Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Greatest America

The Greatest American Lawyer
Lawyers, Take Charge of your Damned Life!
      There is a great quote that I thought really did apply to the situation that lawyers often find themselves in, the situation of being stuck. Everyone knows the drill when you are a new associate, law firms pay a lot of money and encourage associates to spend even more. Debt builds and before you know it, the associate can't go anywhere because they can't replace their income and meet their debt obligations. The same thing is true on up the associate scale right on through to partners. If you carry a lot of debt, your options are limited. Even if you do have a lot of debt I would advise you to live by the following motto: "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." --William Jennings Bryan
     As I think back on my decision to jump ship and embark on my high-risk course towards becoming a successful independent practitioner, I can only think about the truth of the words above. No one is ever really truly stuck. We make choices and we could always choose to change our lives. What holds people back is not the absence of choice, it is fear. Is it no wonder that the culture of traditional law firms incites fear and insecurity amongst its work force? Of course these law firms want you to look down upon independent/solo practitioners. Of course that law firm wants you to think that the prestige of their office is what the practice of law is all about. Of course that traditional law firm will spend considerable time pumping itself up and making itself feel good about itself. This sort of law firm bunker mentality work well before the age of the Internet. But, I wonder how well it will work now that blogs have taken hold and anyone who cares to look can see that there are lawyers like me who not only survived, but thrived.
        As I sat at my desk in my traditional firm just a year ago, I had little idea that there were other lawyers out there like me. As I started to explore the Internet and find blogs such as MyShingle, TheNonBillableHour and others, I realized that I was not alone. As I read about technology on the Dennis Kennedy blog and read the inspirational words of Ernie the Attorney, I became aware that I had been trapped inside a cave where darkness ruled the day and the night and ignorance was encouraged in order to keep people in line.

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