It Pays to Be Yourself

“Making a positive impression can mean the difference between employment and unemployment or landing and not landing a good deal or client. But contrary to our intuition, simply being yourself makes a better impression than catering to another person’s interests and expectations. It not only feels better; it also improves the likelihood that you will achieve your goal,” writes Francisca Gino in a Harvard Business Review article published on February 13th, 2020, entitled “Research: It Pays to Be Yourself.”
In the article, Gino provides examples of research studies that demonstrate that while catering to the expectations of others is quite common, it may not always be in our best interests. Hiding our own preferences in favor of others can be mentally and emotionally demanding, and ultimately increases our anxiety and decreases our performance.
As attorneys and legal professionals, we are expected to consistently perform at a high level while influencing others. While establishing an influential presence is important, it’s also important to our mental health, career satisfaction, and job performance that we’re able to be our authentic selves.
This requires a comprehensive deep dive into our wellness, happiness, and career so that we’re able to shape and present our authentic, and ultimately our best, selves to the world.
We hope to help guide you and provide you with the resources to achieve your best self through our upcoming series of Thriving Lawyer CLE courses and roundtable luncheons at the HYP Club in downtown Pittsburgh starting on February 26th, 2020.
Renee Schwerdt, Esq. and I will be co-teaching and hosting these interactive events. In addition to being a solo practitioner and the Principal of Thriving Lawyer WellBeing Services, Renee is also a certified holistic lifestyle coach and a Crossfit trainer.
Join us as we work together on becoming our best, authentic selves!



A Culture of Collegiality

Robert A. Creo, Esq., Presenting at the Lawrence County Bar Association

Beyond Civility to Collegiality, Ethics and Benefits of Cooperation: Lawrence County Bar Association Presentation

On November 21st, 2019, Robert A. Creo, Esq., Principal of Happy Effective Lawyer, gave a presentation to the Lawrence Country Bar Association called Beyond Civility to Collegiality, Ethics and Benefits of Cooperation. The program took place in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and participants earned 1 CLE Credit in Ethics.

The program addressed ethical considerations of a lawyer’s role as zealous advocate, along with cooperation and collegiality in the context of #7 in the Preamble of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states in part: “However, a lawyer is also guided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. A lawyer should strive to attain the highest level of skill, to improve the law and the legal profession and to exemplify the legal profession’s ideals of public service.”
The presentation was well-received by 40 lawyers and two judges.
Renee Schwerdt, Esq., of Thriving Lawyer WellBeing Services, assisted with the program, along with the Executive Director of the Lawrence County Bar Association, JoEllen Thomas. The program was also coordinated by Joe Kearney, a solo practitioner located in New Castle with 40+ years of experience.
A follow-up online survey is being distributed to the Lawrence County Bar Association. This survey will gather info to learn about attorneys’ viewpoints on civility, collegiality, and the types of ongoing activities that could be sponsored in the future to promote a culture of collegiality and mentor younger lawyers in best practices.
A similar CLE presentation led by Robert A. Creo will be offered by the Allegheny County Bar Association Health Law section on December 5th, 2019. 
Robert A. Creo, Esq. and Joe Kearney, Esq.

Court of Arbitration for Sport, Event in Budapest: October 2019

Robert A. Creo, Mediator and TAS / CAS Member since 1999

The TAS / CAS Seminar held in Budapest in October 2019 had over 250 arbitrators and mediators from across the globe in attendance.

TAS / CAS is the Tribunal Arbitral du Sport / Court of Arbitration for Sport, “an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for servic­es in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the­ specific needs of the sports world.” (TAS / CAS)

Our gala dinner was hosted by the Hungarian government at the Groupama Arena stadium, with remarks made by former Hungarian President Pál Schmitt.

I was invited to attend as a Member. I first became involved with the organization when I was appointed as a Charter Member of the mediation roster in 1999, and I’m proud to have been reappointed every four years since then.

CAS Members resolve high profile disputes involving professional athletes, clubs, and federations, including eligibility for competitions on-site at the Olympics.

It was great to see old friends at the event, like fellow Members Jeff Benz, Moti Moroni, Allan Stitt, and Paul Godin, as well as make new friends, including Members Konstantina Morou, Thomas Wallentin, Claudine Helou, Jacob C. Jørgensen, Luiz Felipe Guimarães Santoro, and Fanny-Marie Brisdet.

Many thanks to the CAS leadership, staff, and Hungarian officials for this excellent and educational gathering!

Groupama Arena in Hungary for the TAS / CAS event in October 2019

Brian Cuban’s Journey from Addiction to Recovery

Attorneys Robert A. Creo and Brian Cuban after Brian's speech at the ABA 2019 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs

Brian Cuban’s gripping speech at the ABA 2019 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs chronicled his journey from addiction to recovery and instilled both pride, and hope, that the legal profession’s recent focus on the well-being of lawyers will have profound positive impacts.

Brian Cuban is an attorney, author, advocate, and public speaker who leads an entity that he founded to help other lawyers, The Addicted Lawyer.

In an authentic voice, Brian took us back to his days of being bullied at Mt. Lebanon High School outside of Pittsburgh, and his decades-long addiction to alcohol and cocaine that started during his undergraduate years at Penn State and continued through his graduation from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

After graduating law school in 1986, Brian moved to Dallas to take the Texas Bar Exam and to live near his brothers, businessmen Mark and Jeffrey. Among others, he credits his brothers for his recovery, noting they never lost faith in him. The three brothers live within walking distance of each other in Dallas.

Their mother still resides in Pittsburgh, so Brian is a frequent visitor to my hometown. I was pleased to learn that Brian is still a die-hard Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates fan, going back to 1969 to his first Buccos game with his Dad. Brian sometimes went to over 60 home games a season!

More importantly though, Brian is an expert on the issues of addiction and recovery for lawyers, and he is a leader and a role model in the fast-growing field of lawyer well-being. I also would recommend reading his blog and his books.

I was pleased to attend the ABA 2019 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs in Austin, Texas to learn of the good work that lawyers are doing to promote the well-being of both legal practitioners and law students.

The compassion that is needed to effectively promote wellness was palpable at the ABA Conference, and I believe that leaders and innovators are now energized to lead the charge in improving the culture of the legal profession.

Helping Lawyers Get Help: By West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Elizabeth Walker

Robert A. Creo, Esq.; Chief Justice Elizabeth Walker, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; Robert Albury, Director of the West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program
West Virginia is a leader in lawyer wellness and assistance initiatives. Under Chief Justice Elizabeth Walker‘s direction, the judiciary continues to integrate lawyer well-being into the legal system and community. 
To learn more about these initiatives and the lawyer well-being movement in West Virginia, download Chief Justice Walker’s recent column, Helping Lawyers Get Help, from the Summer 2019 edition of “From the Chief.”