Spotlight Series: Meet Lawyer Coach Anna Rappaport

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a former lawyer and have been coaching for over 20 years. In 2006, I founded Excelleration Coaching, where I work with lawyers as a sounding board, focusing partner and strategic resource. I support clients to create strategic, business and career plans suited to their strengths and preferences; find the time and energy to implement these plans, and enhance business communications. I speak regularly at conferences around the U.S. and provided workshops to law firms both in the U.S. and abroad. I’m a contributor to The National Law Review and Law Practice Today and am actively engaged in leadership roles through the American Bar Association. I am currently Co-Chair of the ABA Law Practice Division’s Lawyer Leadership and Management Committee and a Council Member for the ABA Dispute Resolution Section.

I also have a strong international background, having lived abroad cumulatively for almost ten years, in Japan, Thailand, Canada and most recently Turkey. During 2010-2013, I coached Turkish lawyers on business development and taught corporate law at Yeditepe University. I also did a bit of work in Trinidad and Tobago and the country of Georgia.

Prior to becoming a professional coach, I had a varied career. As a lawyer, my main focus was litigation. Prior to that, I managed international nonproliferation programs for the U.S. Department of Commerce, worked as a consultant analyzing U.S. construction and disaster management policies, and was a snowboarding instructor in Tahoe, CA.

I graduated with a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and with a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University. I am a member of the Maryland and Washington, D.C. bars. My office is in Washington, D.C. but I coach lawyers, mediators and arbitrators around the U.S. and abroad.

On a personal note, I am married, have two stepsons and a dog, Ginger, who is unusually strong-willed and would have made an amazing entrepreneur if she had opposable thumbs.

2. What was your first job and how did you get it?

I was a lifeguard and synchronized swimming coach for Los Angeles County. Those life guard jobs were actually quite competitive, and the only reason that I actually got the job a teenager was that I had competed in synchronized swimming for five years and they needed coaches.

3. How did you decide and get to your career today?

I started off coaching through a leadership development program and simply loved it. I did that for 7 years on the side. It wasn’t my profession, but it was an activity that I loved. Eventually, I decided that since I found coaching far more rewarding than any of the other careers I had tried, it would make sense to see if I could make a living at it. So, I decided to go out on my own and start my own coaching practice. I feel so lucky to be able to earn a living doing what I love.

4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?

I think the most valuable thing you can do is learn to trust yourself, and that is something that people develop over time. Who else deserves your trust more than you do? Getting advice and assistance from other people can be healthy and productive, but when it comes to major life and career decisions, no one is in a better position to figure out what will make you happy than you are.

5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?

In addition to all the individual coaching, I also love working with law firms on strategic planning. I’d be delighted to do more of those engagements over the next 5 years.

Stay connected with Anna!






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