Member Monday: Meet Courtney Wylie

Professional Development & Well-Being Specialist, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Description of your practice
I am a former litigator that now focuses on training lawyers.  In this realm, I design, develop, implement, and execute leadership and well-being programs, which provide the tools and skills that allow lawyers to thrive rather than just survive.  It is my hope and belief that we, as a profession, will be better able to retain our best and our brightest by providing better education, training, and support.

I am still very active with pro bono and volunteer work.  I’m a co-author of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being Report and an appointed member of the ABA Commission on Lawyer’s Assistance Programs.  I’m a certified leadership and executive coach and I work with lawyers, particularly women and diverse attorneys, as they navigate the trials and tribulations of practice.

I also recently started my doctoral degree in Positive Organizational Behavior and am focusing on studying lawyers and leadership in order to improve firm and legal culture, happiness, and ultimately success.


Why you are a member of the WBAI? 
I work with women regularly on a variety of topics that come up in the practice of law and have experienced them myself.  In male-dominated fields, like the practice of law, women need to have strong support systems and other women who are constantly willing to promote, sponsor, and encourage them.  The WBAI is unparalleled in this way.  I have never met such strong women so willing to promote and support each other.  It inspired me to want to do pay it forward and to do more than what I was doing.


What do you think is the best way to empower women in law? 
I think women sponsoring other women and finding ways to be successful authentically is one of the most powerful things that I’ve seen.  Often, women can feel like they have to fit a certain mold or be a certain way in order to be successful and while having the ability to adapt is crucial – finding ways to maximize your strengths and highlighting others is where I have seen women truly achieve much greater success.  One of our recent partners created a networking series specifically geared for introverts so that she could approach business development in a new way and broaden her network and it has been a huge success.  It is stories like this that I think are inspiring.


What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
As I mentioned, I recently started my PhD program and I’m currently working on a proposal that will study how increased emotional intelligence can help lawyers not only be happier and healthier but how it can also increase productivity and effectiveness as a lawyer.  I’m really excited to see how the research will turn out.  Also, the emotional intelligence trainings that I’ve built out will be featured soon as a recommended best practice by the Legal Executive Education Instituted so that is very exciting also!


Tell us something interesting about you.
I am a die-hard Michigan Wolverines football fan and I weirdly hate getting flowers. I’m also a true introvert and I used to have anxiety networking in large groups. This is something I’ve worked hard on over the years and people now are often surprised to find this out. I’m also terrible at small talk, it is something I have to practice because it makes me feel so awkward! But I love helping people and connecting with them so I work daily to overcome it.