Firm Management Leader Carminati Launches Novel People-Centered Management Method For Law Firms
Today we’d like to introduce you to Giugi Carminati.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
I am an attorney, a mother of four, and a trauma informed litigator. I am also a registered psychotherapist and I have years of experience as a woman’s advocate. I have litigated cases with big firms, small firms, plaintiffs’ firms, and everything in between. I have both worked for other firms and had my own law firm. However, my professional trajectory has not been easy. I had 2 burnouts and a life threatening event in 2020, which led me to the concept of legal project management. I was trying to find a way to make the law a livable profession, after years of trying to leave it all together. I came across legal project management, which is a fantastic tool, but the way it was being implemented was very client facing and focused on how big firms could use it to leverage efficiencies. So I said about developing a legal project management system that could work for smaller firms, and would allow the implementation of small scale Ediscovery. Eventually this led to the creation of the liberal law method, which is an agile project management based framework for law firms.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The practice of law has been inordinately brutal. It has quite literally taken my health, my well being, and robbed me of much tranquility. I came to the United States in 2001 as a first generation American, with really nothing to my name. We worked our butts off, through college, making our way into law school. I really thought that hard work would eventually pay off. But that is not the case with the law. It is especially not the case among women and women of color especially. While as a white woman I certainly benefit for tremendous privilege, I still met the challenges of being a woman in a profession that is systemically toxic. The practice of law is profoundly unhealthy, and much like other attorneys in the profession, I struggled with anxiety and depression. When I realized that it was actively harming me, and I finally understood that I was not the problem but the profession was, I was finally able to start looking for solutions.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
The livable law method is completely unique. Nobody else does what I do. While there are legal project managers who work with small firms, they do not have a systemic framework the way that I developed for the livable law method. I specialize in implementing agile project management structures, systems, and ceremonies as well as small scale legal tech and Ediscovery tools. I know 1st hand how inaudible it is to start your own law firm, run a small law firm, or run a plaintiff’s case load. I understand the particular challenges and obstacles, as well as demands of that type of work. This is the knowledge that I bring to my livable law practice. When somebody hires me, they are hiring a seasoned litigator with years of experience all over the country. You are also hiring someone who has experienced firsthand hand how devastating stress can be. I do not take it lightly. And I do not take my work as a simple change of lifestyle but as bringing systemic transformation to an otherwise toxic work environment. The livable law method operates on three main pillars, each subdivided into three sub pillars, and each of those has three parts to it. The three starting pillars are the management of tasks, the management of time, and the management of things. By creating a framework and giving things name, I make it possible for people to identify where their pain points are and actually address them
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
It is really hard to give advice because it assumes I know much more than I really do. But if I had to share one lesson it is that I am invaluable to the people who love me, not to those who pay me. This was a very hard earned lesson and I wish I had really absorbed it earlier. This translates into really creating boundaries between life and work, refusing to accept balance as an acceptable middle ground, aunt Kama and not feeling guilty or ashamed when I am imposing my boundaries. Boundaries between work and life are healthy, they are a must if you are going to preserve your mental health. This idea that our jobs are entitled to every bit of ourselves is ridiculous, and yet it is completely entrenched in the way we operate as a society. I have said this before and I will say it again, but our relationships with our employers are transactional. We get paid for our labor, not our lives or our loyalty. I really wish I had been more steadfast in refusing to let work overrun my life, and more realistic in believing that my hard work would somehow pay off for my benefit, instead of disproportionately from my employer’s benefit.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
I know that when I am talking about success I am supposed to talk about intangible aspects. But that is not all of it. Success is a mixture of both tangible and intangible. Success means having the freedom and autonomy to pursue projects, live my life, and have moments of bonding and shared experiences with those who love me. But success also means making a ton of money, because without money it is much harder to achieve that freedom and autonomy. Obviously money does not buy happiness, but it makes it a lot easier to experience happiness. Another really important part of success, for me, is whether it left the world better than I found it. If I can create long standing positive change in the legal profession then I will consider myself to have been a success. If my work can alleviate pain, reduce burnout, and improve overall mental health among the lawyers, then that will be something I can be really proud of.
What’s next for you?
I am always working on another project, another endeavor, or some new adventure. Right now is no different than any other moment in my life when I was doing just that. But for the immediate future, I want to spread the word and the Livable Law method to law firms all over the country. If I could generate a paradigm shift in the way we view the legal profession, and the way practitioners approach their work, that would really fill me with joy. If my 10 principles could become standard in the profession then what a different world we would be living in. The live of the law has 10 principles, all of which reflect a completely different ethos. For instance my 1st principle is that people are not widgets, my 2nd principle is that the workweek is finite to, another one of my principles is that self care without team care is futile. My 10th principle is that burn out is forever. If I could walk into law firms, and they are Is living by these principles, and if I can see a trician among women attorney’s decrees, burn out reduced, and our mental health improved, then that is what I want to do next.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?