I’ve been following the career of singer, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur extraordinaire Pharrell Williams for a while. Sometimes I’ll take a break from my work, find a video of people around the world dancing to his hit “Happy” and feel instantly energized (if not verklempt). And then I go back to my desk, review some of the latest online legal media and wonder where all the misery is coming from.
Are there any happy lawyers or legal professionals to be found online? Maybe social media isn’t the place for expressing career satisfaction. Maybe blogs are a place for giving advice, making observations or shaking our heads at others for making themselves vulnerable enough to share their perspective online for all the world to see.
I wouldn’t mind seeing some positive coverage of lawyers, if only for something different.
And so, inspired by Pharrell (and his hat), here are some of the reasons why I’m happy to work with lawyers:
- Good stories! Lawyers – especially litigators – can tell stories like no one else.
- Laughter. It’s true that some lawyers take themselves very seriously. But from my experience, most don’t. I have had many fits of laughter right along with the lawyers I’ve worked with. The practice of law isn’t entirely about quiet halls and conservative behaviour, even though the subject matter is serious.
- Empathy. The ability to see situation from a variety of perspectives is what makes conversations with my clients so interesting.
- Generosity of spirit. I wouldn’t have a career were it not for the generosity of lawyers who were willing to share advice, take a chance on hiring me or say a kind word of support.
- Most lawyers will actually admit their faults. They may not be willing to do anything about them, but they’re not oblivious to them.
- Interesting challenges. I get to work with smart people. I’ve learned a lot from them.
- Commitment to a robust legal system. With all the cynicism about the practice of law, it’s easy to forget the purpose of law. My parents grew up in South Africa; I can appreciate a good legal system because I’ve seen what can happen without one.
I understand that working with lawyers isn’t always easy. But I have to admit that I’m biased about being happy to work with them. I’ve been around lawyers my entire life – my better-half, his family, my family….I can’t escape them! Nor would I want to.
“Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…..”.
PS: I realize this post is “off the beaten path”. Thanks for allowing me the diversion.