Justin Ergler, LVN Board Member and Director, Alternative Fee Intelligence and Analytics at GlaxoSmithKline.
Greg Lambert 0:01
Hi, everyone. I'm Greg Lambert, and I'm talking today with Justin Ergler, who's the Legal Value Network board member and Director, and Alternative Fee intelligence and Analytics there at GlaxoSmithKline. Justin, thanks for coming in and letting us shine the spotlight on you this month.
Justin Ergler 0:18
I appreciate it. Greg, I'm very happy to talk to you.
Greg Lambert 0:22
Me too. Me too. So let's kick off with the easiest question. How did you get into this field?
Justin Ergler 0:32
Completely by accident. This was not a strategic plan. When I went to college. I was not planning on being in legal operations, I guess we'll put it that way. I was I started out in procurement. And I went through the, you know, traditional procurement, buying different things and all that stuff. And then I happened upon the space called legal, which was kind of like the place where nobody went in procurement. And fortunately at GSK, under a general counsel called Dan Troy, we were invited to kind of think about what we can do. And we did a lot of great stuff. And ultimately, Dan wanted us to do more stuff. So I got brought into the legal department proper, and have gone on since then.
Greg Lambert 1:22
I know you've been there a while, but over the past couple of years, especially how have things significantly changed in your role?
Justin Ergler 1:32
Yeah, I think that's a great question. I would say that when I first started working with the Legal Group, especially in a procurement capacity, but even when I joined the legal department, folks like me, proud non-lawyers, right. And business folks, we were it's similar, I think experience for law firms and clients, we were kept behind the scenes. I wasn't law firm facing. And you know, my colleagues on the law firm side weren't client facing. So I would say the biggest change over the last few years has been that business professionals like myself, and like the Purvi Sanghvi's, and the Keith Maziarek's, Toby Brown's. Kristina Lambright's, Chris Ende's and Stuart Dodd's folks to the world became client facing. And folks like myself, Rebecca Benavidez at Microsoft, Aaron Boersma at Google, Alan Bryan at Walmart, folks like that had become more law firm facing. So I'd say that is the biggest change that I think has been very positive both for our profession, as business professionals, but also for the legal industry in general, because I think, folks that aren't lawyers and aren't doing the day to day, can have more candid conversations and have honest conversations about what we're doing, what our fees, what's feedback, most, both positive and negative. Because lawyers oftentimes aren't good at giving that feedback, because negative feedback is difficult to give. I'd say that's the most significant change. That has happened, you know, for a number of years now, but specifically, in the last few years, I think has accelerated.
Greg Lambert 3:18
Yeah. I was going to ask you, do you think that that's a natural progression? Or do you think that COVID and remote work kind of sped things up a little bit?
Justin Ergler 3:28
I would say that the change really started. I don't want to give a year because COVID has clouded my brain as far as what year is what right. But I would say that the change really started prior to COVID. All right. Did it get accelerated during COVID? Maybe, maybe a little bit. But I think the change started before that, because I think that relationships, and what the LVN community, you know, that's what we tried to develop is relationships between the clients, law firms, third party vendors and things like that. And I think that prior to COVID, and then during COVID, partners at law firms started to recognize that, hey, these relationships are actually valuable. It's not just me as relationship partner, to XYZ, head of litigation at ABC Company. You know what that relationship between Justin and Purvi, you know what, there's value there. So I think that sort of be recognized and just recognized more and more.
Greg Lambert 4:38
Well, I'm gonna shift gears just a little bit, because we want to talk a little bit about self-care and mental health for this month. And I want to ask you, you know, what's a valuable piece of advice that you've received to help you in your own you know, self-care and mental health?
Justin Ergler 4:59
Okay, Ah, let's let the cat out of the bag if you will. It's already gonna be out tomorrow, I just got an email from Chad Main, who helps with our podcast, the Off the Clock Podcast. That's gonna be out tomorrow. And I'm bipolar. And, and I don't call it a mental illness, I call it a mental challenge. I think that we all have challenges and we need to work to overcome them. Now with mental health challenges, it's not a, it's not like jumping over a hurdle, right? There's always going to be a series of hurdles, that you have to jump through and jump over. And you don't always know when and where those might pop up. But as far as advice I've received is, the best advice I've received was actually, Greg, as far as the two of us share a, a bond and that we're both veterans of the US Army. And I'm sure you can attest to a lot of the stuff you've learned in the Army is more than what you learned in college. And some of the best, some of the best advice that I ever received was from my first Platoon Sergeant who said, you know, "be yourself, always be yourself, be true to yourself, and be the best of yourself." And I think that identifying and being comfortable with yourself is a big part of that. So that's the best advice I've received. And what does that mean in a professional career that I'm in now? That means doing stuff like this. And saying, Hey, here's who I am. And I'm proud of it. I'm damn proud of it. And are there challenges? Yes. Am I going to push forward? Yes. Am I going to help those around me to be the best they can as well? Absolutely.
Greg Lambert 6:50
Excellent. Well, well, thanks. I know that that was pretty vulnerable. To put that out there. You know, when it comes to the professional landscape, you know, what are some of the challenges that the current challenges that you're facing there, whether it's related to mental health issues or not?
Justin Ergler 7:14
I'll say a couple of things. I think I appreciate you saying, you know, I'm being vulnerable and things like that. But the reason I'm talking to you, Greg, even though I like you, is that, I hope if there's anybody listening to this, if there's one person that listens to this, and says, Hey, you know what, I need to talk to somebody. Right? That was a moment for me, when I realized as geez. Just something isn't right, I need to talk to somebody. And I had to learn. I had to learn. Because in any kind of world, doesn't matter what industry you're in. But especially in our world, you need to be on point all the time. Right? You need to be on point with your internal if you're a client side, you need to you need to be on point with your internal lawyers, your internal folks and things like that. And especially if you are law firm facing you sure, as hell better be on point when you speak to those partners, right. But one of the things that I don't think is said enough or appreciated is, sometimes it's okay to not be okay. Right? Everyone, everyone, I don't care if you have mental health challenges, or not. Everyone from time to time is not okay. And being able to recognize that and accept that, and say, hey, you know what, it might be good for me to think about this address it however you address it. Right? I think that's something that's very valuable. That's that was a turning point that I came to, and I don't know, call it self-awareness, called introspection, whatever you want to say, I think it's important for all of us to not just sometimes you just power through, right, that's the common, you got to power through power through and sometimes both for your professional career, but let's face it, I mean, you know, I like what I do, and I really like what I do. But I do it for the right now, I just got engaged. So I have a fiancé, and I have an eight year old son, and I do what I do for me, but I do what I do for them as well. And if I am powering through at work, sometimes that can translate over into home, you know, so if I'm not okay, and I don't, I'm not able to realize or accept that it's okay to not be okay. Not only can that affect me at work, but that can affect me at home too.
Greg Lambert 9:53
Make sense. Well, again, thanks. Thanks for sharing that. And I think that all of us here and especially in this this industry understand that you're not alone. And by you coming out and sharing your story hopefully that encourages others to share theirs as well be more comfortable with it. Alright, let's, let's take a deep breath.