th Floor
New York City, NY 10036 USA

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Event Contact
Glenn Novarr