In this webinar, Harrison delves into the crucial but often overlooked aspects of a successful legal career. He explores 21 pieces of career advice rarely discussed but can make or break an attorney's journey.
Harrison begins by emphasizing the significance of attitude in the legal profession. He highlights how a positive outlook, resilience, and the ability to navigate challenges can be as essential as the quality of one's work. Negative attitudes, he warns, can be career killers, affecting not only an individual but also their entire firm.
He discusses the impact of associations and the company one keeps. Your professional network can influence your trajectory, and spending time with negative individuals can harm your career. Harrison underscores the importance of aligning yourself with positive, motivated colleagues who uplift and inspire.
Furthermore, Harrison sheds light on the fallacy of believing that merely doing assigned work is sufficient for success. He advises attorneys to consistently go above and beyond, offering more value than expected. By doing so, they can stand out in a competitive field and accelerate their careers.
In conclusion, this webinar is a rare opportunity to gain insight into the hidden dynamics of a legal career. Harrison's advice is about surviving and thriving in the legal world. Embracing these 21 pieces of advice could be the pivotal factor in achieving a fulfilling and prosperous career in law. Take advantage of this invaluable knowledge that can reshape your professional journey.
Okay. Let's get started. This is one of my favorite topics. And I think it's something that can, if you understand what I'm going to talk about today and follow up, maybe even take notes. This is probably one of the most essential webinars you have ever heard.
And the reason is that this is where most people live. In my experience, they blow their careers. They blow it early on with these mistakes. They blow it later on with these mistakes. It prevents them from getting ahead. It prevents them from getting clients. It makes them jump around between firms.
And it's, in many cases, more about how you confront yourself and your weaknesses and things holding you back than, often, things that you may not quite understand in your career and the mistakes you're making. And this, honestly, I just had an episode where I saw someone that had no way, that did all these great clerkships, meaning they that I think they work for, circuit court judges and went to a top two law school and then got out of the law firm world and was confronted with.
All these rules and just understood kind of the academic aspects of being an attorney, which most people think would say it's just doing the work and trying to do a good job and assignments and not these other things I'm going to talk about today. This to me is a critical topic.
And in each of these pieces of advice, I think if you follow 15 of them and not 21 of them, you may have many problems in your career. Some of this may be obvious, but I don't think most of it is. Most people need to prepare for these rules and how they operate.
And, regardless of your background, whether you think you're an excellent attorney or you are a law student or whatever, if you don't understand these rules very well or you miss out on some of them, then you're going to have a lot of issues in your career Typically and it, most people that have these issues never fix them.
So that's the big problem. However, being aware of these issues and things you may be doing may, ultimately, make a massive difference for you and change the direction of your career. So I'll do this webinar and then after. I do this presentation; we'll take a quick break for a few minutes and then come back and ask questions.
So, this is a live webinar. So, typically, I stay until all the questions are answered, and I'll do the same thing today. I may have to stop at some point, but I'll try to answer as many questions as anybody has. And the questions can be about something other than this webinar. That can be anything related to your career questions preventing you from that, the things you may want to know about your career, and what you can do to fix them.
So, the first rule is that your attitude is just as important as the quality of your work. And in every law firm, pretty much that there are people that have very positive reactions to negative things happening in the firm. And they learn from them, and they fix them, or they fix their reaction to them, and they don't get embroiled in drama and that sort of stuff.
Drama, by the way, there are lots of addictions out there. Some people are addicted to substances. Some people are addicted to exercise. Some people are addicted to religion. You can be addicted to all sorts of things, but being addicted to drama and being critical will hurt you.
In a law firm environment, it will end the careers in different law firms of partners. It ends with associates. It ends with summer associates. And if you have a negative impression of your firm or think there's negative things about it.
And you are upset about that. Making issues with people regarding your outlook and the faces you make when dealing with superiors and stuff. That. That can create issues. It can also create issues when you have this kind of victim mentality where if you get assigned specific tasks, you're mad and have a terrible attitude, which can also create issues.
Healthy legal employers don't like people like that. In a lot of firms, I was sending out a; I sent out a kind of ebook to law firms last week. One of the things that I was interested in that I noted in a cover letter was that a lot of the best firms, which are things like Kravath and Wachtell, they have They don't even allow people into their firms unless there are some associates where they can evaluate them because they don't want negative people with negative attitudes or even poor work product coming into their firms if they don't and as attorneys, because it just undermines everyone around them.
Most healthy legal employers will not advance people with a negative attitude. It looks like you have a negative attitude, and you're not saying anything. Many times, if you think that you're going to show it. And law firms will get rid of you if they think you have a bad attitude.
It's just how it works, and they will figure it out. They will see it in the quality of your assignments and The things you put into them; they will see it in the people you spend time with. And in the most healthy, legal lawyers are going to push you out. It's interesting that many firms that have collapsed and had all sorts of problems are firms that allowed people to join from other firms with bad attitudes at the partnership level. So, this is how most healthy legal employers function. Trying to maintain that is the name of the game for how a law firm can do an adequate job with its clients and create a pleasing workplace.
There are a lot of firms out there that are very good at creating a good environment. It doesn't have to be a Large firm. It can be small firms. It can be local firms. It can be mid-level firms, but the idea is that if you get people with bad energy who are bringing the group down, it can hurt the entire group. If you have a terrible attitude, firms will generally not want you around if they can handle it. How does it work when you have a bad attitude?
I've seen people who are from major firms with bad attitudes, and they didn't think that anybody knew about it. And these are firms where they might have been a summer associate. I've been there for a year or two, and someone will just walk into their office one day and say hey, we think you need to be a better fit for this culture.
This is it. You got to leave. And this is what happens that, am law 100 law firms. And so law firms do not like people around them doing that. And it could be better. There are a lot of big firms in Silicon Valley and small and mid-sized firms that do a lot of corporate transactional work.
What happens when markets and corporate transactions slow down? It's happening right now. There's less money going into private equity investments. There are fewer, if any, IPOs happening. A lot of companies are closing that have been funded. And so all and a lot of these companies are in Silicon Valley.
So when this happens, sometimes they have these summer associate classes that can be 50 plus people or even new hires, even 100 people in some cases. Only a few. And those firms let people go. And they'll have corporate attorneys sitting around with no work, complaining, and just being negative about the firm.
Now, obviously, in this day and age, people might just be staying at home. But assuming everyone was in the office, that negativity would have effectively brought down the whole firm because if you have a hundred people. Saving around with nothing to do, they're complaining and all that stuff.
So it could be better for the overall morale of people doing things well, like litigation, IP litigation, patent prosecution, or whatever real estate. But this particular law firm did something exciting. It took all these corporate attorneys without any work and moved them into a separate building. Part of the same office but far away. And they just moved them into their separate building because they were dragging down the morale of the entire firm, and they didn't want these people around their other attorneys. It was a brilliant thing to do; by the way, I'm not saying it's a nice thing.
But it was brilliant for that firm to do that because they could contain the problem. And. And then, eventually, a lot of those adverse attorneys were just let go from the firm to save money because they didn't have the work. And that's what happened.
If you have a negative attitude, law firms will not like you; they will isolate you. They will believe that you're bringing down the morale of everybody, and they will do whatever they can to fix that. And so that's just how that works. Now, the other thing is that law firms, as if.
If you spend time with negative people that everyone knows are negative, the firm will assume you're infected and have a negative attitude, too. And that's just how it works. If you're seen hanging out with a bunch of stoners and when you're in high school, they'll assume you're a stoner.
If they're seen hanging around with Really, athletes will see her. People just read and make conclusions about people based on the people they spend time with. Law firms often have different opinions about you based on the people you spend time with, and that can either help you or hurt you.
So when I was in high school, for example, I had one of my best friends. This was in my junior year. He was suspended for an entire semester. He had upset a teacher in the school by doing something foolish, which I'm not even going to talk about, but something foolish. Then, this teacher who had been very upset was also my math teacher.
And I was under every impression that he didn't like me. And he approached me and said he wanted to write my college recommendations. And I thought that was pretty weird because I needed to do better in his class. I'm going to assume I've been the best student, but he wanted to write my college recommendations and told me he did that.
I agreed, thinking he must have good intentions, and he did the exact opposite. He had been very offended by my friend and turned around and wrote just terrible recommendations. And he didn't do the same thing to one of my friends with this guy. It was hilarious.
So the recommendations were so bad that compared to the others, some schools that applied were called up. I talked to the school, and this is not something off with this teacher. And I have no idea why he wrote these remarks, and is this true? It was funny.
I was called into a meeting where the teacher apologized and said he'd been angry with my friend and assumed I was also a troublemaker. And I don't know, it was very, like with the Dean and everything. So, my school ended up fixing the situation.
They had other teachers write recommendations. They said they didn't know what was wrong with this guy and covered it up and covered my back. And it was exciting what happened. You will only sometimes get this luck in your career, though if you spend time with negative people, your firm will also assume that you're negative. If the wrong person in your firm lumps you in with someone they also dislike, they'll come for you. I hate to say that, but if someone influential in the firm does not like you and you're lumped in with someone negative that they don't like, then they'll come for you.
And I'm not being paranoid. But it's just how it works. Partners know the people who are gossiping and creating problems. They assume that if you're associating with those people, you will buy into their view of the world and that you will also be harmful, which isn't good.
And in contrast, if you surround yourself with very positive people, it's going to have huge benefits. You'll generally be happier because they will have a much happier outlook on the world. They're going to process information differently.
You're probably going to do better in your job. You're going to show up and be enthusiastic, and you're going to enjoy yourself more when you're around positive people. I'm not saying that you have to seek out people who are all sunshine and so forth, but I am saying that you need to avoid, if you do anything, people who are negative and will be leaving and are unhappy or may lose their jobs.
And this is just what firms do to those people. They need to because they're trying to maintain an atmosphere where people are enthusiastic about their work and bringing people up instead of them down. So you need to. You need to be around people who will bring people up and not bring them down.
And if you want to be in a position where you're bringing people down, then you're just going to be in a bad situation for most of your career because you're never going to be the person you want to be. And just one final interesting point. People who need to attack others and bring them down are doing so because they feel insecure.
To feel more secure to feel superior, they need to do that to help maintain their egos. And it's just not a good thing. And you should not be associated with that sort of thought and the victim mentality. And so, you need to be very careful about surrounding yourself with positive people and being on the side of those who will get ahead and do well.
As opposed to the people that you know will not. So, if you care about your career, it may help your ego to put people down. And that may be how you can get ahead in your mind. But honestly, it would often be the worst thing you can do. Often, people go into law firms, and they have these expectations that they should make a certain amount of money based on their class year or what people are getting paid at other firms.
And so they believe that, and they believe it's all about work. And that's the most important thing. And doing the work that's assigned and not necessarily unassigned work. You are not going to get ahead necessarily. If you come to work every day and just do your job, you won't find yourself advancing and getting to the level you want to be.
It would be best if you were consistent, but you always want to do more than is asked of you. You want to put yourself in a situation where if you know a partner will want a specific type of answer, which you should be learning when you're an attorney, then you can give them that answer and more of what they asked for.
When I was in, and this is just a secret, but I'll just tell you, when I was in college where I went to college, the average grade point didn't matter, but it wasn't easy to get A's. You would, the class there might be one or two. It was just ridiculous, but I thought it was straightforward. And it wasn't because I had any unique ability to be clever or have incredible insights into information that others certainly needed to have. That's pretty far from the truth because I'm sure there were many more intelligent people, but what I figured out.
You get good grades in class when you understand the position from which the professor or assistant professor is coming. So you understand what that person believes. And then, when you understand what that person believes, you just give them more of the same. You tell them how right they are, make all these arguments in your papers that get them to buy into it, and tell them how and how much you think they're right. And then they give your paperback, like, wow, that was awesome. If you disagree with them, they give you your paperback and note all their disagreements with your logic and everything.
When you're doing what's asked of you or more than is asked of you, you're giving people additional reasons to support whatever argument they're trying to get, making them feel good and coming out on the side of issues the way they want you to. And this also involves doing extra work.
That's one aspect. You don't want to point out things that will make your client lose their case or anything along those lines, but you want to do whatever you possibly can to support whatever they want. The recruiting firm and recruiters at the company traditionally have written articles every few months, and part of these articles is to get different perspectives from recruiters to share what they know.
So the attorneys can find jobs just like I'm doing this; I'm trying to help you find jobs and help you try to do well in your next job or your current job. But I've always noticed something with recruiters, and it's the idea that the people who put the most effort and time into writing these articles often experience the most success, meaning they make the most placements if they are passionate about it.
Writing an article that they won't get paid for says something about them. And they often write articles even when not asked by the best recruiters. I think that the people that do best at anything are the ones that put forth the most effort.
And are willing to take the most initiative to put all that effort into every aspect of the work. And this extra effort makes them stand out and be more effective. They're more invested in their jobs. They care more. They look better than their peers because they're putting in extra effort that others don't.
And because of that, you will be more sought out for work in a law firm. The best people seek you out because you will produce the best results. If you do that with clients, it's the same thing. The clients will respect you for doing a good job, pointing out extra things, and not just doing a simple job.
The idea is in every law firm, There's always going to be additional work that can be done for the client if they, for once, can write off your time, but doing extra work will make a big difference in your career. Now, I will tell you a secret about lawyers and something essential to understand if you work in a law firm, and it's that.
This works if you have a client for whom you're working for your objective. I'm not judging this. I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying that's wrong. But the best attorneys are always the ones who are finding additional work and additional things to do.
They will continue doing that. As long as you are willing to pay them many times, they will find extra things they can do in transactions, extra ways they can protect you in new transactions, extra types of transactions, extra types of changes to your corporate minutes and your contracts. And they'll just keep going.
They will never stop. So, this is what reasonable attorneys do. And this is why they have huge books of business: they can find work to do. It's the most fundamental aspect of being an attorney. And it's the most fundamental aspect of running a business off of working for some; you have to find work to be done.
And this is incredibly important. You can't just take the work you're given. You take the work you've done and do a lot more if you can. And then you also suggest and find extra types of work. And this is something that your superiors. Will love because they want extra work for their clients if they can't pay their clients willing to pay.
And the other thing is, in addition to the extra work, just going the extra mile with your assignment. It shows that you care and you're willing to look, you're willing to look very far. And not stop and do this extra work. So what does that mean? How does extra work? I'll just tell you an example.
I was working for this attorney who had never lost a case but had just basically ground the other side into the ground, whatever he did, and he had this way of thinking where he'd tell you to keep looking for things, keep looking. And I had this one case where I was with a pre-certified class action where there were hundreds of firms from all over the country working on the same legal issue.
And. I did because he just kept telling me to do extra work, so I went in and looked at the legislative record when this law was passed, things that they debated and when the law was passed, the reasons for it, and all that sort of stuff where most people would just look at the law or the case law, but going in and looking.
So that type of extra work is something that helps. Our client won the case and got rid of many of these cases. So extra work shows a lot, and it can win cases. And this is how this guy was almost ever able to win. No one could look at things that much or do that extra work.
So, it makes a difference. Another rule to understand is that when people leave your law firm, and they're an essential network, essentially, what that means is the people don't stay in touch with them. Sometimes, if someone leaves your law firm, attorneys will even shun them, meaning they don't want to have anything to do with them anymore.
But the idea is that the people in your law firm are a critical network. They can be a network for you to find other jobs. They can be a network for you to find in-house jobs. They can be a network because they know others who have looked and talked to different employers.
They may even be able to give you business in the future. So these are hugely important people, the people who are leaving your law firm even if they're leaving for the wrong reasons; they must see you as someone who is a good person and helpful and willing to provide advice, willing to connect with them. And it's essential to do that.
There's a story I've told before about Bill Clinton. And he used to keep a note, like note cards, of everyone he ever met. And he would write them things down. He would write down their names. He would write down what he knew about their families and the things they'd done.
And he would always review those on an ongoing basis to see if people he knew and when he stayed in touch with them. So he can meet someone 20 years later who only met him briefly. And he would ask them about, you know, how different personal things were going when the person couldn't even believe that he remembered them.
It is essential to remind people to stay in touch with them. Some people will call on an ongoing basis. Still, you can use LinkedIn, and you can use other methods, but staying in touch with people who've left is something that honestly can provide you incredible opportunities throughout your career because of each of those people.
It is a potential source of business or a potential source of jobs. They're an essential source of insight into your market and what you do in your profession. So there are people you should do whatever you can to stay in contact with. The next one, I think, is significant.
It's always been something that. A lot of people have, and that's an entitlement. And it's widespread. It's common among both associates and partners and law students. Entitlement believes that because of your accomplishments or anything you've done, the firm should be happy to have you. You'll always have a job, and you should always get raises.
More extensive office promotions and these things are your natural right. And you're, you expect that out of your employer. And this attitude is hazardous. It could be what you do if you engender resentment. Towards yourself when you have those ideas, and then you make the law firm more interested in bringing people in who don't feel entitled and appreciate them.
This is a hazardous thing. Some law firms have a whole culture where everyone's acting entitled. Others will not have that. But the better way to approach this particular problem is to make sure that if you're not acting entitled, you're instead making sure that you're making the people around you feel appreciated and appreciated.
They're more likely to feel good about giving you whatever you seek, whether it's a more competitive salary or more bonuses because making them feel good is very important. So I was talking to a partner not too long ago at a major firm, one of the top 10, probably most prestigious firms in the country, and this was a very high-ranking partner at that firm.
And I was talking to him in December, and it wasn't about him moving. It was about finding people to help him and other partners, and he was just in this horrible mood. And I was like, What's wrong? All of these associates are very upset because they feel they deserve much higher bonuses and didn't receive them.
And so they're mad at me. They're, and he felt horrible. And when you have that attitude towards your benefactors, it doesn't do you good. It just engenders resentment and then not. Liking you and then feeling bad about themselves.
And so people that make other people feel bad about themselves are just to be avoided. And then, even if they were to cave and give you a higher bonus, they will still feel wrong about you in the future. It would be best to avoid that partner doing that all the time as partners will negotiate for higher bonuses and distributions and things.
And that also builds resentment, prevents it, puts them in a situation where the law firm will try to get more power, and basically, and then once the law firm has more power, we'll not, they won't be in a good position. So partners. Do not like associates who are entitled.
It is just the wrong use of your time. It would be best if you concentrated on getting people to like you. It would help if you concentrated on being grateful for what you have. It would help if you concentrated on all those things because the more you do that, the more people want to give you and the more work they want to give you or the more opportunities they want to give you or the more money they want to give you because you're going to make them feel good while other people are acting entitled.
And this is what Associates do and in law firms all the time. They act like. This is like a unionized position; they're entitled to these different things. And if they don't get them, they're going to walk, and it's just, it's not intelligent. You can hurt your career.
And a lot of people do. When I say a lot, a significant percentage of associates do that. And even partners, when partners are leaving firms and things, they're often and sometimes an excellent reason, and I'm not criticizing it, but they're often people making themselves act entitled.
So, if you put in the time and appreciate what you have, you will only sometimes have the right thing. People give people more prominent offices, and they give them raises, they give them titles, when those people when you're making other people feel good about themselves, and when you're acting, you're entitled to something. I remember this one firm that I was at years ago before they would make someone a partner, they would, this is.
I'm not going to tell you the name of the firm, but they would pay them less. Then, I was a fifth-year associate for a couple of years.
And you said, why would they do that? And the firm justified it by saying, you're buying into a partnership with this. And if you do this, then there's going to be people who are going to feel a lot better. This was the idea, but it was pretty cool.
It worked because people who stuck around were obviously not entitled. The law firm had ways of getting rid of the people who thought they would be entitled to competitive salaries. I'm not saying that was the right thing, but instead, if you're focused on your employer's and your client's needs, you'll always do better.
People go and meditate for decades. They get therapy. They do all sorts of things because they're just too focused on themselves and believe that they're the world owes them something. And in reality, if you're an attorney, your job is to serve others, not just your ego.
And the more effectively you serve your clients and your fellow attorneys, the better off you will be. It's interesting that many of the best attorneys out there will spend years just giving to potential clients, giving advice for free, helping them develop business, helping them with connections, and all that sort of thing.
And the better they do that, the more business they ultimately get and rise beyond people fighting for a piece of the pie instead of creating something. This is something that I hope you can develop in this lack of entitlement. Because if you do. It will change how people see you in your career, and you'll do much better.
Another one is acting stressed at work. People, it can be very stressful being a lawyer. You can have too many assignments. You do not have time for your personal life. You can be stressed by judges, clients, and other attorneys. It's not making you feel good about doing all this work. And if you are like that, it's the opposite. Helping you is going to be hurting you.
And instead of you thinking about how you work, your superiors will think you've reached the limit of how much responsibility you can handle. And everybody rises to their level of competence and what they can tolerate.
And once that hits, then they stop. And so you want to avoid putting yourself in a position. You necessarily reach the limit of how much responsibility you can handle because you're just showing so much stress and problems with how much work you're getting people with this. They sometimes, just to cope, will feign illness or pretend they think they have some illness you will have, and all sorts of things will happen.
So it would be best to learn how to manage your stress at work. And sometimes, there's nothing wrong with leaving a firm because of that. I talk to people all the time. It's some of these very stressful firms, and they just say this is not how humans should be living.
If you can't deal with it, then you need to move to someplace where you're not going to feel that way. And there is no reason that you should put yourself in that position on an ongoing basis. I don't see the point of it. It will prematurely age you. It will cause cancer and disease and all sorts of things. And you don't need it. When I was working in large law firms, I remember I would go in to work. I went to work once on Thursday morning and didn't get out until Sunday morning. And that, that's pretty unbelievable.
But, somehow, I was able to keep going. And that wasn't easy. This is not normal. But other attorneys indeed work like that. And if you are in that position, you must keep yours.
Cool. People will see you're working that hard, and if you complain about it, they will avoid giving you essential assignments. I remember my first legal job. I was next to this girl Who went to Yale Law School. She is brilliant, and we shared a secretary, and she was turning in her time sheets.
It used to be that you would turn them in manually and a couple of days a week. I would see them because they would be on our secretary's desk and they would say 24, meaning she'd work to complete 24 hours. But I don't think she ever complained. She was cool about it, and I did it. If you're going to work those hours, you don't want to complain, and you just do it.
And then you figure out if you need to be somewhere else or can handle it. And if it was me, frankly, I don't know I could handle it. But you have to understand that this is what you need to do to get ahead in some places, survive, and even stay employed.
So it's not any type of stress you experience, whether it's stress with your employer, whether it's stress at home, whether it's whatever your stress is, it's important not to show it because it's going to get in the way of you doing your job. People want to avoid listening to people.
They are creating problems that can't handle that sort of thing. They just, unfortunately, that's how it works. And if this happens to you and you're too stressed, there's nothing wrong with going into a less stressful job. And you can find a less stressful law firm. It doesn't have to be going in-house or working for the government or something.
But it would help if you pushed through. And then make decisions based on where you can put your health and stuff first. And then this is just these are some other kind of rules. You should always do your best to accept invitations to spend time with people outside of work. If you can, you don't want to let your co-workers into your personal life, meaning it's okay to tell them you have a girlfriend or boyfriend and you have a spouse or you like to play these sorts of games.
Your parents did this for that. You can certainly talk about stuff like that, but it's important not to talk about negative aspects of your personal life. And you should do your best to accept invitations. Spend time outside of work with associates and partners.
It would help if you were liked by the people you work with. There's no such thing as I'm only going to be professional. I'm only going to go to work. Suppose you can break down those barriers and feel. And people can feel closer and connected to you, and that's great. Now, I don't think that means you have to go out, and this is true, and in some firms, you don't have to go out and do cocaine and get drunk.
And that is different from what you should do. If that's what is going on, you need to be pleasant and try not to be caught up in that. But you need to feel connected with people, and if your fellow lawyers see that you like them and are willing to loosen up a little, they will be more likely to help you.
And I like you as a person, as opposed to not giving you the best assignments. So, people typically will work with people that they like. They will advance people that they like. And so you need to be really. Do your best to be likable but in a way that doesn't bring negative personal characteristics into your relationship with others. Favoritism operates in most law firms, but it's not just the law firms that operate in every professional environment.
And many times when you see people that are very successful in companies and law firms, it's the people that were able to form relationships that were beyond just formal because formal relationships, if everything's formal, then that's what you get, but favors and things are typically done by people when they when there's some sort of affinity beneath the surface that it certainly doesn't mean anywhere close to having romantic relationships with superiors or anything along those lines.
All it means is that you can be liked, and people can see the good in you instead of seeing you in a different way than just in a formal way. That makes a big difference. And it's something that Will help you. It's also a way to get information you usually wouldn't get.
If you're just being formal, because people have different personas that they present from a formal aspect and then from an informal aspect, this is just another one. I've been saying this for over 20 years, but because people are always on their cell phones, but the cell phones come out during meetings, people are looking at their cell phones and not paying attention.
They'll often come up when a bunch of attorneys are sitting, talking, talking to a partner about a particular matter. They're just there. They walk down the halls with their cell phones and look at them. Some people are in different meetings that are different from the cafeteria or whatever with their cell phones out.
And when you have yourself on all the time, the problem is you're unable, you're just basically unable and unavailable to connect with people. And because you're unavailable to connect with people, those people cannot talk to you about matters. They need to feel the ability to talk to you about different things.
They feel that your cell phone is more important than their presence. And it could be better. I went around my house. My kids are always playing with their cell phones. It's certainly not something I like because they're turned up. They're tuned out. Now it's iPads. And the more you play with your cell phone, the more it will hurt you.
Years ago, I knew a guy who owned a telephone answering service. And what I was thinking was interesting. This was before People used to have telephone answering services because they wanted to ensure that if the receptionist took other calls, the calls would always be answered.
I certainly had them because law firms call you to talk to someone immediately or can't. And I was talking to this particular guy that I'm on the service, and I expected him to tell me that the service gets busier when the economy is good, as opposed to. Told me the service got visitors and the economy was good instead of when it was terrible.
When I was talking to him, I thought it was the 2001 or late 2000 recession, and I asked him how his business was doing. He told me his business increases during recessions because the bosses will see the receptionist playing with their cell phones all day.
And instead of doing other tasks that could be done. And then they realized that it was the first place they could save money by letting go of there, by letting go of receptionists that were just preoccupied with their phones. And it's essential just to understand you need to be there to work.
And when you're there to work. People need to see you working as opposed to playing with your phone. And if you're focused and on top of your jobs, you'll always be the first person and the last person to be let go. But if you're always playing with your cell phone, it's just sending the message that something else is a little bit more important to you.
When you're around people at work, it's essential to not only look at your cell phone, not look at your cell phone, but to be there and connecting with them, meaning you're making eye contact, you're listening, and you're not present somewhere else. And this is something that the best people do.
In any profession, if you talk to a client, bring out your cell phone, and start playing with it, the client will feel cheated. It's going to feel like you're wasting their time and money and not listening to them. And it's the same thing with talking to people who want to be your colleagues and your superior.
So this is a big one. And I, and if you are someone that does this, it's not good. And it would help if you fixed it. And I hope you do because I've certainly been in situations where I've had employees do that. And I wouldn't say I like working with them. I've been in positions where I've been getting an exam in a doctor's office, and they pull out their phone and start playing with it.
So these are these sorts of things. You need to be very careful because it's just not something. It's something that will make you unique. And if you don't, if you don't do that, then this is a big one as well. Law firms of all sizes. Will often monitor your computer and your phones.
I hate to say it. I'm not judging law firms. I'm not saying they're wrong places because it's the same thing that happens in companies. Some people do it with their spouses in their house. It's just, this is just something that many people do. But if your law firm monitors your computers and phones, you must be. You need to assume it's happening, but this is just something that law firms do.
Do big law firms often do it because you're dealing with companies getting ready to do certain transactions that will change stock prices up or down? They do it because they want to see if you're on their team and you're not talking negatively about them to other people.
They do it to see if you're doing personal things at work. They just do it for all sorts of reasons. And then they get reports. I remember once I went into this at a law firm that's no longer in existence, this partner's office. He was the managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Dewey Ballantyne, and he had a massive stack of documents on his desk and a couple of giant shredders.
I went into his office when he wasn't there to drop something off, and these were all just emails that people had been sending back and forth, and he was reviewing everyone's emails. So this stuff happens. This is just how it works. I've seen lots of attorneys fired for things they've said on the phone or emailed some for their work computer.
I saw one, multiple attorneys, but, like, sometimes people will post things like above the law. Or glass doors, or sometimes people are completely oblivious that the firm may be running a screen recording software on their computers, and they get fired.
They, you could be a 10th-year associate of a partner, and you could post something negative about your firm. Get busted. So this is serious. You have to assume, and I'm sorry, but you have to assume that this is happening. And even though I know it doesn't happen. Probably the majority of firms, some do.
And even something as simple as your phone conversation. I'm not saying this is illegal or legal. I don't know. But I know I. T. People inside law firms amuse themselves by learning everyone's secrets and by reading emails. I knew a guy that very well, and I'm not going to tell you how I knew him, but he was someone that.
I had regular contact with them because, anyway, I would go to places, and he was always there because he knew people I knew, and he was a person who worked inside a law firm. And he would monitor. People screens and had a lot of fun printing up what he saw with people on dating sites on fetish-type weird sites, and then he would talk about them to other people.
This is serious stuff. You just need to be very careful. The sites you look at, you need to be careful about the emails you send. And I'm sorry and, in this particular IT person, I was at a dinner with him and several other people. And he got some information about a boss of his that had been sending some very disturbing messages.
Things and there, as well as having an affair, and he wanted to think if he could blackmail the person. This is very serious. Years ago, this was a short time ago. I was working with a group of partners. That was going to switch firms.
And it would have been a massive placement because it was like an entire practice board of these partners. And they were all ready to go. The other firm they were going to had already got their offices and all sorts of things in the new law. And they were going in a few days. And then the firm they were at learned because they were moving. Because they had installed screen recording software in the computers, meaning they were logging in to their email accounts on their computers and sending each other emails about this, the law firms were able to monitor their communications, and what happened was the law firm put a stop to them leaving.
And I don't know how they did it, but they did. And so the people stayed in a position they didn't like for whatever reason. If you want to communicate with people, I would use something other than your work computer. I would be cautious. About talking about saying things on anything but your cell phone, just be very careful because people do lose jobs for this stuff.
And it happens all the time. The other important thing is to help other people if there's no direct benefit to you. This is the number one secret, by the way, of partners. And they get business. They get business because people become obligated to them or enjoy or appreciate that they provided help with no strings attached and then do business with them later.
People. And this is just how it works. People go in, and it's normal. It's most law firms; you will go into a law firm with the idea that you're competing with everyone around you, meaning everyone is a competitor. Everyone's competitive with you. And you have to compete with them and get a one-up.
Because of that, people will withhold information they won't give people, they'll be against people they're working with, they'll play games they will sometimes, there's just all sorts of politics that happens. It takes minimal effort to go out and help people with the correct information by telling them different insights to help them and to help people grow.
And then when you do that, not talking negatively about their lack of knowledge and stuff when they're not there because if you get the reputation for doing so and helping others, you'll also be well-liked by the attorneys you work with. My story about that, and it could be a better story.
But I used to when I was in a law firm; I worked when I worked for a federal judge, and it was highly competent in terms of writing. He would demand that everything I wrote for him was perfectly proofed, extraneous language out of there, and tenses and everything was correct.
And so I got into my first law firm, and I couldn't believe that. When people would ask me to review their work, how many of those rules needed to be wholly paid attention to? And so I started helping people by asking me to work on stuff.
It was not billable because it wasn't my matter, but I would spend half an hour and 45 minutes marking up memos and briefs and helping people. And that was very much appreciated, and I started getting. A lot of work from other people, and people started talking to each other saying, what a great attorney I was just from marking this stuff up.
It gives you a reputation. And then, I started getting work from the best people in the firm. So you want to have a reputation for helping other people. And this is something, by the way, that people do with clients as well. So, they get clients because they reach out and try to help people with different things.
And getting a reputation for helping others when you don't have to and putting yourself as a source of help. It is enormous compared to a competitor being seen as someone who wants to help a potential client instead of just getting money from them. And it works, pays dividends, and when you're helping people like that within your firm, you're helping the firm.
If you're helping people like that Externally, you're getting their reputation. And the thing is that young attorneys, I'm sure I'll get questions about this today because I get something about this question in multiple meetings. Each week, the idea would be I help someone, and they took credit for my idea.
And they took advantage of me. That's great because now you know that's what will happen. Suppose you help that person in the future. And the same thing will happen with other people, and that person will eventually get iced out. You don't need to worry about that. You just need to keep your side of the street clean.
And if you do that, you'll be a lot better off. The next thing is you want to concentrate, which is a critical point that will change the direction of your career and life. You want to concentrate on doing the work you enjoy. And do your best at and avoid doing the areas where you don't excel.
There's this story that I heard this weekend. It was about a Buddhist monk, and he was, I don't know. He was living in a monastery for 20 years. And during that entire time, all he could think about was how attracted he was to women and how wrong he was to be this way.
And so he. would keep banging his head against walls and doing all these things to try to take this horrible force inside of him out of that. And he did this for most of his adult life until someone very wise came along and said this isn't the person you are.
It would help if you were being the person you are. And that's not being a Buddhist monk. That's just being out in the real world and meeting people of the opposite sex. And you don't want to be doing. My point is that you don't want to be doing the work you don't enjoy and are not good at.
And it would be best if you avoided the errors even though you don't excel. And this is hugely important. It doesn't matter what practice area you're in. I've been looking. This morning, I looked at the practice areas where the attorneys are getting the most interviews, and it's different from what you think.
It's like medical malpractice plaintiff attorneys, medical malpractice defense attorneys, insurance defense attorneys, and all these things. Trust in the state's attorneys, like getting the most interviews, meaning if they apply to 10 firms, they will get maybe a couple of interviews. In contrast, someone who might be in commercial litigation or corporate will have a more challenging time.
Your practice area is delicate. There's nothing wrong with, you may think, you're in the wrong practice area, but you should do what you're best at and avoid. Your weaknesses. It doesn't matter what your strengths are. It would be best not to try to do something you don't enjoy.
You need to improve at it because you think it's the right thing to do. That doesn't make any sense. You're going to spend your whole life and career being unhappy. And you could be where you might be a better management being a better management. You might be better off being an entrepreneur. You might be better.
I've seen attorneys that I know, Atter, an attorney at O'Melveny Myers, and it was like the top class in his law school; he decided to start a personal injury law firm representing people in minor auto accidents and couldn't be happier. So, it doesn't matter what you do; you must go with your strengths.
Your strengths may be being in a. You may represent consumers and various things instead of big clients. And you may want to work for more prominent clients and feel like you can do better than that. And that's fine, too. It just doesn't matter. But, regardless of your skill set, you want to be doing things you're the best at and where you're receiving positive reinforcement from.
And I will tell you that regardless of how well you did in law school, where you went to law school, or Your first job, there is always a place for an attorney to do something. And it could be; it doesn't matter what the practice area is, but you should be doing a practice area where you're doing well.
I remember not too long ago. And this is sad, but I see this stuff all the time. I was working with this woman. That was a trademark attorney at a small to mid-sized firm doing very well. They're likely to probably at that firm become a partner or something. And then, within 3 or 4 years, I was getting work that had brought in clients. I was just very good at trademark law and enjoyed it.
And she decided that, for whatever reason, she needed to work in a large law firm with a good brand name. And so she started applying to these firms not just through me but on her own and got a job as a staff attorney. Making less money with no prospect of ever becoming an associate at a big firm and being told from day one that you're going to make 70% of what our associates make, you will never be able to be a partner.
You will have this title, but you'll get to say you worked at this big firm, and she took it over, staying in her existing firm over offers at smaller firms because she thought that was the awesome thing to do. And I don't think that was the right decision.
That's just my opinion. But people often need to do the proper work in a suitable environment. And it needs to be correct. It would be best not to push yourself to do something in an environment. It's not working out for you. You just shouldn't if you're getting bad feedback from the market; maybe you're in the wrong market, or maybe you're in the wrong practice area.
So this is just, what if Mike Tyson decided to be a neurosurgeon instead of a boxer when he was young? I only know some of what there is to know about his intelligence. He could be the most brilliant person in the world. I don't know, but this would probably be an uphill battle for him.
He's a boxer. He's a natural boxer with those natural skills that very few people have ever had. And so taking those skills and pushing him into being a boxer. It is much more likely to give him financial success. Then, doing something else.
But this is what people do all the time. You need to do the work that you're good at and have the most help for because if you don't, you're going to be pushing against something that's not giving you a lot of positive feedback that you're not enjoying, that there's probably people much better than you.
And if the current employer is not utilizing your strengths, it may make sense to switch to something else. I knew one guy, this is very fun. This is someone I knew pretty well in high school, and also, when I got out, I stayed in touch with him.
He was just this brilliant scientist. His father was a scientist. By the time he was a freshman in high school, he was taking AP physics and calculus and all this stuff. Just freaking amazing, like how bright this guy was. And then he goes to college, a good school, like the University of Michigan or something, and majors in some science and comes out to the very top of this class and then decides he wants to be a newspaper reporter, even though he can't write for help.
He spends his whole career, like now, he's been making his career for a few decades or more and never got anywhere because he thought he needed to be a newspaper reporter somewhere along the line like his sister did. I don't know, but you don't; you shouldn't do things where you don't have talent. You're going to advance. If this guy had put himself into being a scientist or a doctor or something,
he probably would have gone very far, and he liked it. He just felt I was good at this. I've got to conquer it. So, I should try to work on my weaknesses; working on your weaknesses is something other than something that will help you. It's going to ultimately be because you'll get nowhere when you work on your strengths, which is like your practice here or the practice setting, like where you want to be, then you'll do much better.
And then this is just a kind of another statement. And I don't particularly appreciate making it because it can offend people, but you want to be healthy. You want to take care of yourself. You want to look and act healthy. And it doesn't matter if you're your weight, I don't think it matters, but you have to look like you're vibrant and healthy and that's going to have a lot of success in your career.
Yeah. It doesn't sound warm-hearted to say that it doesn't mean you must be. It's just that you need to take care of yourself. And I've got so many examples. I have one candidate that was. He was the first in his class at a big law school like Berkeley or UCLA.
The first in his class, he got a job with a big firm in Silicon Valley as an intellectual property litigation lawyer because he was also an incredible scientist. And then he decided that he was going to grow his hair and not stop growing his hair and not stop growing his hair until his hair got down to his buttocks.
And he decided to put this in a ponytail that anyway, he went out for interviews, and firms couldn't believe it. They were just like, what the hell is this? And they found all sorts of reasons to reject him. And this stuff is proper. And I don't like to say that, but if you don't look healthy, then it doesn't help you.
It hurts you. You need to do your best to take care of yourself. And I'll just tell you a quick story. When I was a summer associate in a law firm in New York, I was out with a bunch of, I don't know, associates, and they were talking about this partner that had all this business and was like the best-dressed person in the whole firm like he would go out and have his suits tailored and all this stuff.
And at one point, like he told a bunch of associates, I do this when I walk into a room with a potential client. I'm charging like a thousand plus dollars per hour, whatever it was back then, I need to look like the most formidable and put-together person in the room for them to feel like they're getting their money's worth.
That is how that person thought it was only sometimes valid at all different types of firms. You certainly look at it. A lot of our billionaires and tycoons and stuff don't. They don't necessarily follow those rules. But I think law firm people who do well often will try to look the best they can and the most confident they can.
When I go to the CEO roundtables, things With other CEOs of companies. And I'm always amazed by that. A lot of these people will talk about putting fitness and stuff as a priority. And I'm not saying that's something you need to do. But I think that you're being conditioned physically is basically what you're showing is that you're also conditioned internally. And that I think is meaningful.
I often see resumes that need to be clarified. And when I say that, I say this with the utmost respect. Still, suppose someone has attended a fourth- or third-tier law school. In that case, their grades don't look like anything spectacular, at least from what I can tell, but then all of a sudden, you look at the resume, And they've worked at the best firms in the country, which wouldn't make sense generally for someone with those sorts of backgrounds.
So what I'm telling you right now is something I shouldn't be saying, but I'm going to say it because I'm trying to help you. And I'm just telling you what I observe. I'm not saying that's right. I'm not making any judgment calls here. But I will say that 95% of the time when I see these resumes, the person just looks like a great athlete or something.
And they, that's it. I don't know what to say. But so this stuff, I think, makes a difference. I don't know. I'm just an observer. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being overweight because there isn't, and some of the most successful attorneys are, so there's nothing. I'm not judging that, but I'm telling you that if you take good care of yourself, then I think that has something to do with something that will have something to do with how well you do.
What does that mean? It doesn't mean that you have to starve yourself. It doesn't mean That you have to run 10 miles a day, but it means you want to watch how you dress. You want to try to take care of yourself. And so you have more to give, and it's what it is.
And I'm not again. I'm not judging and saying I support any of this, but I am saying that I think it can help you. More than it can hurt you. And I think it's something to realize. And then this is another essential thing: you need a mentor in every law firm you're in.
I remember. Not too long ago. I always talk to people that are one year away from a partnership or two years away from a partnership, or they didn't make a partner, and then they went and started their firm, or they did something like that. And then you ask them what would happen if they didn't make a partner, will say I thought so, and so was going to support me, and they didn't.
Or if they're going to make a partner, will say, working hard and getting a mentor, and. someone behind me. And you will find that if you look at the people that become very successful inside of law firms a good portion of the time, meaning 80% of the time or 75 or 90% of the time that someone is behind them and sponsoring them and giving them work and providing them information.
and telling them what they need to do, the kind of mistakes they're making, how to correct their mistakes, what they need, what they need to correct those mistakes, and all sorts of stuff like that. You may need help from a mentor and advance.
And many times, people that you want to be our mentors will blow you off because they've got too many people. Strive to get their attention, and they'll only give this gift to you. If you give them something in return, meaning work or admiration, or you're vulnerable and ask for help.
Mentors can serve multiple purposes. They can lobby on your behalf. They can point you in the right direction when you're making mistakes and get you back on the right path. They can tell you the kind of people to avoid, they can prevent; this is what I'm doing with you right now, mentoring you.
But imagine if you had someone in your firm doing this, and they can assist you in many ways. That's one of the reasons I also stress the importance of going to social events and firm-type things because if you do that, it will help you a lot. And so you want to do that.
And when you watch and observe your work environment, you'll often find that. Advancement is only possible with a mentor. It's just not going to happen. Not too long ago, I was on a plane sitting next to a partner of a major American law firm that's almost impossible to make partners with and talk to him about a story.
The story was straightforward. When he got to the law firm, he started working for one partner and just worked as hard as he freaking could to meet all his clients and worked very hard for 10 or 12 years for this partner. Then, the partner retired and gave him all his business. The firm had no choice but to make this guy a partner because he was working with a 20 million plus book that was given to him.
If you're in an environment where you can't find a mentor, where people will blow you off when you try it, or when your mentor is someone who doesn't have any push in the law firm, it may make sense to leave. You may be better off at a smaller firm where someone's looking out for you.
And continuing to play a game with a more prominent law firm. When I was practicing law, I saw and learned about numerous attorneys who are advanced partners because they had good mentors. It happens at most firms, most people that get ahead. And get jobs in the best law firms R. B. R. M. A. Partner or can even stay partner, meaning you don't just become a partner and no longer need a mentor. It would be best if you had a mentor for your whole career.
It would help if you had people that would get behind you. You need a good mentor to be held back, and it will hurt you. And it would be best if you had everything to do everything you possibly can to find a good mentor. It's crucially essential and something that you need to do. And I think that, again, most people need to learn these lessons. Not even learning one of them, like the one you just heard about getting a mentor, can change the whole direction of your career.
I'm trying to provide a lot of value here. I'm not trying to, and I want to ensure that if you're learning this stuff, it could change your life. And how happy you are. And a lot of attorneys end up unhappy for decades practicing law.
So these are significant reasons and things to understand. So this is another big one. This ends up losing and hurting so many careers. Putting them just stops them in their tracks. And it's what you need to understand. So, if you behave poorly outside of work, your superiors will generally learn about it and judge you for it.
People think they can go crazy outside of work and won't affect their jobs. And indeed, it depends on the firm. So some firms think it's cool that you're acting crazy, but in most cases, it's not. It literally couldn't be further from the truth.
If your behavior is bad enough outside of work and other associates learn about it, or whoever learns about it, it will generally get back to your law firm and affect you at work. What does that mean? It means a lot of stuff, but I'll talk about it in a second in a little bit more detail. But I have seen numerous when I see numerous.
I encountered regular people who lost their jobs because of their behavior outside of offices. And sometimes, the behavior is not even that bad, but they upset the wrong people. So it's essential to understand. I don't necessarily think this is a good thing.
But when you're not working, you're a representative of your firm, and when you're at work and even when you're not. You may see people in power, whether politicians or people in charge of businesses and things, doing all sorts of behavior.
It is unbelievable, and they're at the top of the pecking order in terms of their careers. The problem with being a lawyer like that is a lawyer is expected to because of your position. In society, being a representative of others who are allowed to be out of control, you're expected to maintain specific standards regarding your behavior.
And if you behave in a way that reflects poorly on your firm, it definitely can negatively affect your job. It's just how it is. And I have so many stories I could tell you about this. I'll just tell you a couple of quick ones. I knew a senior attorney woman who was going over with a group of other attorneys to another law firm.
She was moving from a midsize firm to a major American law firm. And because of the people she was associated with the firm. I was guaranteed a partnership place within a few years, all these great things. And someone looked at her Facebook page and saw that she was complaining about not liking practicing law, which ended her career.
Pretty much. I saw another case where a woman that I knew came to work and had a wild weekend with some guys she just met and told a woman attorney she worked with about that. And that got back to the firm, and things didn't go well for her. So this stuff is real. You don't want to tell people if you have a drug problem or an alcohol problem; you don't want to tell people if you had psychological problems in the past.
You don't want to talk about anything. And I'm sorry. I. I don't particularly appreciate saying this stuff, but people will start labeling you by those things. And again, there are plenty of very successful people in the world who have gone through these problems, but they're not people who are expected to take care of others and reflect on their reputation; there are just all sorts of reasons.
So, this is just how the legal profession works. I don't. I'm not judging it. I'm not saying it's good or bad, but you must. Get better at it. So you need to ask your superiors what they think you need to do to improve. And then once you ask them that you need to use that advice.
So many people fear asking what they're doing wrong because they want to maintain this self-imposed identity that they think they're doing a good job and that there's nothing wrong. So most people are walking around almost like this, protecting themselves from pinpricks and things that will destroy how they see themselves and their personal identity.
And that's not something that you should be doing. It would be best if you made sure that you're trying to ensure that your weaknesses and things, whatever they are, can address them. And there's nothing wrong with having weaknesses. So, everyone has weaknesses.
It's not everyone. The most successful to the least successful. But the big thing you need to do if you have those weaknesses is learn how to fix them or work around them. And when you address your weaknesses, what you're doing is you're showing the employer they are interested in approving.
And taking your job seriously. And then you're working on addressing those weaknesses. Firms want people who are interested in improving and taking their work seriously. Asking how you're doing, asking what you can do to improve, and all that stuff is significant.
It allows you to be in a position where you're fixing it instead of trying to protect your ego and trying to feel good when maybe things aren't good. That would be like if you're on a sports team and they're measuring your sprinting speed, how much you can lift your yards per run.
This is what elite athletes do. And it's the same thing. You should be doing your job; you should be figuring it out for where you can improve. And then this is another thing. I brought it up earlier, but it's about the importance of engagement. And if you're not engaged in your job, you shouldn't be doing it.
You should find a new one. There's nothing wrong with not liking your work. Not liking your firm and the atmosphere you're in is fine. There's nothing wrong with any of this. But if you don't enjoy your job. The odds are pretty good that you're not performing well. So what's the point of doing something you don't enjoy and are not good at?
All that will happen is you will be disappointed and not do a good job. So if you don't enjoy it, you just need to find a job doing something you enjoy. And it doesn't have to be practicing law because whatever you do if you do it and you like it, you'll do well at it. And many attorneys, You know, that do their best at work are rarely going to get ahead or want to refute. To get ahead as an attorney, you need to be enthusiastic and excited about whatever you do.
If you're a real estate attorney, it needs to excite you; you need to think, there's nothing I would rather be doing than being a real estate attorney. It would be best if you believed in it. Then you need to go out and believe in it in front of clients. And then you need to believe in it in front of your superiors because this is what your lot is.
If you've cast your lot doing this and don't enjoy it, that isn't nice. You can certainly have a hard time your first several years when you're learning to practice here, and you're getting criticized and learning this. But if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's something you're not going to enjoy, then you're going to have a tough time in your career, and you're not going to reach where you want to go.
You're never going to make that type of living. You're never going to be happy. You're just nothing that's going to work. It would be best if you owed it to yourself and your family. To enjoy what you're doing and to be engaged with it. You should be able to get up and be excited to go to work and do your job.
And if you're not, you're in the wrong practice area, the wrong practice setting, or the wrong profession entirely. Again, there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to do something you're engaged in because it's just that it's in no one's best interest. If you're not engaged in something, you won't be helping your clients.
If you're not engaged in something, you won't be helping your firm. If you're not engaged in something, you won't be helping yourself because you can do something; you can find something else that you're engaged in. And if you do that, you'll be much better off. So it would be best if you did that.
If your law firm is going downhill, you should also find a new job. There are plenty of law firms that are going downhill. Small law firms are going out of business all the time. There are medium law firms. There are even large law firms. And certain law firms are just in trouble.
They often need to be more managed. They have Bad management, and the management just continues, and they don't fix it. They may need to be more heavily invested in a shrinking practice area. They may be unable to hold on to lawyers because there are such toxic workplaces.
There, there are a lot of lousy law firms, just as there are bad companies. Companies go out of business all the time. And law firms also need help. You need to be part of an environment, a law firm that's growing and where things are happening. So what does that mean?
That means you can join a law firm that's expanding and where there's opportunity and where they're getting more and more business and where people are excited and where things are going well and where there's going to be opportunities because there's so much work and the law firm is getting such an excellent reputation.
You can find a law firm like that. Or you can find a law firm where the opposite is happening, where people are sitting around with a lot of work to do, where there are bad reviews, and they're getting rid of people, where the partners are toxic with each other and toxic with you. You can find employers like that.
And if you find a law firm like that, that's where you want to be. That's probably not a good use of your time either. So you need to put yourself in an atmosphere that helps you. And so I'm saying that only some law firms are significant, and you need to adapt to them, but you need to find a place that's not in trouble.
And where everything's more positive than negative. That's like being in a toxic relationship with a friend or with someone of the opposite sex or whatever, or the same sex, and you're romantically involved with. That's not good for you. It's not good for them. It just doesn't work. So, you need to put yourself in a suitable environment because there are positive environments, and you need to protect your legal career.
You need to invest your time and effort with an employer that's growing, not retreating, where things are positive and not harmful, where there's opportunity and not opportunity leaving. Opportunity leaves because the law firm's not well managed, it leaves because they do not have sound compensation systems, it leaves because there are a million reasons why law firms have problems, and the same applies to companies.
But if you're in a law firm with that problem, you must get out of there and find one. That works for you. It's just there's nothing you can do about it. And it's not beyond your control, but you need to find a place where things are good. And only you know what that is.
But here's what happens if you join a growing law firm where there's opportunity. They're going to want you to stay. There's going to be, it's going to be exciting. The clients are going to be excited about all sorts of things. But if you join one with the opposite occurring, you need to be in better shape.
Another one is that you must fit the firm's culture. It would be best if you always tried to be in a place where the culture matches. And not the opposite. So, certain law firms' cultures are what they are. They're you don't know what those cultures are, but you can pretty much pick it up pretty quickly.
When you walk in, you start meeting the people in charge. It doesn't mean that is right or wrong. There are hundreds of different types of cultures. Some cultures are based on ethnicity. Some cultures are based on religion. Some cultures are based on where people went to school.
Some cultures are based on what people do in their free time. Some cultures are based on whether people have families or not. There are all sorts of cultures. You only need to find a culture where you're happy and can often walk into the firm.
You can spend a few minutes there to see how people are acting and know if it's a culture for you. You'll pick it up. It's in the air, but you need to be in a culture that works. And you must be part of a law firm where you're comfortable with the culture because if you're not, if it strikes you immediately, it's like a place that's scary or you don't like, or there's Something wrong with it.
Thank you. Then that's not good. So, if you need to fit in with the firm, you must find a firm or organization where you feel you fit in. You need to be part of the right culture. It's going to make a difference. Why would you want to be part of a culture where you're unhappy?
Why would you want to feel part of a culture where the people in power are all so much different than you? You can never see yourself as part of that culture. Why would you want to feel part of a culture that seems fake? And it's just not a real cult. There are many cultural problems, but you must be in the right culture.
And we're almost done with these. There's a few more, and then we'll go to Q and A. But the other thing is you need to be improving constantly. You should not be content being the person you were a year ago. You shouldn't be content being the person you were six months ago. If you continue improving, you will be way ahead of the ball.
Constant improvement, getting better and better. It is Something that honestly can change your life. You want to be constantly improving. There's a saying that canny, constant, and never-ending improvement means you're constantly improving. Your practice area is constantly learning more.
You're constantly thinking of new ways to approach problems. And there's a lot of people that stop improving. Some people graduate from an Ivy League school and think they know everything now and don't need to do anything to improve. Some people graduate from law school and think I attended this excellent law school.
I'm done. I've reached the pinnacle of everything. And now it's just making use. You have to never stop improving. That means you need to find environments where you can continually improve. It would help if you improved at your job. You need to be enthusiastic about it because if you do all these things, you're continuing, and you'll get better and better.
And you need to improve and grow and get better at what you do. Suppose you don't stop growing. Then you're going to surpass everyone. So what does that mean? It means that your career is like being a racehorse. There are specific racehorses that start at the end, and then we'll save all their energy and keep getting farther and farther and eventually be the leader and win the race.
And that's how you need to think about things. You can start at the bottom. You can start at the worst possible law firm, paying the least, but you're improving. And if you're improving, you'll be ahead of anyone else in the long run because you can never stop improving.
If you lost a job or you weren't happy. Get a better job. Make sure it's an even better one, and do better. The idea is you own your future, and no one else does. That in the past has already happened. It would help if you never were dwelling on that. And you can make your future be pretty much whatever you want it to be.
You have to visualize who you will be, like, what will you achieve? What are you going to do with your career? And just write down goals. Most successful people, by the way, have goals. Almost every successful person out there has goals. There's a famous study that, at some point, was proven not genuine.
It's a fun story. It was a self-improvement guy who talked about it. Then, other people picked up. The idea was that, I don't know, 19, 50 years, 60, 50, or whatever it was. They interviewed all the graduates of Yale College, and they said, What do you want to be?
What do you want to do? What are your objectives? And only 5% of the graduating people knew what they wanted to do and who they wanted to be. And the other 95% kind of said maybe this, maybe that. And they needed to be more definite about what they wanted to do.
The 5% that knew what they wanted to do. And could see who they would be and what they could achieve. They had a net worth of five times Something or double the 95% of their whole network net worth, three times the happiness, and all this stuff.
The study was proven. It could be more accurate, but the underpinnings of it work. So it would help if you thought about that. And the people with goals and who know where they want to go typically get there. If you don't have goals, other people will lead you around.
That does have goals. So you're much better off having goals and not having them. This last one, there's one more after this, but it's FaceTime, how important FaceTime is. FaceTime is essential. A lot of people think that they can work entirely remotely. And that's perfectly fine.
But when you're hired to work somewhere, really being hired to work and be part of a group that works together. What that means is that your presence is essential. When you're around other attorneys at your job, that is a form of just I, physical support, meaning your presence is a form of support and commitment.
If people see you around, it's much easier for them to give you work. It's much easier for them to let you go if the firm is fast. It's important because you're available for questions. You can see people and talk to them at lunch. You can; you're considered part of a team. You can walk in and pitch in with things.
There are so many essential things about FaceTime that people think I want to work remotely. That's all, but if you do, that's fine. But it's Something other than Something that you want. I have many remote employees who work for me because that's just how things are.
But I will tell you I am always worried about not being in the office. They're not working. I'm usually bright because I call, and people are driving around the middle of the day and stuff, or the phone's not getting answered. And so there's that assumption.
I'm not saying everyone does that because most people don't; 90% don't, or maybe even 80. But the employer, if you're away from there, will assume you might be wasting time and not as focused if they don't see you. And they're, it's just different from the perception you want to have.
And so you have to be if you can, you're going to be much better off in an office than if you're not in an office, and it's just going to impact your success. You're going to learn more. If other people aren't doing it, you're going to be much harder to let go.
Or not advanced when they see you there. It's just a form of commitment. That's just as important as your hours showing that you're there. I remember my first law firm. I couldn't believe it. The entire law firm would come in on Sundays, everybody. And if you weren't there, it'd be like, where were you?
So FaceTime was basically about buying and being seen by looking committed. And that's just how it is. And so you need to make sure you participate. And the last one you need to understand is that you're a product. And what does that mean?
It means that you're a product, and essentially, as a product that offers a service, you are bought, sold, traded, let go, improved, or whatever as a product, and because you're a product, you always need to realize that your objective is to be the best possible product in the market.
And by product, you need to convert. You need to look the best. You need to have the most features. You need to be the product with the most stuff going for it. That's the most well-thought-out. So how does it work? How does the product work? But just think about a car, like the best cars, everything is well thought out.
It's things that are put in the right place. The car does what it's supposed to do. It does it better than other cars. It may cost more because of that, but the best cars typically are the best products. People think differently about a Mercedes than a General Motors car, a Buick, or Something.
So it's because different types of products have different levels of thought. And investment and things that go into them. So you're a product. And because you're a product, people will choose when they're presented with you and their alternatives; they will choose you as the best product if you are the best product.
And a lot of law firms will let people go. If they know they have a brand or Something, they can replace it with better people. So if you are going to be a product, and you should be, you are a product; you need to realize that you need to be the best possible product.
You can, if you are a, I don't know, a Medicare attorney. You're going to be a much better Medicare attorney. If you learn everything about Medicare, get experience in the best firms, work with the best people, and understand if you work for the government doing that, all these sorts of things will make you a better product.
So it would be best if you thought that every decision you make is to make you a product. It's exciting, too. There are all of these; I read yesterday about these college preparation consultants that charge like 120 000 or Something to prepare kids to apply to good colleges.
Essentially, they do not only expect the kids to get good grades and stuff, but they help them present themselves in the best possible Something with an interest in Something. So it could be you might be interested in bugs and have written papers on bugs, collected bugs, and gone to all these seminars about bugs.
And so you're the bug person. So you apply to. Stanford. And instead of being a great student, you look like someone with a real passion. And these are the type of people that are advanced. And so you have to, with your practice area, with everything you do, think of yourself as a product and never get complacent.
And if you get complacent and think you're just going to be an average product, Then that's what you'll get out of your career. You're going to be considered average. You're not going to have any distinguishing characteristics. You're going to have a tough time getting ahead.
So you need to always think of yourself as a product and a product that's improving. So, what is a product that's improving? So let's take an example of cars. It's just fun to talk about cars. And I talk about cars because I'm from Detroit, and that's what I grew up around: a bunch of people in the automobile industry.
But here's how different products kind of work in the automobile industry. So this is always the truth. But in the 1970s and 80s, what used to happen with American cars was they would come out with them saying, "Okay, this is our, this is our sedan. And then, it would be Buick something rather than Chevrolet Something or Chrysler This, so they'd come out with it in year one.
Then, in year two, they might put some new fenders on it to make it look different. In year three, they might change the headlights a little bit. And they might put extra features inside. They would do very little to change the car, and they would do that for as long as they could, and then they would come out with a new car, which is fine.
They would do that, but they would only make substantial changes to the car if they put fins on it. A new-looking windshield. It's just nothing substantial. In contrast, in German cars, they would build the BMW Three series or whatever, and then they would continue refining it year after year.
They make the engine better. They figure out how to make the placement of the doors tighter together. They would figure out if they could use a different form of glass or different buttons to make things. And they would continually refine it over and over again until they got Something as close to perfect as they thought they could make it.
And then, at that point, when the model got a little bit tired, they would start rolling out a completely new version of the car. That is where the Americans would have been, just putting new fins and things on the car. So that's the idea of getting complacent. And because of that, many American automobile companies almost went out of business.
And so it's the same thing with you. Suppose you need to make substantial changes to yourself and become a better and better product, which means you start getting business or becoming an expert in your field. In that case, you start talking to groups about your practice here and stuff, and then you'll be in trouble.
And that's Something that the best people understand. So, you need to think about yourself as a product. Okay. So, I apologize for this being such a long presentation. I didn't expect to go into it necessarily. It would be awesome. So I'm going to take a quick break, and then when I come back, I will answer as many questions as people have, whether it's about this or anything else.
Opportunities for those unintentionally surrounded by negative influences: What practical advice can you offer to help them mitigate any potential harm to their professional reputation? So that's a good question. What happens is that you have your white and black shirts, precisely what that means.
And you choose. What type of person do you want to be around? That's your decision. If you are with the black shirts, you're going to become. And I actually shouldn't use the word black. Let's use red shirts. Just, I don't know, a white shirt.
Let's say happy shirts. I wouldn't say I like this kind of old, prominent happy shirts versus unhappy shirts. So, If you surround yourself with unhappy shirts, that will just be what you'll become. You're going to become unhappy. You're going to become defeated. You're going to become you're going to see things in a negative light.
And if you surround yourself with a happy shirt, it's the opposite. So you will see things more positively. And so there's nothing wrong with being surrounded by negative influences because they're everywhere. They're around. And anytime a group of people gets together, but at the same time, if you allow yourself to be surrounded by those people, it will rub off on you.
So it won't necessarily harm your professional reputation if you're around those people. Still, it will influence your happiness, how you look at your job, think about things, and what happens to you in your career. My advice would be to do your best to surround yourself with as positive people as possible.
If you ask a question and you're logged into Zoom, and your board will show your name, I won't show it; just cut and paste it. Okay, so I'll cut and paste the question. So, in cases where unassigned work doesn't lead to immediate recognition or advancement, how can an attorney stay motivated and invest in these efforts over the long run?
Okay. So again, a lot of what happens in your career and your life. Furthermore, you won't get immediate recognition or be advanced for it. It's just not going to happen. So, the only way you can fix any of this is to stay motivated and continue doing this over the long run.
Ultimately, the people who get the most in their careers tend to be people who will take care of others even if they don't get immediate recognition for it, and it will help you in the long run. I want to tell a quick story because I think it's interesting. It's about a guy I know who started this very successful electronics import-export business.
And how he became so successful. He was from Iran and had learned how business was done there. And I'm not criticizing Iran, an entire country, or how they do business. But what he took away from his experience was that most transactions were made in the business where you were trying to get the best deal possible.
You would pound down the person you bought things from or vice versa. They would try to get the most from you and where this went. And what made you successful was how good of a negotiation you could do. So he'd moved to the United States and was just setting up this electronics business.
And when he had this opportunity, he wanted to. Be able to buy this, and I may have told them this last week or the week before, but he wanted to be able to buy these video game consoles that were being sold, like PlayStation 3, or, I don't know what it was, a long time ago and the profits on them, were excellent.
So he would buy them for, they would sell them for 150 to him. And then he would sell them for, Or you'd sell them for 75 to him, he would sell them to the stores for 150 in the stores and so on. It's something along those lines like it's just really high profit. And so he talked to someone that was a representative of the Japanese company or whatever the company that was importing these.
They said, No, we're not going to sell them to you to sell the best buy and everything, but I'll tell you what we'll do is why don't you turn around and try eliminating all of these last year's or last year's models. I will send you 30,000 of them, and we'll charge you the amount, and maybe next time I will have something for you, and you thought, why would I? You know, get rid of 30,000 of these things, not make any money, and spend all this time doing it.
But he just said okay. And so he went and did it, and it took him some time, but he didn't end up making any money on it, but he did what the guy wanted. The guy never called and thanked him or anything. A couple of years went by, and he figured I just didn't do all this work for some guy for nothing.
And then, after a couple of years, he got a call one day. And the guy, I guess some new video game console, was coming out, and he said, how would you like to have 100,000 of these and the opportunity to turn around and sell them? And he couldn't believe it.
He made an incredible amount of money because he'd done someone a favor in the past. And so that can make a huge difference in your life and career. And it can make a huge difference. I'll just tell you my personal story. It's on a different level, but it's how I started business.
I had this right before I went to college; I had started this Asphalt business, and to make a long story short, I wasn't at it with the idea of making as much money as possible, getting an edge, and everything I did of trying to take, do all these things to make money to.
Cutting the cost of my materials. All these evil things that I shouldn't have been doing. After a couple of months of this, I bounced tons of checks. I upset all these people and just was a failure in the business and emotionally devastated.
And because I didn't know what else to do. I worked as a sanitation worker in my city so I would have enough money for spending when I went to college because my parents could give me spending money. So I did this sanitation worker's work. And then, after A month or two of doing this.
I started the business in a month or two of high school in the last semester or whatever of high school. I had saved up some money and decided the best thing to do was go out and fix all this lousy work that I had done and just make everything right, even though I had no incentive to do it other than how I felt about myself.
And so I went out, and I went and did this work, and I was going around fixing things and then. Then I had this experience where I was in a, like, a hardware store, buying some materials. This man was trying to buy a bunch of this basically, was asphalt sealant buying a bunch of that.
I saw he was making mistakes because he was talking to a clerk and me, so I went over and told him what he should be doing, how to buy the material, how much he should be buying, and how to measure it, and all this stuff that I didn't realize I'd learned when I did this horrible work. He said Will you go out and look at this condominium complex that I'm in charge of, he lived there but was in charge of getting the work done, and he told me how much money I should be paying to get it done and just, look at it, and so I can hire someone.
And I said, sure. So I went out without thinking about it. I was just thinking I was doing something nice for someone, and I measured the whole parking lot, and I got there at eight o'clock at night, and it took me till 11:30, and then I left him. I typed up a letter to him the next day, which I just told him everything should be done, and then I put it in the mail.
But the idea that I was just doing something nice for someone, no idea that I'd ever get any money out of it. I was just trying to help him. And I figured he would hire someone experienced, and this is what he should be paying. And that was it. So a couple of days later. He called and said he wanted me to do the work at the price.
I had quoted him for what he should be paying. So, to make a long story short, I couldn't believe it. And I went out and made the equivalent of probably, what would be like 10,000 today. In two days' worth of work, it changed my life. It gave me self-esteem, and the following summer, I went into the business and did incredibly well.
And I just kept getting better and better at it to the point where when I graduated from law school, I had to make a point when I graduated from college. Law school was something that I was like, and I think I'll only be successful sometimes. Being a lawyer, I'm doing what I'm doing now.
And because it was, it all started by giving somebody something for free. And so that's something that everyone should learn in terms of how business works in the world is that you and this is the same thing that All the most successful partners that have these huge books of business tell me that they do.
They find general counsels and people inside companies with problems, and they help them. They do it without expecting immediate financial gain, but eventually, all this turns around. It could be referrals, or the person goes to a new company and hires them, but you do stuff for people without expecting.
Any corresponding reward, just being a good person. And very few people do that. And if you do that, it will change; it can change your life or mine. I, I don't. I do these webinars. I'm not; I'm trying to help you. I'm not trying to sell you anything.
I'm not telling you how great BCG is. I'm not talking about other companies. I'm not; it's just because that's what you do. These people need to do it. And most people don't, most people, expect everything to be a quid pro quo. And unfortunately, that's how most of the world works. And it just doesn't help people.
Hey, what advice do you have for attorneys seeking unassigned work opportunities without coming across as opportunistic or self-serving to their colleagues or superiors? If you tell people or partners things you're interested in doing the kind of work they do, you'd think something sounds cool that they're doing.
You do that, and you genuinely are interested in it. No one will be mad at you or think you're like a sycophant because you're interested in something. And it's not going to seem opportunistic or self-serving. You need to do it and come from a place where that's something that you're excited about.
You want to help people, are interested in it, and are not doing it for any gain. And that's the secret. The secret to all this is that you approach things without expecting any gain; you don't want what you want to do for others. Whatever you can to help them without any expectation that they will reward you financially or anything in the future.
And if you do that, those people are much more likely to want to help you in the future, even when you're not asking for it. They will help you behind your back when no one's there, and they're talking about you. They will help you financially in a million different ways. And you will look different from other people.
It was interesting. I remember I was in college or no law school. And I was having this just horrible relationship where it doesn't matter. But something terrible had happened to me. And it was my girlfriend, and I was looking for answers.
And so I started going to church and just on my own. I was like, God, this is. I need to figure something out here. And in any event, to make a long story short, I was at this church, and this guy got up and I guess it was a priest. It didn't matter, but I got up and said, When you give to charity, you don't expect to be recognized for giving to charity.
You do so because it's something that you want to do. And you're not looking; your reward is not trying to look good to others or talking about it. Your reward is just doing good and not expecting anything in return. And if you do that, all these other forces will come to your work, whatever.
I'm not saying God-like forces. I'm just saying the way. People that are giving things come back to them. I am trying to understand how that works. Maybe it's because of how they approach the world, and people can see that their spirits are given. I don't know. But that's the idea.
So you'd never want to come across as someone who only does it for themselves. Do you invest in limited cell phone use in the office room as Merit and situation when attorneys are juggling multiple cases and waiting for crucial updates with strategy? Yeah.
So that's great. So, of course, you must always look out for work-related stuff. And things that are emergencies and that could pop up on your phone. And so the way to do that may be just to say, Hey, I have this kind of critical emergency that's going on or an essential thing.
Is it okay if I just check my phone real quick? I don't want to be disrespectful; something along those lines. And that's fine. People will understand that my only point is that. People are playing with their phones all the time, which can often result in you being viewed negatively.
Okay, so I think I already answered this question, but the idea is, what advice do you give to attorneys when they receive federal direct gain? You do receive gain. The gain is. That is how you're perceived. You're being perceived as being on someone's team instead of the opposite, precisely what you need.
So you want to be perceived as on the team of others. As opposed to the opposite. Immediate against them. That's it. So there's always going to be people that are going to take advantage of your generosity. Some people will try to push off your work as their own.
There's just, there's people out there that are happy shirts, or I guess you could say the good and bad shirts. And that's fine. You just do what you can to be associated with being seen as the correct type of person. That's it.
And that's all you need to do. And again, that will have its rewards. People will think of you in a certain way instead of differently. And that, that will help you. These are all excellent questions. I'm glad that I had the opportunity. There are two pieces of advice on this particular thing. You probably can search for it, probably on Harrison Barnes.
Com or something, but it's called The Garbage Man Story, and it may not be on that site, maybe on BCG or something; I don't know, but it's a story about all this, or you may just search for Harrison Barnes. My name and then the garbage man story, but you'll find the story, and it's a helpful story, I think, just for understanding the perception that you know how you get ahead in life and business.
This question is in the context of law firm dynamics: How can I approach discussions about the transition away from certain practice areas with partners, supervisors, and partners while still demonstrating my commitment to this firm's success? Okay, so that's a good question. So the idea is. You can't just suddenly say I'm a corporate attorney.
I want to be a litigator because you need to know what being a litigator is like. You will know what it's like once you try the work, or you can't discuss transitioning from being a tax attorney to a real estate attorney without generating some concern. And the idea is that you're hired.
To do a practice area because the law firm wants to plug you into something where they can make money. And if you're suddenly deciding you want to do another practice area. That's scary to them because they will need someone in that place to make money doing that sort of work.
So how do you do that? The best way to do that is to start taking work from the people and whatever practice area you're interested in. And and, and doing that quietly from others. So you. You network. That's one of the reasons I talk about.
Meeting with people outside of work is essential; they attend different events. You network, you do whatever you can to do your best to take work to get work from other people. And when you do that, you can take work and do different types of work and then transition into that when you might be right.
But. You need to track down that type of work within your firm. If you can't, sometimes it makes sense to potentially, and if you know you like that practice area and have reasons for doing it, it may make sense to work for another firm. So how does that work?
If you're trying to switch practice areas, I talk about this every week, but the way that works is if you're at a four firm, which would be like in your M law, what types of firms? Which would be a tiny percentage of the legal profession. If it does that, then you would probably have to move to a midsize, not as prestigious, not paying, not paying as much.
You'd probably have to move to a three-firm. And then when you move to a three firm, you would be able to eventually probably move back to a four firm once you have experience, or if you're at a three firm, you'll do a two firm, which should be some business, so you just have to move up. You move up and down depending on what happens.
So if you want to move to a if you want to do another practice area and you can't do it within your firm, then many times you'll have to. You're going to have to switch firms. I just want to tell you how difficult this is so that you understand. I was working with someone who had graduated several years ago.
The first in their class from Brigham Young University Law School had a job at a big firm in California; this was a long time ago, so it's not out of anybody's reach. But one of the switch practice areas had the entire nation as their playing ground that they would look in Texas.
They would look all over California. They would look in New York, except for one firm in Texas that asked if they would consider doing a practice area that the person was interested in but got little interest in. No one would bite because why would somebody with two years of experience?
But he was only looking at the firms of the same caliber. If, when he started looking, he was interested in looking at lower-tier firms, he would have gotten interviews, but he still needed to. He had a big family. And so he ultimately ended up staying in his current firm.
And when they found out, he told them he was trying to find another job. They switched his practice here. So you can do that, but it's just tough if you want to do something differently. because law firms sometimes buy into that.
It's hard from their standpoint. Okay. Some attorneys might hesitate to approach financial mentors due to concerns about interrupting their busy schedules. How can aspiring mentees make a compelling case for mentorship while respecting their mentor's time commitments? Okay. So that's a good question.
So, the way to get a mentor is not to ask someone to be your mentor. Getting a mentor is to do work for that person, have a lot of enthusiasm, and be the best possible source of someone doing work for that person. And then, as you do more and more work for that person, trust is built up, and as different things come up, that person will step in and give you advice.
And then they eventually become your mentor. It's like you will only sometimes meet somebody who'll be your mentor. You'll ask them to be your mentor. You have to prove yourself to that person before they're willing to invest their time and be your mentor. That's all. So, you can't just expect someone to be your mentor.
You have to spend a lot of time developing them as a mentor. And once you do that, you're going to be that; that's how it works that no one's going to give their time to be someone's mentor if they don't, if you're not helping them, or if they don't see part of themselves in you or something along those lines, they need to, you need to make them feel good about themselves before.
They're willing to invest anything in you. It's just how it is. Okay, I should follow some guidelines or principles in petition paying and potentially controversial activities, such as a public protest or advocacy, that can impact how I'm perceived. Yeah, you're entitled to have political leanings.
You're entitled to participate. You can have whatever type of private behavior you want in protest and things you're entitled to. You could be. It doesn't matter. You can be a swing or whatever you want to do. You can. There's no reason that you can't do these things.
The only thing you need to worry about is you want to be very careful not to allow yourself. A lot of that information to get back to your firm or to make it influence how You do your work. So maybe you're publicly protesting against the environment and or, for the environment and against big energy companies, and yet you're representing energy companies.
So, it will be challenging for your firm and clients if any of that gets back to them. So you just need to be very careful about how you go about that because if you go about it in the wrong way. And, then, that's going to impact how you're seeing. So it's exciting. I see all these resumes all the time, and people are very proud of listing all of these, whether they're right-wing groups or left-wing groups or far left or far right.
They're, people will put them on their resume. As if. That's a great thing. The new one that I'm starting to see is people putting on these. groups on their resume that they're not even a part of and basically in trying to look like, not even a part of it, they're not I don't want to talk about it, but they'll put all these groups and things on their resume.
And they'll, it'll take like front and center over their legal experience. And all these controversial activities, which aren't necessarily controversial, there's nothing wrong with protesting to help a union or something or whatever it is you want to do, but it is wrong if it. It interferes with your job, or if you define yourself on that, instead of being like an unbiased attorney, you define yourself based on that.
So you just need to be careful about allowing that stuff to impact your career. These are great questions. I appreciate them. This is awesome. Okay. As an attorney advances in their career and potentially becomes a mentor themselves, how can they ensure they provide practical guidance for me to learn from the perspective of other mentees?
So, the way a mentor works is that a mentor guides people to make better decisions based on what they know without necessarily telling the person what to do. So I had this experience where this is, recently where I'm in this group.
This business group was where people were supposed to be doing something with me; it was just like this small group called the forum where you people, business people, get together and talk about business issues where people were supposed to be part of this forum with me. And yet they weren't. They weren't participating.
I was mad. And so I had this mentor, and he started inviting me to these things about running a good group because he knew I was making a mistake. So it wasn't like he was telling me I had a problem. It wasn't like saying I was doing something wrong. He was just pointing me in the right direction.
So that's really how you should think about things as a mentor. Your job is to help people make better decisions without telling them necessarily directly what they should be doing. That's what the best mentors do. So, being a good mentor is essential. And you don't necessarily need to guide people directly.
You just guide them with different ideas and things. That they may only do with their own if that makes sense. Okay, certain aspects of the law firm's culture seem appealing to me, but there are certain aspects that concern me. How do I determine whether those concerns are deal breakers or manual challenges?
Okay, so every law firm has something wrong about its culture. So you never can; you'll never get a perfect culture. And there are always things that you can find wrong with the culture. So that should be something other than your job. Your job is to see if the overall culture supports me.
That's it. If the overall culture, let me try this. Does the overall culture support me? Support me. So if the overall culture supports you, then that's good. Suppose the overall culture to you is repugnant, then. Then it would be best if you got out, or it doesn't feel right. So sometimes, you'll meet people, and those people will feel wrong.
Sometimes you will be you'll, I don't know. You'll talk to people, or you'll be part of groups, and you'll feel very uncomfortable. It's just what it is. And so when that happens, you need to run for the hills. But if the overall culture does support you, then Yeah.
There's nothing really to worry about. Okay, let's see here. If this webinar were mandatory, law school applications would drop by 50 percent, especially for women. 12 to 15 are the recipes for quid pro quo sexual harassment. So I don't think this is a good point. I don't know; let me see what 12 through 15 here.
Just give me one second. I want to make sure. I'm going to answer your question as well as I possibly can. So I'm certainly not trying to see here. 15, give me one second. 15. Ask your superiors what they think of you. You need to prove okay. 14 can be part of the outside of work; your professors will learn about it. Okay, okay, that's true.
Your career may depend on having a good mentor. Okay. And it's essential to take care of yourself. I'm healthy. Okay. So, for all those reasons, I am not saying you're wrong to have that opinion. But I do not think I don't think anybody. Should they tolerate sexual harassment or be in a position for that to happen?
But things like mentors and that sort of thing, or I don't necessarily think. If you're a female, your mentor has to be a man, and I will say that I've seen some severe and dangerous issues of sexual harassment happening in law firms. So I do believe, you know, that it's a case, but you know, these sorts of things that happen inside of law firms, I would say, just, from my perspective, are things that happen in any employer, so that's something that can happen to any player.
And I, when I was in law school, I was told a male teacher sexually harassed me. Which, think about that. It's, this stuff happens. And so you just need to be very thankful.
Realize that most of the stuff that applies to law firms also applies to other employers. So it's not just in terms of people in law school that I mean, and, or law firms that it happens to. It's an indictment, I guess, if you would put it off almost every employer because these things happen.
It's not. I'm certainly not creating them. I'm just telling you what I see. What do you do if you hurt your reputation with a partner in your firm for being late to assignments and prioritizing other assignments? What advice do you have for redeeming yourself? So sometimes you can't, which is okay.
Like you, no one is perfect. Not everyone's going to like you. Only some people are going to think you do the best work. Only some people will give you repeat business after you do work for them. So there's just all sorts of things that you need to be aware of that you can't necessarily fix, and that's okay.
If you make a mistake and can't fix something, you'll do your best. So the only way to redeem yourself after the stuff is to. Do what you can to avoid having the same issues in the future. So what does that mean? It just means doing the best work you can for other people.
Learn about the mistake you made with a partner. Don't repeat it. And just make sure that happens now. There are a lot of different partners in law firms. There could be in your office, there could be ten partners, there could be 20 partners, there could be 50 partners, there could be five partners.
But regardless, just having one person not like you, or you've done bad work for them, is something you can overcome. So it's not something to worry about in the future, and I don't think it will hurt you in the future. Okay, so the last question is, will there be a recording of this webinar?
Yeah, this webinar will probably be posted on our site within a week. It takes a while to clean these up, but it'll be there for about a week. So thank you, everybody, for all of your questions. I think these were great questions. I'm very impressed with everyone staying on and this whole webinar, especially after getting kicked off the internet.
And I think that this is a critical topic. I hope everyone took notes. And even if you didn't, you come back and remember this stuff. The basic idea of this webinar is that one of the most essential things of any job is not just practicing law but these intangible things going on beneath the background.
It's not just your work. It's more than where you went to law school. It's not just your practice area. It's more than just your ability to do the work. It's all these other things that... End up impacting your success. And so being aware of all these intangibles just means you have to be on a constant path of self-improvement and getting better and better.
After everything you do, I would also say that if you enjoyed this webinar, you got a lot out of it. Always think about other questions you may have during the week, maybe related to this or other topics you're considering. Indeed, I don't know the answers to everything, but I've been doing this pretty much 10, 12 hours a day for the past quarter century.
You will get this knowledge in your practice area or already have it. Thank you. If you do it for a long time, that's just why I can give you help and information. So thank you, everyone. And I appreciate all the questions and everyone staying around after these problems and hopefully, I won't have these internet problems next week. And I hope everyone has a good week. Thank you.