We spend a lot of time refining and improving trial skills at seminars, in continuing legal education classes, and in mock court sessions – focusing on how we do things - skills, techniques and strategies to win cases, to write more persuasive briefs, take better depositions and learn the latest research on juries, trends in the law, etc.
So I was at a business conference last weekend with about 300 lawyers, small business owners and entrepreneurs, learning the latest techniques when one speaker from a software company really hit home with this question:
What is your why?
And I had just read an article in the D.C. lawyers magazine with the title “Is law school worth it?” The article added up the cost of school, the debt students come out with, the difficult economy making it hard to find an entry level job. Many lawyers in practice after several years say they are unhappy, stressed out, unsatisfied with their career, don’t like what they’re doing, dealing with substance abuse issues, etc.
What happened to their why?
Our why is simple.
Why did we start our own law firm? Why did we become lawyers in the first place? Why do we only do 3 types of cases? Why do we only represent people?
Our why is to help people have a better life after a bad injury. Usually not as good as it had been before the injury. Not perfect. But better.
Is this hard? Hell yeah it is. Do we succeed? Sometimes. Do we fail? We do. Do we wake up in the middle of the night worried about our clients, their recovery, their cases. All the time.
But when your Why is so strong, so compelling, so important and serves so many others, it pushes you to keep going, to learn and study how to do things better, to change, to help more people.
So it’s been 20 years since I was coming out of law school. And what do we tell these kids now coming out of law school and asking themselves “Is it worth it?”
With a Why this strong, it’s absolutely worth it.