Encore: Journey from Musician to Lawyer to a Coach for Lawyers
Nora Riva Bergman
Nora Riva Bergman’s career journey takes her from musician to lawyer to bar association executive director to a coach for lawyers. “Ampersands” is her term for life passages and turning points. Death of the “Auntie Mame” figure in her life jolted her to rethink her relationship to the law profession. As a business coach and practice advisor at Atticus, Nora founded Real Life Practice and works with attorneys on work-life balance and how to gain self-knowledge, to help lawyers become better lawyers. And she works with law firms across the country coaching them on all aspects of law firm management and leadership.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
It was a circuitous route, which may have begun when her love of music—and The Beatles— led her to a 20-year music career after high school. Returning to the college track in her late 20s, a journalism school law class on the First Amendment piqued her interest in law. Law school and a brief stint practicing law helped her see she wanted a different direction. It was at a job as executive director of a Bar Association where she discovered her love: helping other lawyers gain self-knowledge and become better lawyers, and better people.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
The sudden death of a beloved aunt, an “Auntie Mame” figure in her life, created what Nora calls “an ampersand moment.” She realized, “I did not enjoy what felt like putting on armor every day, going to work and fighting with people all day long.” She explains her ampersand concept to podcast host Don Hutcheson.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“You’ve got to know yourself. It’s not necessarily easy for anybody, but acting on what you know forces you to live outside your comfort zone. Be willing to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Susan Jeffers says. A sign on my desk reminds me, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Then, use what you’ve learned to change your life in ways that are meaningful to you…not to anybody else…but to you.”
On Her Bookshelf
Connecting With Nora Riva Bergman
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