Make waves: The beauty of charting your own course
Law school teaches students to think like lawyers. But no textbook teaches lawyers to think like entrepreneurs. Lack of exposure to business fundamentals on the “front-end” leads to top-performing lawyers being “stuck” later in life. We’ve all known the boundlessly ambitious and clever peer with so much to offer who gets lost in a firm’s sea of suits.

Setting off without existing frameworks or crews isn’t for everyone. But the traditional professional development ladder doesn’t account for opportunities outside of lawyer as employee, journeying up to partner. Likewise, the courage and vision to be “lawyer as entrepreneur” isn’t enough for a firm to be successful. The most astute legal eagles may not be equipped with necessary business knowledge. There are no mandatory business courses. Legal societies provide mentors but lack simple business guidance.
The greater the risk, the greater the reward.
Mississauga, Ontario-based Employment Lawyer Gary Bennett discussed the joys of charting a course with Dominate Law’s Naren Arulrajah. A “lawyer in training” since age 9, Bennett founded GAB Law Firm and House of Law, a business center that provides mentorship in areas traditionally ignored by universities and industry organizations. Bennett likens his career “voyage” to taking a yacht versus a cruise liner. The joys of navigating the craft are many:
  • “Own” your time.
  • Don’t let target bill-able hours dictate your schedule.
  • Set and adjust hourly rates.
  • Case and client selection is purpose-driven, not profit-driven.
  • Maintain fulfilling personal relationships. Build meaningful client relationships.
Visit the “Podcast Show” tab to hear more from Gary and get inspired to explore all the possibilities!
Nurture a few amazing relationships; toast to a long, happy life!
An unprecedented longitudinal study designed to unlock the keys to lifelong health and happiness turned 80 years old this year. The Harvard Study of Adult Development found the greatest predictor of long-term happiness wasn’t money, fame, or even the number of individuals in study subjects’ circles; it was close relationships. Sense of community appears to protect against mental and physical decline. In fact, subjects’ level of satisfaction in relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than cholesterol levels!

The study resonated with Civil Rights and Employment Lawyer Jim DeSimone. The founder of V. James DeSimone Law in Los Angeles spoke with Dominate Law’s Naren Arulrajah about the power of passion and purpose. The lessons learned over his 33-year career revolved around relationships, and not only those that are more personal in nature but also with other attorneys, peers, staff, and clients:
  • Surround yourself with people who bring as much if not more to the table than you do.
  • Associate with those who have a shared passion and a willingness to work hard, but also value the importance of work-life balance.
  • Go to seminars. Hone skills. Make time to help peers.
  • Hire for more than technical skills; talent must “play nice with others.”
  • All it takes is one person to suck the life out of an office. Let go of dead weight.
  • All team members must authentically serve their “fans”: the clients.
  • If you aren’t staying true to your passion at work, volunteer!
Don’t be resigned to do something you don’t want to do. Know opportunities often present themselves in the most unlikely of places. Seize more of Jim’s knowledge. Listen to the full episode on the “Podcast Shows” page.
Are these 4-plus mistakes holding you and your practice back?
“Outsiders” don’t realize the law is as much, if not more so, a skills-based pursuit as it is an intellectual- or educational-based pursuit. While it may seem counterintuitive, wipe the slate clean of the thinking law school encouraged or rewarded, which may actually be holding you and your practice back from realizing full potential.

Civil Rights Attorney Larry Organ shared what he learned through trial and error over a 20-year career, with Dominate Law’s Naren Arulrajah. The destructive effects of bias are something Organ and his team at the Bay Area California Civil Rights Group deal with on a day-to-day basis. We all have inherent biases, shaped by factors like our respective cultural heritage. It’s what we do with that bias that makes a difference. Is the bias acted upon? Or is it overcome to achieve a better self?

You may be stuck with preconceived notions about the business of law. These prejudices can hinder your productivity, work culture, and ultimately profit. Organ pulled back the curtain on a few of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” behind running a successful firm:
  • Do create an “investment opportunity” for others, and an organization associates will be inspired to own.
  • Don’t fail to learn from others.
  • Do have mentors in both the legal and business worlds.
  • Don’t assume you “know everything” because of your business law and corporate Courses.
  • Do realize the above courses prepare you for how the law affects business, but not for owning a legal business.
  • Don’t skimp on training. Better employees are created. Plus, employees that feel cared for stick around.
  • Do motivate talented employees around a bigger purpose.
  • Don’t lose your humility.
Larry welcomes your questions. To learn (and hear!) more, visit the “Podcast Show” tab at www.DominateLaw.com.
     
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