Jun 20, 2014 In the heat of battle, and always, it is all about service
Recently, a colleague, unsolicited, told me that business had slowed down for him recently. He thought this was related to fewer arrests in the county where he is based. This colleague has been practicing criminal defense for several decades, and apparently is good at it.
Having been my own boss for sixteen years, I see that everything always evens out, and that each month I earn an income that I am pleased with. I do not keep my eggs all in one jurisdictional basket other than that most of my work is in the Northern Virginia courts, particularly in Fairfax and Arlington. The vast majority of my legal work is in criminal defense, and I also have handled student discipline defense and some interesting civil litigation, including libel defense and adult entertainment defense. Mine is a civil liberties defense law practice mainly focused on criminal defense. I love the work I do and love enhancing my abilities daily.
My colleague who spoke of a shortfall in business is someone I respect very much. However, I look at my law practice as a service career, not as a business. Also, seeing that I came through fine in the deepest depths of the recession, any shortfall is temporary for me. Here is more of how I view the financial aspect of being my own boss:
– The late great jazz pianist Bill Evans hit the nail on the head many decades ago, in exclaiming: "Ultimately I came to the conclusion that all I must do is take care of the music, even if I do it in a closet, and if I really do that, someone is going to come and open the door to the closet and say ‘Hey, we’re looking for you.’" Evans served the music and his audiences. I serve my clients and my constant development as a lawyer. When I am absorbed in serving, the income naturally follows. If I kvetch about income, all that would do would be to debilitate me. Success is about disintegrating barriers, not in dwelling on nor creating nor exaggerating them.
– The three basics of effective trial advocacy, and persuasion beyond the law, are knowledge/intelligence/preparation, skill/experience, and passion/conviction. They all need to be synthesized into a harmonious whole.
– My teacher Ram Dass focuses heavily on loving everyone, serving everyone, and remembering to show gratitude. So long as one is selfless about being on such a path, the bounty of life will follow, so long as one does not take this path in order to be bountiful.
– In the heat of litigation battle, income levels need to be the farthest thing from a lawyer’s mind. The courtroom fight is what it is all about.
Deeply thanking and bowing to my teachers who have helped me find, enhance, and stay on this path.