Celebrate Freedom: Take Stock in What it Really Means

I’ve been enjoying a few days at the beach in the run up to the July 4th Holiday. This is a pretty big holiday in the United States especially when we have so many men and women deployed in foreign lands fighting what is increasingly becoming an unpopular war. Of course my wife and I’ve soaked up the sun and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the ocean.

On July 4th we watched the “rockets red glare” during a pretty spectacular fireworks display in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. All of this has caused me to do some thinking and reflecting about the idea of celebrating and enjoying freedom.

As Thomas Jefferson, who was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767, labored over the Declaration of Independence he wanted to write a document that would establish clearly the right of self-determination. A declaration that here we would not be subject to the rule of the British Crown.

The Declaration of Independence was the foundational instrument for a fledgling nation yet to be formed. As a result of his work, and the work of many others, our nation has long persevered during both good times and bad.

Is there room for improvement in the United States? Yes, certainly. However, having traveled in over 20 countries outside the States, rest assured that we are in a pretty good position here.

As a general principle we are free to develop ourselves and our businesses to whatever extent we desire. Our limitation is generally not the government, not “circumstances”, but really we are our own limitation.

Recognize that we have a choice to

– – Practice Law or Not; There are lots of good uses for legal training;

– – Private Practice or Corporate Counsel or Government Counsel

– – Big Firm, Small Firm, No Firm

Recognize that we have a choice on who we represent. Sometimes under the pressure of the next payroll or the quarterly numbers we forget this very special freedom. We are free to “Just say No.”

Sometimes I think we should say no more often. If you’re feeling uncomfortable at the first meeting with a client, perhaps that’s your intuition that this is one you should pass on. Say no when it’s not a good fit. It’s better for you; better for the client; and better for the profession.

Recognize that Clients have a choice too. We all already know this, but we need to be re-reminded.

We need to be re-reminded because it’s important not to forget what a special honor it is when someone or some company entrusts you with its legal needs. The problem may be small or may be big. It may involve money or liberty. When a prospective client says, “I want you,” your should beam a little brighter. Of all the lawyers in your town, your state or your country, you were chosen. Be careful never to miss the significance of that choice.

Because clients have entrusted their legal needs to you (notice the word [en-trust-ed]? Treat the relationship as a special trust.

Do all you can do. Do everything you say you will do. Do it the very best you can do.

When you do that, i.e. give your very best effort, you’ve honored that trust that was invested in you.

When I think about freedom this way I really have a reason to celebrate.

We have just 6 more months in this calendar year. Who else will trust you and how will you celebrate the freedom expressed by that choice?

I’d love to hear you thoughts in the comments below.

Talk soon,

Dan Scott

The Lawyers Coach

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