So maybe you’ve been enjoying Jay Shepherd’s writing, whether in Firing at Will or over at his workplace blog Gruntled Employees, his professional-service blog The Client Revolution, or his recent popular column at Above the Law. That’s cool. And now maybe you’re thinking, I wish Jay could come talk to our organization and tell us about things we need to hear about. Turns out that’s totally possible.

Have Jay speak at your next conference, seminar, or firm retreat. Jay’s presentations are in demand nationally and internationally. (Warning: he’s not for everyone. Fans of the status quo better cover their ears.) Send an email to to get more information about speaking fees and schedules. In your email, say which topic you’d be interested in hearing about. (By the way, if you need a handy printable version of this page, it’s here.)

Unlawyerly and Unboring Topics

Jay’s a frequent speaker on a variety of topics all centered around helping companies free their employees to do their best work. Here are some of his current speaking topics:

  • How to Have “Gruntled Employees”
    Disgruntled employees are the ones who end up suing you. So your goal should be to make sure you have “gruntled” employees. Jay will show you the secrets to keeping your employees gruntled.
  • The Riskiest Thing You Can Do at Work with Your Clothes On
    Firing an employee is the most difficult and riskiest event in a manager’s career. Do it wrong and you could be looking at years of litigation. Based on his book Firing at Will, Jay will teach you how to safely do this dangerous task.
  • The Magic of Retained Dignity
    Some companies are beginning to pay attention to new HR metrics to help them manage their workplaces. Jay developed the revolutionary concept of Retained Dignity to help managers and HR professionals focus on lowering the probability of litigation after a firing.
  • Managing Employees Without Timesheets
    The billable-hour business model was invented in 1919, and law firms, accounting firms, and other professionals rely on timesheets to manage their employees. Yet the timesheet is the absolute worst way to measure the value of your employees. Jay teaches you how to trash your timesheets and how to manage your employees without them.
  • Selling Knowledge, Not Activity
  • The outdated hourly billing model focuses on measuring activity, so firms live under the myth that activity is what they sell. But clients don’t buy activity; they buy knowledge. Jay teaches you to measure — and sell — knowledge instead of activity, giving you the opportunity to increase your firm’s profits.

  • The Great Alternative-Fee Swindle
    Everyone’s talking about “alternative fee arrangements” as the new new thing. But most of the “experts” spend their time talking about a bewildering array of AFAs that turn off clients and firms alike. And nearly all of them still talk about keeping track of your time. Guess what? It doesn’t work that way. Have Jay clear up all that conclusion and tell you about the simplicity of pricing.
  • Treating Employees Differently
    Employment lawyers and human-resources professionals live by the axiom that you have to treat employees the same. The problem is, when you treat everyone equally you end up treating them all equally badly. Instead, the secret of a successful workplace is to treat your employees differently. Jay will tell you how.
  • The One-Question Test for Your Firm
  • Professional firms spend a fortune on marketing, trying to convince clients that they are experts in their fields. But Jay’s come up with a simple test for whether a professional is truly an expert. The client simply asks: “How much will this cost?” How your firm answers speaks volumes about your expertise.

  • Can a Law Firm Be Like Zappos?
  • Online shoe company Zappos is renowned for its corporate culture, where its employees are genuinely excited to be part of the team. But a law firm is very different from a hip and trendy consumer website. How can a law firm’s employees be as excited to work there as Zappos’s people are? Jay shows you how.

  • The World’s Shortest Personnel Handbook
    Many employers spend thousands of dollars each year on detailed personnel handbooks and employee policies. These policies are designed to guard against bad employees. Unfortunately, they also have the effect of driving away good employees. Instead of hyperlegislating the workplace, Jay will tell you about the world’s shortest employee handbook, and how having it can make your business a better place to work.

Previous Awesome Audiences

Here is just a small sample of the audiences Jay has spoken before. None of them threw rocks or vegetables.

  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Corporate Counsel
  • New England Human Resources Association
  • New England Corporate Counsel Association
  • Australian Legal Practice Management Association (Sydney)
  • Legal Marketing Association
  • FirmFuture Conference
  • Association of Legal Administrators
  • Boston University School for Hospitality Administration
  • Babson College F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Solo Practice University
  • VeraSage Institute
  • IgniteLaw
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Society of CPAs
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
  • Scores of employers, law firms, and accounting firms

Bite-Sized Samples

How is Jay as a speaker? Irreverent, straightforward, and unlawyerly. He’s also pretty funny (or funny-looking; it’s unclear which). But don’t take our word for it. Check out these short sample talks and see for yourself.

IgniteLaw (at ABA TechShow)
Chicago, IL — 10 April 2011
Jay told about 300 lawyers from around the US about what practicing law in 2019 would look like. The Ignite Law format: six minutes, 20 slides, 18 seconds per slide, which advance automatically.

Australian Legal Practice Management Association — 2010 National Conference
Sydney, Australia — 22 October 2010
Jay shared his practical advice on how to price legal services with an audience of Australian law-firm leaders. Jay also participated in a panel discussion with leading in-house counsel. Here’s a short (5:38) preview: