It is said there are no such things as happy lawyers, only happy people who made serious career mistakes. After all, the stereotyped attorney is a grumpy professional, surly, growling at the world through rapacious teeth just looking for a fight.
In actuality, while there are some of those out there, they do tend to prematurely “self-deport” from the profession after massive strokes and heart attacks when they’ve won the legal fight but lost the war of living a meaningful life. And I have known many of them. Their family mourns them, few others do.
I’m happy to report that most lawyers I know are downright pleasant people out to do a job, professionally and zealously for their clients without being complete nimrods. In fact, regardless of what you’ve heard, the successful attorney is the one who treats everyone equally – their staff, their clients, other lawyers, judges and judges’ assistants (especially judges’ assistants!) – with utmost respect and decency. And you should respect your attorney, without fearing him or her. The art of Law is persuasion, persuasion is communication and without decent communication with your professional, you have very little. And if he or she doesn’t communicate well with you, how well do you think they’re doing with the other side?
As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to thank all the meaningful people in my little legal universe. From my law partner of 25 years, to our fantastic and dedicated staff, to our loyal clients and former clients who refer me so much business, thank you. To my friends who have helped me through a tough year with Mom’s illness, an office move after so many years in the same place, helped me Chair a huge and successful charitable event, thank you. To my web guy, Igor Bubis who has optimized my website and quite literally put me on the internet map with my website, my Facebook presence and my weekly blog, thanks! In less than one year I have gotten more new business than I ever would have thought.
I’ll bet you have as many people to be thankful for as well. Don’t let this Thanksgiving go without acknowledging all things big-and-small your friends, family and colleagues have shown to you. And be happy for a time. Happiness is not a permanent state (as I’ve discussed with my good friend, Paul), but periodically it’s good to reflect, take a moment and be happy.