Find your purpose to move forward

The Last Word

Danielle Bergner
Danielle Bergner

Danielle Bergner
Milwaukee managing partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 3300, Milwaukee
Employees: 500 nationwide; 217 in Milwaukee
Industry: Law


Danielle Bergner is the new Milwaukee managing partner for law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Businesses that understand their purpose can move forward with courage, she says.

“As a real estate lawyer, I have devoted my career to solving problems and taking on new challenges.  Each real estate transaction is like a puzzle, requiring patience, creativity, determination and at times, pure force.

“I’ve learned, however, that organizational leadership requires more than just technical expertise and drive. It requires character and a lot of courage. The courage to embrace change, to own your mistakes and to do the right thing.

“Courage is not, however, a standalone quality – it depends on a foundation of purpose; of believing not only in what you do, but in why you do it. Once you understand the purpose in what you do, or in what your organization does, goals become clear and the will to implement follows naturally.

“Take law firms, for example. The legal profession, a business steeped in tradition and precedent, has changed dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so. These changes, influenced by both external and internal factors, have challenged law firms to adapt in significant ways. For some, it has required a complete overhaul of service delivery and business models. For those not-so-nimble, it has spelled disaster. It is no longer enough for law firms to provide high-quality legal services within a competitive cost structure. We must also be strategic partners for our clients, understanding and supporting their businesses at a much deeper level than the traditional business model required. In a sense, we are fundamentally re-defining what it means to be a lawyer.

“But with a clear foundation of purpose comes the courage and the will needed to adapt and ultimately, to succeed. And for that reason, I welcome the change.”

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