Category: Personal Thoughts

Is law school necessary?

The standard for competence is generally considered to be passing a test. If this is true and if you can pass the State Bar exam, the test in this case, why should we require 3 years of law school? Looking at the law school curriculum, can we truly say that this learning (e.g., 3 years vs 2 years) will help to better serve clients? Is it not true that the 3rd year is more fluffy or elective than essential to the practice?

The customer (client) is the market; the education system is the distribution system. Yet, schools seem to focus on classrooms and housing rather than the market being served, students and then clients. The net result is that the education is so expensive that fewer and fewer people can go to law school because it takes 5 to 10 years to pay off the student debt accumulated while going to school. And in today’s economy, with so many licensed lawyers unable to find work, these debts may stay on the books for a very long time with devastating psychological impact on the “student.”

View page

Law means a better life, not death

The following note is prompted by the comments of Susan Cartier Liebel of Solo Practice University®  and her post about Kimberly, a young mother who just gave birth to her third child and was a 3L law student at Stetson. She became ill but failed to go to a doctor to address her own health. She was busy with her family and "stuff."

This is for all of you out there whether lawyer or law student, mother or father, who puts
themselves last. You put off going to the doctor for that chronic cough while you rush your child to the pediatrician for a hang nail. You eat your cold dinner out of a jar standing up and talking on the phone while you make sure your child’s meal is hot and she’s seated lest she choke on her food. You do so because ‘you can handle it’. Well, here’s the truth.  You can’t.

You can’t care for your kids or your spouse if you break down physically. You can’t care for your clients if you don’t take time to reinvigorate and refresh.  Remember the airline admonition: Put your air mask on first and then help your child and others around you. None of us are superhuman or immortal. There is nothing more important than your health, no final, no brief, no exam, no trial, no event.  Remember this the next time you get no sleep or ignore that persistent cough or inexplicable pain in your side because ‘you don’t have time’ to slow down. Remember you can break down, too. No machine and certainly no human can work without stop and without repair from time to time.

View page

Wisdom revised

From Alan Weiss, my coach, who develops pithy sayings to sum up the human experience. In his latest one, he says  It’s not "garbage in, garbage out" these days. It’s "garbage in, garbage gets stuck and clogs everything up."

So let’s look at the world as it is and, to paraphrase another saying, work with what we can control and ignore the rest. Our lives would be much happier and more productive.

Every time I have a complaint, I see the person next to me with a greater problem or challenge. I realize how blessed I am. Have a great Monday and rest of the week..

View page

Do you need a little inspiration to keep going?

Last night, I saw the film, Life of Pi. It was a uniquely inspirational story of survival, a boy on a stranded raft in the Pacific Ocean. There are parallels in today’s legal world where sole and small firm practitioners are struggling in the waves of our economy.

Today, I received a question from a reader, asking the meaning of "specialize or die." I responded that this is a catchy phrase used by those who believe that one can succeed only if they specialize. While it is true that the specialist generally earns more money than does the generalist, there still remains an important place for the generalist … and in a changing economy, the generalist will, again, generally, be more nimble and flexible to provide services in a changing marketplace of ideas.  In both instances, however, there is a struggle to survive … and to thrive. In all cases, however, the lawyer is providing loving and caring help to those in need. Money is merely the by-product.

Today, I also received an email about a cowboy and his dog, named Skidboot, in Texas. It is an incredible story and one of great inspiration. I hope you take the time, about 8 minutes, and enjoy and marvel at the dog as much as I did. This cowboy knows how to do more than survive with the blessings bestowed on him by his dog. I suspect we can all do more to appreciate what we have.



View page

Treat Yourself Well

I am in another cycling camp this week. This is the second one in two months.
I’ve never treated myself this well before. Isn’t it time that you think of yourself as well?
I met with a client in the Southeast last week; he used to go the “Y’ regularly until recently; he became so successful that he didn’t have time to work out and take care of himself. Like my 3Dimensional Lawyer™, there are 3 parts to our lives: Mental, Physical and Spiritual. Don’t let the physical atrophy or the other parts will as well. I encouraged him to get back to his workouts. He will find that his revenue will not dip appreciably, but his enjoyment of life will be enhanced considerably.

View page