"I love my job. I am the Managing Attorney of the Health, Education, Advocacy and Law Project at Community Legal Aid in Akron OH. I am an Equal Justice Works Fellow doing health policy analysis and managing a medical-legal partnership in Summit County. I work with community groups and statewide advocacy groups to advance health equity and reduce health disparities. I am becoming a leader in health policy issues in my community. I would not have gotten to the place, at my dream job, without the incredible guidance and support of Lawyers Life Coach Ellen Ostrow.
In September of 2007, I started working with Ellen. I “graduated” in December 2010, when I was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, thereby securing my current full-time position, which began in September 2011. Over the course of four years, I was hired to work on several small projects as a project coordinator or as a health policy consultant; I earned a Masters in Public Health from a well-regarded institution as a distance learning student; I volunteered and worked part time at Legal Aid building my dream job (and obtaining funding for it); and I successfully took the Ohio Bar Exam (my fourth bar exam, but the first I had taken in twenty years). Along the way, I also resisted the urge to accept opportunities that did not further my objectives.
Through all these twists and turns, Ellen helped me stay focused on my goals. I worked both individually with Ellen, as well as with the Opting Back In Group. The support provided by Ellen and the Group made all the difference. Being accountable for taking steps in between phone calls provided the motivation to move forward. In the Group, we shared our successes and our stressors, and helped each other consider options to overcome barriers. Ellen was generous with her time and contacts, modeling the strengths of a good network by sharing hers with us.
I will be forever grateful to Ellen for many things she said and did in the time we worked together. Two, however, stand out in my mind. First, when I traveled to graduate school for a two-week intensive educational experience, I was nervous about being back in the classroom, as well as about being away from my family. Ellen sent me beautiful flowers with a thoughtful note of encouragement. It meant a lot to me, and it helped! Second, when I was offered opportunities that did not fit in my goal of working in health policy on issues of equity, she reminded me to pause and consider whether an opportunity was enticing because it felt secure, rather than because it would help me fulfill my passion. I so appreciated her confidence that the right opportunities would present themselves, if I kept myself open to them.
Carl Cooper, Diversity Consultant, Carl G. Cooper
“Ellen is the gold standard in career coaching for lawyers. A nationally recognized expert on women and the legal profession, she's adept at guiding clients through both challenges and opportunities. Creative, empathic, and pragmatic, she has a rare ability to ask questions that elicit new insights. Whenever I have lawyer friends struggling to find their way, I suggest they consult Ellen. There's no one else like her.”
“Ellen helped our law firm and me, as our firm's Diversity Chair, to design and implement a cutting-edge diversity & inclusion program for our attorneys and staff. In addition to her substantive expertise, which is substantial, Ellen has been creative, engaging, dedicated and insightful, while striking a balance between the directness that is needed in this arena with tremendous warmth and compassion. We've been very fortunate to work with Ellen.”
Karen Hansen, Beveridge & Diamond PC
“Ellen has a wealth of information, insights and common sense on issues affecting women lawyers. She is an excellent speaker. She conducts helpful groups on a variety of topics, such as women's leadership, and her website is a great resource. But what I admire most about Ellen is her ability to break down goals, aspirations and obstacles into manageable pieces and to propose sensible strategies for tackling them."
Lisa Pearson, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
“I contacted Ellen Ostrow when I decided to start my own business. I firmly believe that I could not have succeeded as quickly without her assistance. She worked hard to bring helpful, substantive, outside materials to the process. But, she also worked hard to help me develop my vision for my business, to gain and maintain clarity as I began the process, and to direct my energies toward those activities essential for achieving my goals. I would most certainly recommend Dr. Ostrow's coaching for anyone considering a major business move."
MaryAnn Leon, Leon Law
“I truly enjoy working with Ellen. She is a compassionate straight-talker who consistently enables me to articulate and refine my goals. Ellen also has a scholarly level of knowledge regarding her field which means that she offers me an amazing array of insights and strategies to help me accomplish those goals." Jenny Eller, Groom Law Group “Ellen has been a terrific resource through a significant mid-career transition from senior associate to law firm owner. Because I made the shift in the context of major life transitions (started a family, to name one) and our firm's involvement in a high profile case, Ellen's assistance has been invaluable. I recommend her highly.”
Laura Possessky, Gura & Possessky PLLC
“Ellen is at the top of her field. Ellen is a consummate professional who uses her psychology background and years of experience with the specific issues faced by lawyers to provide her clients with highly-customized career guidance. Ellen is exceptional.”
Brett Goldblatt, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP
Elizabeth Seyle Fenton, Reed Smith LLP
“My work with Ellen has been invaluable to me as I have made a transition to a new leadership position. She has a great depth of knowledge about the legal profession and about the challenges facing women lawyers in particular, and her advice and ideas have been creative and tremendously insightful. I highly recommend her.”
Linda Coberly, Winston & Strawn LLP
“Hiring Ellen as a Career Coach, at a time when I felt that my law practice was off-track, was a terrific decision. Her knowledge about lawyers and the legal profession, contacts with others who had achieved their practice goals and found satisfaction and work-life balance, and her sensible encouragement and nudging were extremely helpful for me. After working with Ellen for some months I returned to the kind of legal work I like best, within a healthier, happier firm culture, and with refined goals for the future. I still look at our session notes and survey results at times when I need reminders for certain key issues. I would not hesitate to hire Ellen again and recommend her to any lawyer, male or female, grappling with issues involving practice satisfaction, goal achievement, work-life balance, transitions, and generally finding your place in the law.”
M. Carew, Varnum LLP
“Ellen has been a highly effective partner with a individualistic and targeted approach. She is a trusted resource and is strategic at every level.”
C. Herzog, Symantec Corporation
“I started working with Ellen after the 2001 birth of my second child. My goal was to achieve better work/life balance in my capacity as an of counsel attorney to a law firm. Ellen's expert coaching helped meet that goal and also achieved unexpected beneficial results, such as increased productivity. I was also uncomfortable with marketing myself, and with Ellen I was able to create a successful marketing program well within my comfort zone. Today, I am a name partner in the firm."
Julie Hottle Day, Culin Sharp Autry & Day P.L.C
“Ellen is a wonderful coach....she is trustworthy, knowledgeable and supportive.”
Patricia Wheeler, Managing Partner, The Levin Group LLC
“Ellen is remarkably practical and tuned-in to business writing about lawyers and management in general. She gets into real details and does not deal with platitudes. I have found her extremely helpful and insightful.”
Megan Glasheen, Reno & Cavanaugh PLLC
“Ellen is a wonderful coach, speaker and mentor. She has worked on an individual basis with many women lawyers I know and they all sing her praises. I have also worked with Ellen in connection with several Bar sponsored events at which she spoke and she is a powerful presenter. Ellen's insight, wisdom and coaching expertise are much needed in the legal profession. As a former practicing attorney, I am thankful she is working to effect the changes to empower women that are much needed. Her passion and commitment are insipiring.”
Anne Whitaker, Vice President, Counsel On Call, Inc.
“Ellen is a consummate professional who is truly interested in the success of her clients. She is insightful through deep and detailed knowledge of the subject but she also has keen instincts that allow her to treat each clinet individually rather than as "textbook cases." I would highly recommend Ellen to anyone interested in using her services as a career coach.”
Amy Wang, Ward and Smith P.A.
“Dr. Ostrow is a consummate professional who has a deep understanding of the intricate life issues that attorneys face at home and at work. She is an empathetic coach who provides meaningful personal and business advice; however, her tenancy enables her to pierce the exterior of even the toughest of litigators and to uncover the underlying issues that are problematic for an individual attorney or law firm. Most importantly, Dr. Ostrow offers sound, practical advice and options for her clients to consider. I highly recommend Dr. Ostrow.”
Michael Guanzon, Clement & Wheatley
“Ellen is an innovative problem solver, who is usually a step ahead of you when working out a problem to the solution; however, she will let you work out the steps on your own allowing you to build the tools for future use. I have also worked with Ellen as a speaker on a bar association panel, which was quite a sucess.”
Renee Bergmann, Becker Meisel
“Ellen is one of the top coaches in the U.S. for lawyers who want practical, thoughtful tips for advancement and for life satisfaction. She has coached hundreds of people and her knowledge of the industry is deep and comprehensive. I have little doubt that those who work with Ellen will emerge with a better understanding of their workplace, how they interact with it and how they can use individual approaches to better their lot. Ellen is a superb coach operating from a solid base in psychology; lawyers who need help should look no further."
Holly English, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C.
“Ellen has been a great coach to work with. She has a profound understanding of the dynamics of law firms and law firm life. Ellen is also an incredible listener who misses nothing. She uses her understanding of law firms and what she gains through listening to ask profound questions and make practical suggestions that have been very helpful to me with respect to the issues we have been working on. I have been grateful for the chance to work with Ellen and consider the time I have spent working with her time well spent. I highly recommend her.”
Adam Zweifler, Kroll, McNamara, Evans & Delehanty, LLP
Dr. Ostrow, I really enjoyed your presentation last night to the Women in Housing and Finance group. The fact that everything you said resonated with me and made such good sense, demonstrated that you are very good at what you do. I've attended presentations on similar topics by business development and coaching experts and walked away feeling like I had wasted my time. I took away several vauable suggestions from you last night. I even downloaded Working Identity on my Kindle when I got home and am looking forward to reading it. It was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your time and advice.
Participant in Lawyer Re-Entry CLE