by Brenda Speer
This post first appeared on the SOLOinCOLO blog,
an online community of Colorado solo and small firm attorneys.
It’s the time of year when we give thanks, assess the year that has passed and plan for the year ahead. Although I am thankful for many people and events in my life, I have never really reflected on whether I am thankful for being an attorney. Upon reflection, I find that I am.
I am thankful for the legal profession that has kept me challenged and gainfully employed for more than 23 years. I enjoy reading, writing, research, analysis and problem solving—all skills I use every day in my law practice. After all these years I find that being an attorney is a suitable match for me.
I am thankful for my solo/small firm practice that enables me to choose the cases and clients I want to represent which results in the aforementioned appreciation and payment, as well as a self-directed work load and lifestyle. At times the monetary reward is better than others, but I alone am mistress of my fate.
I am thankful for clients who listen to and heed my advice and show their appreciation by prompt payment in full. I’ve even received cards, hugs and homemade cookies as thanks!
I am thankful for generous colleagues who are willing to advise, guide and mentor me and share their wisdom, knowledge, work-product and hard-learned lessons of the legal profession. I try to return the favor when called upon by my colleagues.
I am thankful for opposing parties and attorneys who try to resolve problems outside of a lawsuit and the courtroom, rather than thumbing their noses at my client and me and responding with a triple-dog-dare-you etiquette breach of “Sue me!” If a client is in the wrong, then he or she should be counseled to offer an apology and a settlement at the outset and save all of the parties a lot of time, money, effort and emotional grief and spare them a protracted dispute. Not only is it our professional, ethical duty to do so, but also just plain good manners and civil behavior to guide our clients along the path of resolution rather than vengeance.
I am thankful for never having had a grievance or malpractice claim in more than 23 years of practice. I will, however, continue to carry professional liability insurance and hope I never have to use it—the same can be said for all the other business and personal insurance policies I have. So far, I’ve been very fortunate in that I have only had a few minor, property-related claims (stuff can be replaced).
I am thankful for working with a like-minded attorney who shares my views on practicing the law, counseling clients and running our office. We have fun working and hanging out together, to include our occasional, in-house, Friday afternoon happy hour. After all, a girl’s gotta have some perqs for being self-employed.
I am thankful for having had to date a half-century of charmed life.
I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
© 2012 BL Speer & Associates