Trainer Profile: Don Shapiro Makes Personal Connections for Impactful Results


Don Shapiro has been a corporate trainer for nearly 20 years, but he started his career as a secondary school teacher. Perhaps that’s why Don understands so clearly that effective technology training at law firms first demands a personal connection.

“The first thing I do when I’m teaching a class or a webinar or even one-on-one is to find out what each person wants to get out of the class,” says Don. “I find some entrée into their needs. What they will use it for, how it will help them do their job. When I know that, I am certain that I can deliver training that makes their job better, easier.”

Y2K Launched Don’s Corporate Training Career

Back in the late 1990s, Don was still in a classroom when the world was starting to “freak out” about Y2K.

“Law firms at that time were mostly using WordPerfect for word processing,” recalls Don. “They wanted to be Y2K-compliant so a bunch of firms were transitioning to Microsoft Office applications and Windows platforms. They needed to get their attorneys and staff up-to-speed on how to use this new environment. That training sustained me for about three years.”

After helping myriad firms through that transition, Don decided to stay in the legal space because he understood and enjoyed their unique cultures. He joined the Chicago office of DLA Piper as a technical trainer and traveled across North America providing mostly classroom-based trainings.

As time (and technologies) advanced, Don’s trainings did, too. He added webinars and documentation to his repertoire, spreading his impact farther across the firm. Most of his work involved onboarding of new employees and migrations to new/upgraded platforms.

“The fundamental goal is always the same,” says Don. “Trainers must help law firms harness technology to support attorneys.”

2019 Brings More Change

In 2019, DLA Piper moved its nonlegal groups to Tampa, FL and asked Don to move with them. After some soul-searching, Don realized that his life was in Chicago and he wanted to stay. Therefore, he sought new training opportunities… and teamed up with Savvy Training & Consulting!

“I love training attorneys and their teams,” says Don. “For example, if I’m helping attorneys use their billing software better, that helps their bottom line. That always makes everyone happy!”

Of course, not all learners are motivated, but Don is no rookie; he knows how to meet learners where they are and make training valuable to even the most reticent attorneys.

“I know that attorneys are busy and training can feel like a waste of time,” says Don. “I make sure that I know what learners need. I never assume that everyone in a room is in the same place. I make sure that people leave my trainings with new, valuable knowledge.”

Katy Lumley, Savvy’s LMS Product Manager, says, “Don has brought great product knowledge to every project he’s worked on and receives consistent positive reviews. He has a great read on the classroom and is able to easily adjust to student needs on the fly. Don also brings character to his trainings and easily connects with everyone involved.”

As we look to 2020 and the many tech changes it will bring, we know that Don Shapiro will help Savvy clients embrace and leverage change for positive impact.

Savvy Training & Consulting is very proud of its trainers and we plan to write more trainer profiles throughout 2020. To nominate your Savvy trainer for a profile, contact Janalee@SavvyTraining.com.

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