I met Ian Nelson at the PDI Conference in 2015 where we shared a celebratory drink, as I believed I would be getting engaged that very night. That evening set me down a path that landed me on Hotshot’s team two years later.
It was the final evening of the PDI Conference in Washington DC in 2015 and everyone was in a good mood. I was particularly excited because my boyfriend at the time, Jeff, was meeting me at the hotel, and I suspected he was going to propose that night. I shared my theory with Ian, who I had just met and who was happy to listen, as we clinked glasses in a toast to my big night. This evening began a friendship and working relationship that has led me to a position as the Director of Content for the Hotshot team two years later.
That December marked the recent launch of Hotshot’s first product – the M&A Basics topic – containing 25 high-quality training videos. As I began working with Ian, I became quite familiar with Hotshot’s trainings. And as a PD professional and a former big law attorney, I was impressed.
The videos were practical and concise, and filled a gap in the existing training options available at the time. I wished I had had something similar when I was an associate, trying to educate myself through Google in order to tackle my assignments more confidently. As a PD person, I was excited to arm the lawyers at my firm with this fabulous tool.
I also learned Ian and Chris’s story. These two friends and long-time colleagues said goodbye to Practical Law Company, and Big Law practice before that in Ian’s case, to launch their own venture. At PLC, they’d had the unique experience of helping build the US business from its near-inception all the way to the company’s purchase by Thompson Reuters. They were no strangers to legal education nor to developing a startup. Ian and Chris went out into the field and identified a need: lawyers and PD departments needed a digital legal training mechanism in line with the times. Hotshot was born.
Who wouldn’t root for such a story? I loved every part of it and became a fierce advocate for Hotshot’s success. At Shearman & Sterling, where I was a member of the Professional Development team, I did my part to spread the word and encourage the use of Hotshot as a firm resource. We received positive feedback from different user groups: from summer associates thirsty for knowledge to junior associates trying to understand new concepts; from paralegals supporting corporate deals to marketing teams drafting pitch decks; from midlevels on the M&A team to seniors in small practices doing ancillary work on those M&A deals. I myself relied on the Excel training videos to remind me how to manipulate spreadsheets in a pinch.
In time I joined Hotshot’s Professional Development Advisory Board. Together with colleagues from across the PD world, I enjoyed brainstorming ways Hotshot could spread its terrific product to serve more lawyers and law students. As Hotshot’s success has indeed grown, so has its team. I couldn’t be more honored to now serve that same mission that I’ve always believed in from inside the organization.
A few evenings ago, my husband Jeff and I looked back at my path to becoming a Hotshot. Of course, I gave him full credit for setting that path in motion. And even though it took Jeff a bit longer to propose to me than that night after PDI, things have a way of working themselves out.