In this Webinar, Harrison delves into a fascinating and often overlooked topic - the root causes of unhappiness in the legal profession. If you've ever felt discontented practicing law, this session may explain why.
Harrison explores the notion that true fulfillment in the legal field may only come when you transition from taking orders to giving them. Whether you're a man or woman, this discussion applies to those seeking to take charge of their legal careers. Harrison draws from his extensive experience to address a common dilemma: Should you stay where you are or seek a lateral move? He emphasizes that switching firms is only sometimes the solution.
Harrison divides attorneys into two distinct roles: soldiers and generals. Soldiers are the hardworking, obedient associates who follow orders diligently, while generals are the decision-makers. Understanding your role and the transition between these roles is vital for success.
Harrison explains why this could be detrimental to your career if you've ever felt the pull to become a general prematurely. Patience and dedication as a soldier are essential prerequisites. Ultimately, this webinar offers valuable insights into the dynamics of the legal profession, helping you find your place and achieve true satisfaction.
Okay. Hello. This is one of my favorite topics, and it's something that I have yet to do a webinar about today. And it talks about the reason that a lot of people are unhappy practicing law. Now, this is this particular topic. I think it applies to both men and women, but a lot of times, not to be sexist or anything.
Still, it often applies to men, probably more often than women, but it also applies to alpha females and males more than then, necessarily just people who are happy working for others.
So this is one of the reasons I think that many people, yourself included, may be unhappy practicing law.
So, I'm on a little schedule for this webinar today. So what I'm going to do is I will do the webinar, and then we'll take a quick break, and then I'll come back and answer some questions.
I'm in a little bit of a time crunch here today. I cannot answer many questions, but I should be able to get to several of them before we break. And this is not one of our longer webinars. If you're used to sitting at these things for 2 or 3 hours, you definitely won't have to do so now.
The reason I like this particular topic, just as an aside, Is that a lot of this applies to me, and it applies to a lot of people that I saw when I was practicing law who were unhappy and ended up doing other things. And so this is a very common reason people are unhappy, but it's also.
This is an excellent reason to potentially stay practicing law if you are still looking for a future in how you do things. So, I receive calls all the time and emails from people who are interested in making lateral moves. And a lot of times, probably. 30 to 40 percent of the time, I tell people they should stay where they are.
And I do this because I understand that people often try to move for the wrong reasons. I do not have a lot of them. Reasons to try to convince someone to stay at a firm. Plenty of candidates out there do not need help.
And if someone should be moving for the wrong reasons, it doesn't make sense for me to help. Often, people need help understanding something I talk about quite a bit: their roles as either Soldiers or generals; many soldiers want to be generals.
I don't understand. You know what they need to do and why switching firms will not solve their problems. It's a widespread problem for attorneys working in law firms, which I will discuss today. And so, in each step of your career, you must understand it.
Whether or not you're expected to be a soldier or a general and to do that to exfoliate, one of the things I believe that destroys many careers, both associates and even summer associates and even partners, is the kind of internal conflict they experience between being a soldier in general.
And pretty much every attorney I speak with is one or the other, and they're often unhappy based on their ability to be one or the other. And to succeed in law and at a law firm, you need to be an effective soldier. And then you need a transition of being a general. So, I'll talk a little bit about what that means today.
And then, if an attorney tries to be a general before their time, the attorney typically gets crushed and has it by the law firm and the people they're working for. They'll have an unsatisfying career and never reach their full potential in law practice.
And a lot of times, People who are soldiers, that are good soldiers, stay in the same place as being generals.
So this is an essential thing to talk about as well. And then we'll have an unsatisfying career as a soldier, not a general. So this is what I'm going to talk about today. You may need help understanding precisely what I'm talking about. But as I discuss this, you will understand what it is and what box you fit in.
And the importance of being a soldier at one time and then transitioning to being a general. No one starts their career as a general unless they can be self-taught. But the point to understand is you can never start your career. You can only start your career as a soldier and expect to be successful if you become a general.
It would be best if you permanently transitioned to being a general. So this is like this particular topic is about how you can. Move from being one to the other and the importance of your role in what you do at each step of your career. So, the first thing I will talk about is the soldier.
So the soldier is, you can think about it this way: for thousands of years, the battlefield has always been broken up into soldiers and generals, and soldiers are expected to work hard to fight, to be expendable, meaning they can do.
People, they're expendable, meaning they can die. They are expected to dedicate their hearts, bodies, and souls to the cause, and they're also expected to learn. The best soldiers are the ones that fight the hardest. They follow orders.
They respect their superiors, earn the respect of their peers, get mentors from generals, do a good job, learn how things work, and do their best to become generals. And those who do not do these things stay soldiers, die fighting, or end up doing something else entirely, meaning They don't advance and leave.
And this is the same thing that happens in law firms. Most attorneys in law firms never become generals because they don't excel as soldiers, so they need the level of commitment and discipline necessary to become a general. So, just think about it this way.
Suppose someone starts as a soldier and does an excellent job when they learn and advance. In that case, they become an officer, and then from there, they can advance, and that's just how it's supposed to be in a law firm. In law firms, young attorneys are expected to be soldiers, meaning they must work extremely hard.
They're expected to be dedicated. They're expected not to question authority. And the experience of being a soldier is you follow orders. You do what you're asked. And you learn all this stuff, watch what the generals are doing, and simply learn on the job. You follow orders, carry them out, and don't question them.
And the idea of not questioning orders means you don't talk behind the general's back. You fight with everything you can for the cause, and you make the general the general, the general. And other soldiers look good. And this is the role of an associate inside of a law firm. It's the counsel in the law firm.
It's the attorney with no business who gets work from generals. So, law firms are divided into soldiers doing all the work for others and generals who bring them to work and have the power. The problem for many talented young attorneys in the best law firms is that they want to be generals before they're ready.
Meaning they think that they know better. They're not loyal to the firm. They're very ambitious and intelligent and think. They feel very highly of themselves and should be doing something better or different. They went to top law schools and did well there to get entitled to be generals right away.
Most of these people, like the associates, believe how important they are, how smart they are, and how special they are. And they've been told about this throughout their lives because they're achievers. And most of them have worked very hard before getting to law firms and are now ready.
For the reward to come with success. And this is not meant to be. The armies of major law firms are so elite that just getting into them is the first step. This means you are now a soldier once you enter a prestigious law firm. You are not a general. And this is what so many. Young associates come out of good backgrounds.
They think that our schools, they think that when they come out, they're entitled to that. All this respect is a soldier to have all these different things. One of people's most essential needs is to feel important, meaning everyone wants to feel important and like they're in charge of their careers.
We want to feel like if we work hard and apply ourselves, we will develop the ability to master our lives, which is good. And attorneys are like this as well. They want to feel necessary and in control as if they're accomplishing something important and meaningful with their work. And unfortunately, this isn't just how the law firm environment works.
Let me tell you about a theory of human motivation. It's called self-determination theory. And it deals with the psychological needs of people that want to grow. The research has consistently demonstrated that people are motivated by intrinsic motivation, which means they do an activity because it satisfies irrelevant things, such as doing an activity. After all, they're paid.
Two researchers, Richard Brian, expanded this research, and they found that there are three main. Intrinsic needs that are important to the psychological health of the person. The first is competence. People want to feel like they control outcomes and believe they've mastered specific tasks.
The research found that if people are given positive feedback on tasks, they are more motivated to do well. If you tell someone they're doing well, then they're more motivated to do well and to keep doing well. And so positive feedback, of course, makes people feel like they're doing a good job.
And this is important for their continuing interest in the different subject matters of the task. And then negative feedback, by the way, has the opposite effect. People will need more motivation to do what you do. If you give them negative feedback, the next one is autonomy. So, people want to feel autonomous.
They want to feel autonomy, like they have control of their lives. And they want to feel. When they're in control, they feel like they can work harder, and extrinsic controls, when you have deadlines, sometimes report, and those sorts of things will demotivate because they restrict control.
It's fascinating, this whole concept of autonomy, because I have a lot of people that work for me that resist, that do an excellent job, that resist. Having any type of control of reporting and things like that. And it's essential. And, of course, the other one is psychological relatedness, in which people want to react with others.
They want to feel connected. And the more people feel connected and care about them, the more healthy they will likely be. Think about these three needs. And, as a soldier, most law firms still need to fulfill those needs. People feel they need to be more competent; it takes much time to be an effective attorney.
When you start as an attorney, your work is ripped up, and you're told you're not doing a good job, you're you're in it. It can take a long time to be a reasonable attorney. For example, I like to understand the practice here; most attorneys, like you, need to learn.
How to be a litigator or a corporate attorney and know what it takes until you've been doing the work for at least five years. And when you're working in a law firm, you often receive very little positive feedback, meaning you don't, you're not getting, you need to be told how to get better at your job.
If you're not, you're receiving negative feedback. The partners are telling you're doing something wrong. Senior associates mark up your work and tell you you're not doing well. And the problem is that when attorneys receive all this negative feedback, they will care less about their work, which happens in many law firms.
And the next one is that attorneys don't feel autonomous. They can't; they don't feel like they control the work. So, is there a large law firm where the soldier attorney often works on a small subset of matters, all sorts of deadlines? They're not in charge of matters, meaning they're not running them.
That makes them feel not autonomous like they don't lack control; they're just being given things to do, and the law firm soldier attorneys often don't experience what's called psychological relatedness. They don't. The people that the partners are just in, not necessarily relating to them.
They don't feel related to the people they're working with because they're competitive with them, and other people are competitive. And so soldiers may. Trying even to try to undermine you and create problems. The work can often be very isolating because the attorney can often spend days in the office working long hours with hardly any human contact, and it's not healthy from a psychological standpoint; working as a soldier is not easy.
You have to dedicate yourself, and working as a soldier in a law firm is often more difficult than being a soldier in other legal environments because it's simply not healthy from a psychological standpoint. Attorneys are working in law firms; they will be depressed, they'll have health problems many times, they'll have substance abuse problems, they'll have relationship or marital problems, and all sorts of things that, frankly, should be expected because the law firm is often unhealthy.
And, everything about it from a work environment standpoint is the opposite. Of what should be healthy, it's no wonder that young and unhappy soldiers working in these conditions want to become soldiers. They don't have any control. Everyone's telling them what to do.
You're not, and there's no, you're not connected with others. And so these pressures can happen often because you feel it will be challenging to get ahead. And so many things, they can drive talent and young attorneys crazy. And I'm talking to attorneys all the time.
Typically, the attorneys I speak with say things like this, or I'm sorry that they are, I'm just giving a kind of example. So the first one is like a very motivated young attorney who thinks they understand the system and think their superiors need to learn how things are done more commonly or think they should be making more money.
And they want to go. They. They want to do something. They want to go to another firm. It's going to offer them more opportunities. That's very common for partners who will listen or have higher salaries. And these attorneys don't pretend to really understand the system. Respect their superiors, and they're not overly concerned with compensation often because they're simply trying to improve their career.
They may look in because there's not enough work. After all, the attorney needs to get more experience in the practice here or just because they want to move to a better firm. And that's common as well. However, the attorneys work hard for a few years in a major law firm and may conclude that the system needs to be fixed.
Being a soldier and having to advance. And so they want to, often they decide they want to go in-house or to a boutique law firm with fewer demands. Thus, it's essential to think about the person as a soldier. They feel isolated, like there's no future, and want to go somewhere else where they can feel valued or don't have to worry about these things.
And a lot of times, what these attorneys are doing is they're unhappy. So they're making career choices. They will feel important if you go in-house and you can be the law firm's legal expert or work in a smaller firm and be respected for having worked in a big firm. You want to feel important.
Sometimes, they'll do something on their own. And a lot of times what happens is when these soldiers go into people that should be soldiers, go into these other environments, a lot of them fail. They're being motivated they're motivated by self-determination needs. If they were to stay in the practice of law as soldiers and become generals, they actually might succeed.
So, many times, all these things affect the soldier. Being a soldier is very hard, by the way. You're told to do all these things if you're a soldier, just working with other soldiers. You may be getting these orders. People above you do not often praise you.
And a lot of times, people don't realize this. They're so psychologically stressed about themselves, their current law firm environment, and the need for self-determination that they just don't realize what will happen. Attorneys, sometimes attorneys, want to feel confident.
So what they'll do is they will take these jobs that are beneath them, or they'll take jobs where they may be surrounded by others who they believe make them feel important. For example, the Harvard Law graduate working a public interest job after you're in a law firm, Harvard Law or Stanford or one of these great schools.
It goes to a law firm. They're depressed being a soldier inside of a law firm. They realize that's what it's about. So then they go in-house with a small company, or maybe the Yale graduate after working in one of these environments where they're not treated like a particular person and everything decides to teach law school.
Often, attorneys will drop out of large law firms And become solo practitioners. That's another one. Or they'll start a small business. And the idea is they want to feel competent. So if you're just thinking about this. If you're a Stanford Yale grad law graduate, working in a big law firm, and a first or second-year attorney.
You're basically, no one's making you feel necessary. No one's like making you feel like you're in control. You're taking orders from partners and part of a small part of the machine, and people don't like that. And that's why people from the best law schools are often not doing it.
They will do it for a year, but maybe that's it. Also, many people want to feel autonomous, meaning according to psychological principles, they want to feel in control and often take positions where they're in a position where no one's telling them what to do.
Think about that. So think about what, when I give resumes to people that many times have gone to these top law schools and had these incredible experiences, like maybe they've worked on the Supreme Court, maybe they were, had these incredible experiences. Law school pedigrees are things that look at what they do.
Look at someone like Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, who graduated. Bill Clinton graduated from Yale Law School. What does he do? He goes and teaches at the University of Arkansas Law School, where he's like the big guy. What does Obama do? He does something very similar. He works during the summer and realizes he needs to get a special barrister.
He got a job teaching at the University of Chicago a month ago. You just have to see what these people are doing. Very talented people, a lot of times they won't work in law firms. They want to do something where they feel autonomous. And so they'll often start their law firms.
That's another comment. The other day, I read about a successful Harvard Law School graduate. One of the most successful, it's incredible, graduated from Harvard Law School at 19. And, but these people, he went and started his firm. People will often start their firms.
Sometimes, they'll find jobs that allow them to work unsupervised. Sometimes, it's in government, they'll do fellowships, they'll do public interest. Sometimes, we'll just start businesses, meaning I don't want to be in this law firm, and they'll do other things that will allow them more freedom.
And sometimes we'll write a book. Other times, they'll become a legal recruiter. That's a big, another big one. That's what I did. My job is out of control. I'm just taking orders. It's very unpleasant. What am I supposed to do? I think this is how people think they may become sports agents.
Mortgage brokers, contract attorneys. That's another big one. So people become contract attorneys when they have these great backgrounds because they're suddenly not accountable to anyone. They can; their time is autonomous. They may become real estate investors or agents who know anything or something else.
And they make the choice they do because they want to feel autonomous. They want to feel like that; they want to feel like they're autonomous. And they want to feel like they're in control. Think about this connection. Often, the attorney who wants connection will seek out environments where they feel respected.
So then they join law firms composed of people like themselves, meaning a bunch of people that work in big law firms and good schools. Now they're at this little boutique firm, but they all talk about their clerkships and law degrees, or sometimes they return to school. That's very common.
They'll go back to school and they go to business school to get a, who knows, master's degree. Sometimes, they'll go into the government or public interest. I've seen people start yoga studios and Pilates studios. I've seen that very recently. And this connection. Often, they go to great lengths. They want what they're missing in the law firm is that connection.
And so they'll find work where they can experience connections with others. And often what they're doing, so that you understand, is they're trying to be generals. And they're trying to, they're trying to be in control. Instead of learning the ropes in the law firm, they'll do other things as we advance and play that game.
A lot of times, when they go in-house, which is the need for control and autonomy and all those things, they'll realize that they're expected to be soldiers there as well. And sometimes, we'll take jobs in smaller firms and realize they're expected to be soldiers there, too. So it's prevalent.
People go to boutique firms, and the boutiques are like, Oh, you'll have all this freedom. You're going to, and it's a lifestyle thing. So they get there. It's more of the same. They're expected to be soldiers there, too. Often, we'll take jobs that don't necessarily use their legal skills.
They realize they can't return to a law firm after doing that. Once you leave the law firm, you're in a position where it's difficult to return. Sometimes, we'll take jobs outside of the law or jobs that are only marginally making use of their legal skills and never make use of their potential as an attorney.
Other times, they'll want to be self-determined. They'll run and gravitate towards jobs where they feel important so they can feel like generals. They just can't take the pressure of being a soldier inside of a law firm. So I'm sorry for talking so much about this. It's essential because people are leaving.
Law firms before they should. What they're doing is they need to learn to be soldiers before they're generals. Becoming a general means you become a general when you're the best soldier, meaning you must learn to follow others. You have to learn all this stuff to be the best possible soldier you can be.
No one, though, will make anyone a general who hasn't become the best soldier and isn't showing they're willing to sacrifice as a soldier. And it's often work to be a good soldier inside a law firm. It takes work to be competent at that.
You have to think about this. Very few attorneys become excellent soldiers. It's just not a, not common. Most of them who become excellent soldiers are the same ones taken under the generals' wings in advance. Think about it. If you're working for a partner, Our partners in the law firm, and you're working as hard as you possibly can, doing what they say, and you're dedicated.
That's going to put you in a position where they're going to advance you. Of course, this is what generals do. They, if someone is dedicated to them. They will commit to that person. It's always been this way. You need to work; you need to walk before you can run.
And I tell so many qualified attorneys very highly that, you know, right where they are as soldiers is that there's no point of lateraling if they're lateral because they want to be soldiers. They say, oh, I want more freedom, or I want, I want all this stuff. But really, what they're saying is I don't like being a soldier.
Sometimes, they feel that laterally, they will change all these psychological issues and not feel competent, related, and autonomous. All these feelings go away with time. As the attorney learns the job, they get more responsibility. And they become better; all these things will eventually disappear when they become partners.
The whole point is learning and showing dedication to advance and become a general. You have to be... a soldier before you can become a general. So the next one is the general. They are all large, and this is what everyone wants to be, but all large law firms have this up-or-out system where most attorneys are expected to leave when they get more senior or they're asked to leave.
And it's just very, and so that's how it works. Some attorneys are asked to leave at their age or 10th year. Others are made partners and then given a few years to become self-sufficient. They make them, I don't know, non-equity or or whatever. And they give them a few years to get business.
But regardless of what happens, attorneys who are inside of law firms are expected to become generals. And if they don't become generals, they won't have job security. You have to ask, what is the general inside of a law firm? A general has their clients and generates work.
It's as simple as that. And the general gives orders, meaning they tell associates and staff what they should do. They're in control, and the general has control over destiny. It's excellent being a general. Generals can, If you have your own business, you can do pretty much anything you want.
You can move firms. You can, but you have control, and generals like being generals. Being a general is everything, being a soldier is not. You have competence. So, unlike us and being an associate, you typically feel competent because you're not, your work in the same way, in the way an associate isn't subject to constant criticism.
You're doing work for companies that are paying you for their expertise. And your opinions and work are respected by the soldiers. The soldiers are supposed to look up to you generally, and you're held in high regard by soldiers. They respect you. They talk to you as a soldier, and they're held in high regard.
They have meaning. Business partner generals typically feel in control of their lives and careers. Their compensation and success within the firm mean how much money they make is often a product and, most often, a product of how much business they bring in.
And they also can set the terms of how their work should be done, meaning they can give orders about everything. And then the psychological relatedness. There's a different competition to get ahead of. They're treated well by associates and others with whom they provide work.
They're respected. They speak with clients and connect with the clients who need them. And there's less psychological isolation as a general than as a soldier. And again, this is what you need to understand, and people miss the entire point.
Spending all this time as a soldier is to become a general. If the attorney succeeds and is happy to the extent that they can be, they can be effective as a general and attorney with the most business, for example. In power and the legal profession, they love their jobs.
They like what they're doing. Think about that. They do. They like their jobs and will often continue practicing these partners their entire careers because it's rewarding and psychologically healthy for them. And so when you think about being a soldier, it's not supposed to be fun.
And not every soldier expects to be around. Long enough to become a general, the general often has more authority, is respected, lives better, and is seen as happier than the soldier. Just think about the general in a large law firm: they make a good living, they're respected, they have a, typically, an excellent property or have homes, and they have just a better position, and soldiers often need to buckle down before they become generals.
Not every soldier can become a general. Think about it if you have... It's like that, and if you have a bunch of listed people, only some will become generals, just as in law firms. If you have a ton of associates in a large law firm, only some will become generals.
So, I speak with attorneys continuously, and there are different classes of them at times. Still, I speak with attorneys with a decade or more of experience at large law firms, and they're often gently nudged out because they don't have business and the law firm doesn't have work for them.
It's widespread for many attorneys in the lateral market to hit this bill. It's just a prevalent thing. And the attorneys that want to go in-house are fine. These attorneys who don't have any business need to either go in-house or find a law firm with a lot of work that can pay senior people without business.
And think about it: you're still a soldier when you're in that position. And at that point, when you get senior, people expect you to be a general, an old soldier. It is not necessarily a good thing that should have advanced and become something.
And a lot of time, those associates, another one, would have a decade or more of experience at the large law firms, and they're slowly developing a book of business. They're becoming competent in marketing, speaking, going to industry events, writing, etc. And they're often considered making the move because they feel there'd be more opportunities if they take their business books elsewhere.
And so these are attorneys slowly becoming generals, which is good. You want to become a general. A general has business. A general has control. And then, of course, some attorneys are generals with large business books. And they're looking for firms that will provide them with a better platform, better support, and more take-home pay.
But the problem for all lawyers in the law firm environment happens when they have ten or more years of experience, are still soldiers, and do not need to be. So, an attorney getting more senior and being asked to leave is being pushed out generally because they need to show the potential.
To be a general. That's just how it works. And the partner with no business or the council without business looking for jobs are not generals. They're looking like they're still soldiers. And then some attorneys are at the general level.
They may be partners, but they have a difficult time. They're only staying employed if you become generals. As a soldier, you can't; as you age, people do not like old soldiers. They want young soldiers and just how it works in a law firm. And often, when a more senior attorney is still a soldier.
That attorney will experience lots of stress because they're still soldiers. They don't have autonomy, competence, or psychological relatedness. And they've been in that position for a long time. They will be unhappy if the law firm environment doesn't provide them those opportunities for autonomy, competence, and psychological relatedness because they're still soldiers.
So think about how unhappy you could be in the law firm. If you just, you're always like a soldier, you never advance, it's not good. And many attorneys think business and major law firms are always unhappy, not all of them, but a lot of them, and so you need to understand that the whole point of being a soldier is to become a general.
And if you don't become a general, then you can; you're always maybe probably going to be unhappy. So you need to, at some point, transition to be in general. So here's a question: shouldn't an attorney go in-house or take a position outside a law firm?
That's the kind of question. In my position, I only make law firm placements. And the idea is that when it's clear that an attorney will never be a general, I recommend they go in-house. If someone becomes something other than the general, they can find in-house jobs on law crops and other sites.
And again, if you're not going to succeed as a general, you don't have the potential to be a general, then the law firm life is not something; in most cases, it will work for you. You should find a position inside of a company or maybe do something outside of the practice of law. Want to be a soldier forever.
I don't think some people are happy doing that. And that's fine. Many become seniors with no business work in law firms and are happy being soldiers. But from what I've seen, it's not a pleasant existence for many of us. And I think a lot of them are unhappy.
But you may have the psychological fortitude to be a good soldier and happy being a soldier. And you may get more senior, and the law firm you're in may have the work to keep you busy. And if that's the case, there's nothing wrong with staying a soldier as long as you can.
As long as you understand you can't remain a soldier forever and that your job as a soldier will generally end at some point. So, let's talk about generals and more minor battlefields, which is interesting.
So many attorneys make the mistake of believing that because they can't be a general in one firm, meaning like a considerable firm where it's tough to become general, they can't be a general in any firm.
Therefore, they need to go into the house and do something completely different, which is very risky, so I want to make sure that you understand that this is not always the case; it's tough, if not impossible, like at some firms like Cravath or Banks, to become a general, it's just very hard.
Thank you. And, being a general for a smaller firm for a smaller army is often much more accessible. Attorneys in significant law firms may often drop out of the law practice very early because they believe they'll fail based on how difficult it is to become a general wherever they work.
Think about it. How hard it has become for large law firms. The billing rates are very high. There are often potential clients, and being a general in the most prominent firms may be difficult. It isn't easy, but it's not the case.
If you're not generally the largest, most competitive market, you can also go into a smaller market, a smaller firm. And it would help if you thought about becoming a general because it is fun. It's a great position and something that many people want to do.
And it's it changes what it's like to be from being a soldier. And it's just much, much better. And really, this is the entire point of the law firm model. You come in, you're a soldier, and then you become a general. Generals have their clients because they have their clients.
They control their income, and they have people below them that are soldiers. So you're generally soldiers working for you; it's much better. You mentor others, have power and influence, and can move your practice. This is what partners do all the time. They can move their practice to another firm if they're unhappy.
They can let soldiers go. They said we can't afford you anymore. To save money if they get slow and their peers and subordinates respect them. Being a generalist is much different than Being a soldier, but becoming a general takes time and a lot of sacrifice. You can't just join a law firm and expect to become a general.
This is, I think, a critical point to understand that to succeed as a general, you need to spend time as a soldier, and if you don't become a general at your current firm, you can go to another firm and be a general and that's the whole point of practicing law.
When you think about it, there's, in the law firm, there's a lot of brilliance behind the law firm model because the attorneys with the most ambition, motivation, and smarts are put in law firms and told to do everything they can to succeed and to do this. They do it when they're young and have a lot of energy.
However, a lot of them need help understanding the system. So the way the system works is it will make them work like crazy for several years, and it's never going to tell them that they can only succeed if they become generals. But a lot of firms in this war are psychologically fed up.
Attorneys get conned and clarification doesn't help to understand. And instead of understanding that they commit and learn and get clients, they can become generalists. And, but they have a lot of attorneys who quit before that. And this is what law firms want.
Law firms want to bring in new soldiers. When specific soldiers get tired, aren't doing their job anymore, or just get fed up, they only want generals at the end because they make the entire program run so that you work. You work, and the idea is you eventually.
If you do what they want, you become a general. Earlier in their careers, many attorneys concluded they were no longer interested in working in a law firm. They decide this conclusion because they want to go in-house or work for the government.
Or make a different career very early in their careers, and partners in many law firms reach the same conclusion, and they often go in-house or do something earlier in their careers if they don't have a business. And so, the need to get out of law firms and other positions usually differs from where it all ends.
Most attorneys I speak with who lead law firms and go in-house have short tenures there. Some last a year, but very few last more than a few years. Many economic forces will remove these attorneys from in-house jobs, most of whom are unsatisfied.
They're leaving because they still don't feel rewarded and in control of their careers. They still feel a lot of control. They're in the house, and people aren't listening to them. They're not crazy. They have very little control over their compensation. And they realize. And sometimes, whatever they do, it doesn't matter a lot.
Regardless of what you do, whether in a law firm or the house, you want to become a general eventually, and you need to do this. Suppose you're ever going to be fulfilled practicing law. In that case, you need to work as a soldier, learn, dedicate yourself to the firm, and then want to become general, and really, the most angst and dissatisfaction with the law comes because people are soldiers and not generals.
And the only solution is to become the best soldier you can be. Along the way, learn how to become a general. So, I will take a quick break for a minute or two. And then, when I return, I will answer any questions anyone has. I do have a little bit of a hard stop today.
Cause I'm getting on a plane. So I will be, I won't take a ton of questions, but I'll take as many. If I can, and then next week if I don't get to your questions this week, I will ensure that I answer them at the beginning of the webinar next week. So thank you. And I'll just be back in a minute or two. Thanks.
Okay, just give me one second here. I will pull up a document to answer these questions, and yeah, I wish I wasn't pressed on time today. Usually, you have, on these webinars, I have all the time in the world to answer questions.
What's, but I'll answer as many as I can today. And then and then again next week, I'll try to be a lot more available for questions, hopefully. Give me one second. I'm just pulling my Zoom. This webinar today means the topic is, yeah, it seems interesting. There's a lot of things I've talked about.
The idea is that what's interesting about law firms is the longer you're in them, the more you understand. The kind of role needed in what you're supposed to be doing. So, how do you see this temperate courageousness aspect when you see someone having that?
Yeah, so I think that's a good point many times. If you're wholly miserable and don't see anything from this commitment and so forth leading anywhere, then I think it doesn't make sense to continue your actions. Sometimes, I think that when you look at many very successful attorneys.
They don't go into a law firm and stay there. It's just that they're too motivated. They feel almost like it's, I don't know how to put it, slavery or something along those lines. And they feel that they don't want to participate in that. They feel like they just don't want to be a full-time attorney.
If you're depressed and don't think anything will change, then. Then obviously working in a law firm is not for you. And that's the case for a lot of people. If you're unhappy, you should leave if you never see things changing.
And sometimes I did want to answer one other quick point, but if you're unhappy and it may be related to personal things happening in your life, my opinion is really, and I hate to say this, that any job you do should make you feel good. You should be excited about the work.
There may be temporary issues with it. Sometimes, I guess my grandfather used to say. That 80% of the work is routine, and you live for the other 20% that makes you happy. I don't know, that's one idea, but the point is that you should enjoy what you do.
You should be excited about getting up in the morning to do the work. You should enjoy your position and see if you don't enjoy it, which makes you unhappy. Then you know it's probably not something that will help you in the long run or something you shouldn't do in the long run, and I guess that's the best way to answer that question.
You can't do it if you're not excited about something, you don't see a future, if it doesn't excite you, and you believe that the cause of your unhappiness is that you don't think that even becoming a partner would make you happy. And of course, you're, you should, you should not do that. Okay, what techniques can lawyers employ to maintain their motivation and enthusiasm?
I'll just jump in. You, what you have to do is you have to you; to succeed, you have to start. This is a good point. So the question is, what strategy or techniques can lawyers employ to maintain their motivation and enthusiasm for the legal work while they're still taking orders and still need to be in a position to give them?
So, if you're in a law firm and need to be more motivated, enthusiastic, and taking orders, you need to start thinking positively of the people you work with. What am I saying? So it would help if you were excited about thinking positively of the people you're doing legal work for.
You need to think positively about the whole process. Thank you. What you're, everybody you're working with, and the work, you get excited about them. That's the way to do it. You have to tolerate it and see that something will align. And that's, in my opinion, probably the most effective way to work through all that.
In your experience, do you think there's a particular point in the lawyer's career to start transitioning from a soldier to a general, or is it a gradual process? How can lawyers recognize the right time to make this shift? You transition to a law firm based on your confidence as a soldier.
So that's the way it works. So, the more you dedicate to it, the more. The better you become, the more likely you will become. So, what happens in this kind of point webinar? What I was saying is that many people try to transition into being a general.
And by leaving the firm or entering something else before it's time. And so the longer you stick with a law firm, the more you feel like you can transition, the better off you'll be. I don't have time for a couple more questions. I'm sorry. So, your webinar highlights that everyone is cut out to be a general.
Can you discuss the eventual downsides or drawbacks of aspiring to be a leader in the legal field and how individuals can make informed decisions about pursuing this path? Okay. So, the idea of becoming a leader is just that the longer you do something, the more committed you are to something, and the more likely you will advance and become good at it.
So, every person in every profession. To succeed, they must go through a stage where they work for others and are apprenticing. And in terms of aspiring to be a leader, all you're doing is trying to become an expert in whatever you do. And then getting advanced by other people who are experts.
And so, making an informed decision about that means, can you commit to the law firm? Can you commit to the work you're doing? And can you see yourself advancing?
And that's really how. I think this is the last question I have time for today, but I'm sorry. You should have much longer webinars. If someone who has experienced both sides of the legal profession, what advice would you give to law students and young attorneys?
I'm trying to make an informed decision about their career path, considering the pros of working in a law firm versus starting your firm. The problem with starting your firm, so this is a good question. So, if you start your firm, especially as an early attorney, You'll never have big clients.
You never will; how can you attract large clients and considerable work? So you're going to do something other than that. The people that will do that will be, you know, people from big firms; people from the big firms attract the best clients. So the long and the more sophisticated work you'll be exposed to in a large firm.
So starting your firm can be a good decision. There are things you can do. Personal injury is often very smart, and people can do many different things if they want to start their firm. But I don't think starting your firm is a good idea unless you want to continue doing work that's not necessarily that important for smaller clients.
You'll never have access to large clients if you're just trying to have your firm. So that's the idea. So there's a couple of different points, and they're just, I'll make this, and then I got to go, but you have firms of different sizes and types of work.
So this is the largest firm. The clients spend the most money; you have these kinds of midsize firms. These firms are spending, the clients are also spending a lot of money, and then you get into kind of these midsize firms where the clients spend less. Then you get into smaller firms, which tend to be consumer firms, meaning they're representing people, and then you get to these firms, so this is what happens when you work in a large law firm.
The clients are willing to continue writing checks for different matters. And continue paying high hourly rates for your work, but the smaller, but if you start your firm like you're suddenly, you're going to be doing this kind of work, like for small companies that don't have a lot of money for individuals, don't have a lot of money.
Maybe you can get a few more prominent clients, but then, as you get into even the smaller firms, these people are just individuals who don't have big budgets. And they'll say, I can only pay 500 for this will. Whereas if you're working in a firm like this.
It might be a company, and if you stay in a large firm or even a mid-sized firm, you're going to have access to more prominent clients, more work, and the opportunity to make more money and also work on more sophisticated work. So that's how the whole process works. And really, the main thing that I guess I have to share about that.
Thank you for being a webinar. I apologize that it's a bit short today, and I must go. What I would say is I think maybe next week we'll do it. Resume review: I'm not 100 percent sure, but we will notify you if I can. And that is what we always try to do at the beginning of each quarter.
And that's always a very popular webinar. So you'll send you. Resume, and then we'll go over that, and I will. If you're on this webinar, I'll send out some information about that, and you'll get notified about the next webinar. Thank you for being on this today.
Again, I apologize for cutting a little short, but next week should be fun when your resume is helpful. Thanks.