Once upon a time, in a common law jurisdiction not that far away, there was a partner in a law firm who did what all good law firm partners do. He billed a lot. He brought in many clients. He trained the junior lawyers. He supervised the clerks. All in all, he was somewhat of a star. I will call him Earl.
I recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of one of the most significant events of my life.
Back on March 21, 2005, I came to what was, at the time, a stunning realization. I had accidentally fallen in love with a woman with whom I had been working very closely for six years. Luckily for me and all the other potential Defendants in this situation, she came to the same troubling realization about me at the exact same time.
I met Paul at my very first job as a lawyer. Paul was a commercial real estate lawyer. He was hard-working and extremely capable. Paul thought quite a bit of himself and other people who he considered to be intelligent and diligent. However, Paul did not suffer fools gladly.
Billings First, Babies Later
Some forty years ago, I knew a young lawyer in her third year of practice. My acquaintance had just given birth to her first child. She took what was then considered to be a lengthy maternity leave of 6 months (3 months being standard) before returning to work at a mid-sized downtown Toronto law firm, where she was the only female associate in her department and one of only three female lawyers in the firm. Having taken such a long maternity leave, the firm looked at her as a slacker.
Working To Be Relevant
I first met Lauren when he was a partner in a large Buffalo law firm which had a significant cross-border practice with an office in Toronto. Lauren practiced business law, although by the time that I met him he was spending a great deal of time on business development. His job involved significant travel between Buffalo and Toronto. Lauren was also quite active in an international legal association and travelled internationally as well.
Back in the day, the practice of law was considered to be a profession first, and a business second. Over the years, there was a great deal of talk about how lawyers had to recognize that the practice of law was also a business, and to become more business-like in their approach. I expect that this had a lot to do with some combination of law firms becoming less profitable and law partners, like many in the corporate sector, becoming greedier.