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Nelson Hart LLC
Ellen Ostrow, PhD, CMC

Ellen Ostrow is a licensed psychologist who has been providing coaching and consulting services to attorneys and law firms since 1999.  She is the founder and owner of Lawyers Life Coach LLC, a firm providing leadership, career, business development, and work/life coaching to women attorneys and diversity and strategic planning consultation to legal employers. The mission of Lawyers Life Coach LLC is to create inclusive legal workplaces where the quality of relationships among employees accomplishes core organizational goals, evens the playing field for women and attorneys of color, and enables attorneys and staff to thrive.

Ellen approaches her coaching and consultative work through a positive psychological lens.  Both on the individual and the organizational level, she utilizes strength-based interventions.  Her approach to individual coaching is informed by research in positive psychology regarding the crucial role in career success of positive emotion, optimism, resilience, high quality connections, emotional intelligence, the ability to use one’s signature strengths, engagement, and flow.  Over the past 11 years, she has coached 100s of attorneys in private, corporate, government, and non-profit settings across all levels of seniority, from new associates to managing partners.  She frequently conducts attorney training for legal employers on leadership development, work/life balance, effective communication, business development, optimism and resilience, and career planning and self-management.

As a consultant to legal employers interested in increasing diversity, Ellen emphasizes the creation of genuinely inclusive workplaces rather than simply increasing the number of individuals from under-represented groups.  When legal employers emphasize recruiting alone in their diversity efforts, there is a high rate of failure because there are high levels of attrition among recruited lawyers.  To support the development of real diversity in the legal workplace, Ellen focuses on factors which influence the retention of women and attorneys of color.  Ineffective leadership, a lack of focus on human capital, poor communication, assumptions about the characteristics of an “ideal lawyer,” and subtle, often unconscious race and gender biases often block the advancement of diverse attorneys resulting in their disengagement from their work, the organization, and their ultimate departure.  Ellen works with legal workplaces to understand the role of these implicit biases, to develop the ability to maintain awareness of their influence on moment-to-moment interactions and evaluations, and to engage in open discussion of these normal but destructive human behaviors.

Education:  Ellen earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Rochester. She served on the faculty of four university psychology departments and as a staff psychologist in three university counseling centers before entering full-time independent practice.  She received her coach training and certification from MentorCoach™ and served on their faculty for seven years.

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