Categories
Client Development

If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?

My father used to ask, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” 

There are probably a million things that are wrong with that question, but his basic point is worth considering. He was asking why it is that some people believe that they know better concerning just about everything, but they do not generate any results from their supposed brilliance.

Categories
The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

Things I Used to Think Were True

I said and thought a lot of stuff while I was practicing law. I believed every single bit of it. Over time I figured out that some of it was kind of dumb. Here are some of those gems:

Categories
Legal Fees

Let’s play Jeopardy: I’ll take ‘Expert in Ottawa’ for $300

When I practised law in Mississauga, Ont., our fees were cheap compared to the Toronto firms, and kind of expensive compared to firms in places like Guelph, Belleville and Kingston. I occasionally wondered whether my clients might prefer to deal with firms in smaller cities at lower rates. Then I would reassure myself that doing so would be terribly inconvenient for them and that they would rather pay more to deal with me.

Now I am not so sure.

Categories
Legal Fees

Evolution of the Billing Committee (Sounds Dull, But it Isn’t)

Categories
The Practice of Law

Who You Gonna Call?

My father told me about a dad who told his son to jump from a roof top, and that he would catch him. The son jumped. The dad stepped aside and let him fall. When the injured boy demanded an explanation, the dad replied, “I have just taught you a valuable lesson. Never trust anyone, not even your own father.”

As you may imagine, I had trust issues growing up, which is a bad thing. As it turns out, having a few trust issues may be helpful in the business world.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Be Sure You See the Candy First!

From time to time I hear stories about Big Law offering Big Money to attract first year lawyers to sign away their souls in Toronto, or U.S. firms opening the vaults and waving around signing bonuses to lure Canadian legal newbies south of the border.

While throwing money at junior folks can be a good thing, I think that a warning is in order. Since no one else appears to be issuing one, yet again it falls to me to cut through the bullshit, state the obvious, and protect the new generation of lawyers.

I will draw my inspiration from the love of my life, who, nurturing parent that she is, used to warn her young children about “Stranger Danger.”  More specifically, she would say: “Don’t be stupid about it. Be sure that you see the candy BEFORE you get in the van.”

I will leave it to you intelligent young folks to search for meaning in my warning and being lawyers, Govern Yourselves Accordingly.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Resigning as a Shareholder

I had only been a lawyer for a few months when I had my first shareholders dispute to deal with.

My boss told me to take the position with opposing counsel that his client’s resignation from “all positions with the corporation” included his resignation as a minority shareholder.  I told him that his argument was ridiculous. One cannot resign as a shareholder.

Categories
Client Development

Playing the Long Game

Entrepreneurs should always aim to play the long game. Instant gratification cannot build a legacy. —  Andrena Sawyer, business consultant

Matt is a rather humble business owner. He recently told me that, “the thing about bringing more intelligent people into the room is that it is so easy for me.”

Matt is also a very successful business owner. He gets it. His goal is not to prove to the world how smart he is. It is to build a business that provides a great service and makes customers happy.

Categories
The Practice of Law

Away “On Business”

Legal clients tend not to know the law, so they cannot judge their lawyer on how well they know their stuff.  Instead, they judge them on things that they do understand. Chief among those will be how they communicate.

In the picture that accompanies this post you will see a rather nice-looking boat which is named “On Business.”

Categories
Firm Culture

Skiing While Submerged

When I was a teenager, my buddy Bill took me waterskiing. For those of you who do not water ski, you learn to ski on two skis which is easy, then to ‘drop a ski’ which is harder, and finally to start on one ski. That was what I was trying to do.  

Bill said that I was the only person who he ever saw who was still holding onto the rope ten feet under water. An exaggeration perhaps, but sometimes I really do not know when to give up.