Friday, March 18, 2011

The Exciting Part of Practicing Law

I communicate weekly with an "accountability partner."  We use a written and mental checklist just to account for how we're reaching goals or dealing with "issues;"  Last week, out of one of these conversations concerning my practice, I connected two dots:  I love to write, and I love to write creatively.  I love looking for the unusual angle, the interesting story line, the unexpected event that results in a breakthrough.

I am learning to create that "feeling" in my writing, but am I creating that spirit of adventure in the practice of law?  You may of course ask that question in your own line of work.  What is the unique contribution I make to the "cookie cutter" work that I must do each day?

If it were easy, it wouldn't be as satisfying to succeed in the challenge.  Of course it is not easy to bring a spirit of creativity and possibility to the many mundane and often repetitious tasks of the day.  Those "basic" tasks never go away.  We all have unpleasant parts of our daily work.

But we can add "flavor" to those days of routine work by applying some aspect of our unique talents to the day. We can build a block of time to cultivate a spirit of "unique contribution."  It might be our ability to strategize a new marketing campaign, or it might be the way we communicate to our customers as we serve them at the counter.  Maybe it is our sense of humor, or ability to build a "team" or just the way we use our tone of voice and facial expressions to make a different impact during a group discussion.  Whatever it might be, we leave an "imprint" of ourselves for good or ill.

I look at the world in all its complexity and constant change as an unfolding "story."  I love to tell stories:  to bring out the emotions of people as they respond to the story.  The practice of employment law is a wonderful opportunity to build the "story of the case."  There are many mundane aspects of litigation, such as answering tedious, endless, and often useless discovery questions, but there is also the opportunity to place those mundane activities within the large context of an exciting, unfolding story that I get to "write" as I present it to various persons:  mediator, judge, arbitrator, jury, and even opposing counsel.

The exciting part of practicing law, or serving coffee, or cutting hair, or deciding a vision for the corporation, or offering ski lessons, or selling medical equipment, or just living, is YOU.

"If the pink slip doesn't fit, get redressed!"
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