Law management lessons learned – Airstream Maiden Voyage

Law management lessons learned:
•    Disruptions can be a major disruption or a minor event, depending on whether someone needs to be “right”
•    Resentment about being right without recognition from others does not produce productive results
•    Success results when all parties are flexible enough to work toward a successful resolution and then move on

Life lessons to be learned:
•    Communication is essential but can create uncertainty if not done right
•    Active listening … and clarification always help ensure that all parties mean
the same thing
•    Never argue with your spouse – She’s always right, even when not Plans were made. After a lunch appointment, I would get my wife and we would pick up our moving hotel for our first true voyage, a week-end jaunt to the beaches of Southern California. This was a local jaunt, not too far and yet far enough as a “shake down” cruise.

The day started well enough. I had gotten a good night’s rest; I was awakened by my tech person who asked how early he could come over to finish some details in reconfiguring my computer system that had crashed the week before, just before my trip to New York’s LegalTech Show. The congruence of my system’s crash the night before my trip to New York was almost more irony than I could bear.  But, that was now behind us and we were operational again, with a stronger backup system in place than before.

I should have known something would go awry when, an hour later, my tech person called to say he would be delayed a bit. But, no matter, I went on with the day. I went to my lunch. All was good.

On my return to start our new adventure, I saw my wife “tied in knots.” She was upset that I returned so late. After all, we needed to start … and starting at 2 p.m. would put us in the heart of rush hour traffic. Bottom line, she was visibly and almost uncontrollably upset. What is worse, I couldn’t understand why she had allowed herself to go down this path when I had said from the time we made these plans that I would return after lunch to begin our adventure. And, we had no deadlines. There was no one waiting for us or who would suffer from our time frame. After all, it wasn’t as though I had to be in court at 9:00 a.m. or the judge would hold me in contempt or the administrative judge would deny my client’s immigration application or, worse, throw my client in jail.  Oh well, when one spouse or the other is upset, the reason almost never matters.

We started .. in silence.  We picked up the trailer and began our journey. Those of you who have been following this saga from the beginning,  will not be surprised by the next occurrence.
We heard on the radio about … and became enmeshed in the middle of … a major Southern California traffic tie-up, the likes of which has not occurred in many moons.  A construction crane fell onto a major freeway intersection (the junction of the 405 and 101 freeways), cutting off all north bound (and most south bound) traffic. Since it was Friday afternoon, just before the week-end getaway, everyone was either in the midst of this now major parking lot or seeking alternative ways around the area, thus clogging up the other arteries more than normal.  We suddenly came to a halt and only inched our way forward, foot by painful foot.

We arrived before dark (our glass was half-full, despite my wife’s dire predictions that we would arrive after dark – glass is half- empty) and checked into the RV park with all the behemoth Class A vehicles and even a couple of new Airstreams already there.

I was able to park; I actually backed into our spot with little difficulty, a matter of personal pride. We hooked up the electricity, turned on the gas inside our trailer and were about to settle in … ah, we forgot to hook up the water.  But, we didn’t know how to do that …. Tomorrow will come and we’ll ask someone what little secret we were missing.

I suggested that on our first evening, since we got to the park later than expected, we go out to eat. We did and had a great dinner in a local bistro …

We finally settled in for the evening; there was a full moon on the beach … and it was glorious. I had a great night’s sleep and awoke with the new dawn.  The early morning sun didn’t enter the trailer until we were ready; our curtains kept us “snug as a bug in a rug.”  The sun on the water made for a glorious view from the back of our SteSpot – a great site.

Given how well things turned out, the tension, disagreement and inconvenience of the day before were forgotten.  How many relationships in the practice of law – between lawyer and client, and among law firm partners – follow a similar path?  One party is disturbed because events did not go as planned:  the closing or deposition had to be rescheduled, for example.  Such disruptions can be a minor event, provided neither party holds on to resentment about who is right or wrong, and provided both parties are flexible enough to work toward a successful resolution.

As I write this, my wife is arranging the nest as she wants it … and, now that I’m finished writing here, I think it’s time for me to go for a bike ride. Thanks for listening/reading, and ciao for now.


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