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When you’re not the best lawyer in town

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So you’re not the best attorney in your field. You didn’t finish first in your class. You’re not the best presenter, writer, or negotiator.

You’re just you, someone who loves being a lawyer and helping people.

And you know what? That’s enough.

You don’t have to be the best to have a very satisfying and rewarding career. In the long run, your passion for what you do will attract everything you need. You can learn what you need to know and get better at what you do.

But you must be willing to grow.

Unfortunately, many lawyers stop growing the day they receive their license. The got school “out of the way” and then switched gears to focus on building a career.

Oh they go through the motions of continuing their education but mostly because they have to, not because they want to. Soon they find themselves in a rut, a career rut where billable hours and overhead and moving up the ladder are job one. In time, many such lawyers find themselves dissatisfied with their careers, but often they don’t know why.

It’s because they’ve stopped growing.

Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Lawyers who stop learning stop adapting to the changes around them. If they’re not careful, they’ll find themselves on the endangered species list.

Learning and growth aren’t limited to the law, however. There is much more to being a lawyer. You need to learn marketing. You need to understand human psychology. You should be able to read a balance sheet. And much more.

I heard someone say (on LinkedIn, I think) that it’s no longer acceptable for an attorney to say they are “computer illiterate”. Yet many attorneys are functionally so. Yes, you can hire people to do what you don’t want to do, but in the wired world we live in today, someone who refuses to learn some basic computer skills might as well waive a white flag and call it a day.

Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop adapting to the changes around you. That’s how you will survive in this jungle.

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Comments

  1. I see many lawyers going to seminars, learning new skills just to gain the required credits. This is not the way to improve oneself, and the lawyer will soon find himself unable to relive the passion he once had. Continually improving oneself is the way to stay relevant in law.

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