The Entrepreneurial Spirit

When I think of the entrepreneurial spirit, I think of the hardy folks of the early 1900s, or earlier, but not the 1960s. Yet, in the Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, I learned of just such a spirit in the body of Bill Keys.

We (my wife, Bandit, our Airstream, and I) have been spending the last few days in Twenty Nine Palms, home of the largest Marine training base in the U.S., adjacent to the National Park. We joined an Airstream rally.

Among other activities, we toured the ranch owned and operated by Bill Keys and now under the control of the Forest Service. His is a remarkable story. He survived off the land, gained control of water in the area (a rare commodity in this area), filed numerous gold mine claims and leased them to others to do the back-breaking work (perhaps an early franchisor), among other ventures. He sold his land to a friend, making money on the transaction. The friend wanted to create an recreational vehicle resort; this idea had to be abandoned, however, for lack of water. He swapped the land with the U.S. Forest Service for land in the San Diego area, later to be the location of the San Diego Chargers stadium … he parlayed a small investment into quite a fortune!

With a view to the future and persistent effort (and, of course, some luck!), even lawyers can grab the entrepreneurial spirit and thrive!

As you read this on the first working day of a new decade, it is clear that our profession has been buffeted with many challenges. There is considerable discussion about whether we will ever have "business as usual" again or whether change (however great that may turn out to be) will be permanent.. However, it is clear that lawyers who listen to their clients and adapt their approach to the delivery of legal services to their clients wants will thrive. Those who ignore their clients and focus only on their own needs will ultimately fail.

Which will you be? To help you analyze what you’re doing now and what you may want to do to become more effective with your clients, more efficient in delivering your legal services and more profitable, consider engaging a coach. A skilled, independent and objective person working with you can create a shortcut for your success.

Best wishes for a great new year!


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