Plenary speaker Constance Kilmark, Kilmark & Associates LLC, discusses how financial personality and the practice of law intersect.
2014 Lederer Award recipient, and former State Bar of Wisconsin Practice Management Adviser, Nerino Petro (second from left), his wife, and parents.
Oconomowoc attorney Rita Beckman attends her first Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference.
Visit the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Facebook page for more photos of this event, or click here.
Oct. 24, 2014 – Many lawyers don’t like to talk about it. It can be a source of conflict between business partners and significant others. Stress is closely aligned with it, as many solo and small firm lawyers can attest. So what are we talking about? Money.
Financial personalities and money was just one topic at the 2014 Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference in Wisconsin Dells – which started yesterday and ends tomorrow – where more than 300 participants gathered to network, learn, and relax.
With four tracks in technology, substantive law, quality of life/ethics, and practice management, solo and small firm lawyers are discovering new tools to grow their practices, be better lawyers, and make more time for life outside of work.
They’re also getting more training with “Business School for Lawyers” programming, and interdisciplinary concepts from speakers outside the legal profession. For instance, counselor and consultant Connie Kilmark focused on “financial personalities” today.
According to Kilmark, dubbed the “Dr. Ruth of Money,” everyone has a different financial personality that impacts their financial behaviors and decisions. Understanding those differences can nurture healthier financial lives and relationships, Kilmark says.
Financial personality is merely a constellation of characteristics that describe one’s attitudes, emotions, and responses towards money. Factors such as family history, education, age, and cultural or religious background can influence those behaviors.
“Individuals have a style with which they perceive and behave in the presence of money and the things that money can buy, including status and such things,” said Kilmark in a presentation that was offered to both members and their significant others.
From left, Mark Goldstein (Milwaukee), Sarah Ruffi (Wausau), and David Krekeler (Madison). All three presented during the conference presessions on hiring, utilizing, motivating staff to help grow your business.
Jenna Atkinson tapes a free promo clip for her firm, courtesy of PINNACLE Productions.
Rex Havens, a comedian, speaker and author based in Chicago, uses comedy to discuss the differences between men and women, and how to be more effective communicators.
So how does your financial personality differ from your business partner, your significant other, or your clients? Can that explain the conflicts that you are having about money?
“Money evokes powerful emotions,” said Kilmark, who approaches personal finance by balancing financial facts with interpersonal dynamics. She founded the Madison-based counseling and consulting firm of Kilmark & Associates LLC and is a regular on radio.
Kilmark says the question of financial personality is especially important for attorneys, who are trusted advisors. Unaware of deep temptations or the pressure of status or appearances, attorneys could open themselves to a breach of ethical duties.
“Knowing your financial personality, your temptations, and how to deal with them is a highly important quality,” Kilmark said. “It requires excellent boundaries to manage.”
“We listen to the message that we need more, and more, and more,” Kilmark said. “This can lead us to a sense of constant insufficiency, a sense that I’m not there yet, that I’m incomplete. The problem with money is that it promises things it cannot deliver.”
Kilmark suggests that attorneys learn more about their financial personalities and what drives their emotional decision-making with respect to money.
"We have to understand what Connie is telling us," said Atty. Dan O'Brien. "We have to understand ourselves and our relation to money. We have to understand our clients and their relationship to money. We have to understand our partners and their relation to money."
For photos of what’s happening at the Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference, visit the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Facebook page.