This past week, I celebrated my three-year mark as a young lawyer. Three years feels much different than two and markedly unlike one. I’ve said in the past that the practice of law is just that, a practice. As days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and those months into years, we as lawyers must constantly strive to become better counselors and recognize the lessons in life’s everyday challenges.
For me, the last year has been the most challenging – yet rewarding – of my practice. Both the challenges and the rewards are reflected in the following three lessons from three years out.
- There is no substitute for faith
Faith in God. Faith in yourself. Faith in your family, friends and loved ones. Faith in your clients. Faith in your attorney. There is no substitute for faith. The most rewarding phases of my life have been those where I put my faith at the center of everything I did.
The same principle has applied to my practice. When facing a difficult decision, a great attorney once counseled me with this pearl of wisdom: “take the high road.” Sadly in our profession, that road has become the one less traveled. Faith in my Creator and a higher purpose gives me the strength everyday to take the high road in my practice; to do the right thing.
I encourage others in my profession to remember this next time you are faced with a difficult decision. Please, take the high road; do the right thing. I promise you, this investment in our profession will return dividends.
- True joy sprouts from serving others
In The Path of the Law, Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. writes: “certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.” This quote harbors my favorite aspect of being a lawyer: helping others.
In my career and my civic life, there has been no greater joy than that derived from service to others. Whether it’s a grateful client, a laughing child, or a proud mother, unadulterated happiness sprouts from a selfless devotion to others.
As lawyers, another investment we must make is a commitment to public service. I can tell you from personal experience, it will not only make you a better person, but a better lawyer.
- Clients hire lawyers, not law firms
Tying it all together, this past year I’ve had to confront my biggest fear as a young lawyer: finding clients. So far, thanks be to God (Lesson One) and service to others (Lesson Two), success has come and clients have found me. It’s been the highlight of my career. Every day I am blessed to wakeup and go to battle for MY clients.
When I decided to start a personal injury practice in Tampa, I had my doubts. Tampa Personal injury lawyers and their billboards are as ubiquitous here as palm trees and sunshine. Why would an injured person call me instead of the next talking head or some number on a swagger-clad billboard?
The answer I’ve learned is simple. Clients hire lawyers, not law firms. I’ve been off to a great start because my clients have seen something unique in me. I am grateful to my clients every single day for having the faith and confidence in me to fight for them; for giving me the opportunity to represent them with faith, selfless service, and a little bit of me.
To all of those who have loved, believed, and supported me throughout these past three years, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you. I am excited to continue down this path with you.