About Us Our People Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC

Ellen Headshot 2-2022 smallFounding Principal
Phone: 844-818-9471
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC is a psychologist, certified coach, strategic talent advisor, and Founding Principal of Lawyers Life Coach LLC who brings particular expertise in coaching, training and advising lawyers and the law firms and corporations that employ them. Since starting her firm in 1998, Ellen has coached hundreds of attorneys throughout the world at all levels of experience and seniority in law firms of all sizes, corporate legal departments, government, not-for-profits and the judiciary.


The executive coaching Ellen provides to attorneys includes leadership development and effectiveness, communication and emotional intelligence, career planning and advancement, business development and work life integration. She assists lawyers in developing resilience and psychological flexibility, i.e., the capacity to be fully present and aware, in any given context, and to flexibly choose to act in a manner that will be optimally effective, authentic and aligned with values.

Ellen is particularly interested in assisting attorneys at transition points in their careers: from a time-keeper role to a leadership role, either as a law firm partner or an in-house leader; a service provider to a client manager and business generator; or a team player to a team or organizational leader.

Ellen consults with practice groups, law firms and corporate legal departments on strategic talent management, retention, promotion and inclusion. She has advised law firms and the legal departments of Fortune 500 companies regarding leadership development, optimizing attorney-client communication and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, effective management, delegation and supervision, developing mentoring and sponsorship programs and retaining and developing diverse talent. She works with law firms to design and implement effective strategies to better recruit, develop, retain and advance the lawyers and staff within the firm.


Ellen brings a unique understanding of the complexities of human behavior, motivation, emotion and learning, derived from her extensive training in psychological science, 30+ years of experience working with individuals and organizations to facilitate change, and 20+ years of working exclusively with attorneys and their employers. She approaches all of her work from an interdisciplinary and evidence-based model of change that includes behavioral science and positive psychology.

Ellen is particularly sought after as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant because her evidence-based work, derived from the science of social connection, focuses on observable behavior rather than unconscious processes that are not subject to conscious influence efforts. Instead, Ellen’s work with law firms seeking to become more inclusive focuses on developing mindful awareness and enabling lawyers to create authentic connections across differences. Her humanizing approach avoids the common triggers of defensiveness that hamper the effectiveness of typical implicit-bias focused interventions.


Since founding Lawyers Life Coach, Ellen has become known for her expertise in the challenges faced by women and diverse attorneys in the profession and has been invited to address numerous audiences – including the Department of Justice Canada, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Harvard Law School’s Women’s Leadership Summit, the Center for Women in the Law, the Latina Executive Leadership Academy, the National Bar Association, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Women Leadership & Equality Program and bar and women attorney’s groups on the national and local level throughout the US and Europe – on strategies for advancing women and diverse attorneys.

Her consultation with a law firm to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace resulted in that firm becoming one of the most honored firms for its diversity accomplishments. In addition, Ellen worked with a consulting team engaged by a judicial system to develop “A Great Place to Work.” In this capacity she conducted leadership development training, team building and provided leadership development coaching to court leaders including judges.

Ellen has also been selected as the exclusive Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)-endorsed leadership development coach. She serves as a facilitator and coach for Diversity Lab’s On-Ramp Fellowship and OnTrack Sponsorship programs. She has been the Co-Chair of the Board of the ThirdPath Institute since its founding and has served on the District of Columbia Bar Association’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program Advisory Board as well as the DC Bar’s Board of Governors. She uses her expertise in the social and neurosciences to inform her efforts to increase resilience, satisfaction and effectiveness among legal professionals.

A frequent contributing writer for print and electronic legal media, Ellen’s articles have been published in the New York Law Journal Magazine, Perspectives, The Woman Advocate, NAWL’s The Women Lawyers’ Journal, GP Small/Solo, Trial Magazine, Lawyers Weekly USA, the Talent Think Tank Blog and many other prominent legal publications. The New York Times, the Washington Post, US News & World Report, the Legal Times, Of Counsel, Law 360 and the Careerist have quoted Ellen and her email newsletter, Beyond the Billable Hour, has been reprinted by more than 30 print and electronic publications and translated into multiple languages.

Ellen received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester and her coach training from the MentorCoach ™ program, for which she has also taught, and her Professional Certified Coach certification from the International Coach Federation. She served on the faculties of three universities before starting her independent practice. She lives in suburban Washington, DC. with her husband and two cats, remotely parents her adult children in Las Vegas and Bel Air and adores her two grandchildren.


OnRamp 200 rev1 

Ellen has served as the executive coach for every OnRamp cohort group and looks forward to continuing to serve in this role as Diversity Lab works to bring 200 women lawyers back to the law by 2025!




 PCC Logo 2020            CertifiedMentorCoach-hi-res    


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Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., CMC

Rockville, MD
Phone: 844-818-9471

© 2016 Lawyers Life Coach LLC