Skip to content

You have more than an opportunity as a lawyer in the new year : You have an obligation to be great

December 31, 2011

In his post this morning, The chance of a lifetime, Seth Godin challenges us to make the decision to be great. Opportunities have never been greater.

Godin shared what he wrote 9 years ago that applies equally today.

Here’s a question that you should clip out and tape to your bathroom mirror. It might save you some angst 15 years from now. The question is, What did you do back when interest rates were at their lowest in 50 years, crime was close to zero, great employees were looking for good jobs, computers made product development and marketing easier than ever, and there was almost no competition for good news about great ideas?

Many people will have to answer that question by saying, “I spent my time waiting, whining, worrying, and wishing.” Because that’s what seems to be going around these days. Fortunately, though, not everyone will have to confess to having made such a bad choice…….While you’ve been wishing for the inspiration to start something great, thousands of entrepreneurs have used the prevailing sense of uncertainty to start truly remarkable companies. Lucrative Web businesses, successful tool catalogs, fast-growing PR firms — all have started on a shoestring, and all have been profitable ahead of schedule. The Web is dead, right?……The thing is, we still live in a world that’s filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity — we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.

Are these crazy times? You bet they are. But so were the days when we were doing duck-and-cover air-raid drills in school, or going through the scares of Three Mile Island and Love Canal. There will always be crazy times.

So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That’s why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.

The opportunities for lawyers have never been greater than today.

While recent grads and lawyers who have been practicing for decades bemoan the lack of legal work and opportunities, other lawyers are running laps around them by harnessing the power of the Internet.

The Internet has served as the great equalizer over the last decade. Lawyers have left established firms to chase their dreams of doing the work they want for the types of clients they want with the type of lifestyle they want. Other lawyers have carved out niche practices in larger firms, making them an asset to the firm, as opposed to a liability at the age of 45 or 50.

Never before could a lawyer start a blog to demonstrate their passion, expertise, and care. Rather than a good lawyer taking decades, if ever, to build meaningful business relationships and establish themselves as a go-to lawyer in a niche area of the law, lawyers are doing so in a couple years through blogging.

As Godin writes:

You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It’s never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment — just one second — to decide.

Why not be great?

I wish you the best in the New Year.

Posted in: