Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My Top Ten for Being Your Own Boss in Law

I was recently asked by a friend why I do what I do. I.e. Why did I start up my own law firm, and why I chose to practice in a relatively smaller community? I answered him with the following list of reasons why I chose to do what I do:

10: I hate having a boss. I made a resolution when I graduated law that I would never use a resume again. So far, so good.

9: I hate having a glass ceiling in terms of income. I want my income to be based on the work that I put in each day. So far, so good.

8: Sometimes I feel lazy (not often, but sometimes), and I want the choice to be lazy. So far, so good.

7: I hate big cities. I lived in one most of my life. I hope to never go back. So far, so good.

6: I like the extra hours of sunshine in this part of the world. (I live in Southern Alberta)

5: I like proving people wrong. I don't like naysayers, and don't invite them into my life.

4: I like practicing law, but I like building things better. I want to build the largest and best law firm in Southern Alberta. I'm on my way.

3: I like clients. I find them fascinating. Doing this allows me to be with MY clients each and every day.

2: There are a lot of bad lawyers out there. I would rather be on the other side of a file from a bad lawyer than working with one. Thus, why I want to have autonomy in choosing who I work with.

1: I really, really love my kids. I want to be with them as much as possible, I want them to have a better life than I did as a kid, and I want to give them opportunities only limited by their own imaginations. Being my own boss allows this for me. I want all associates and partners in my firm to have this same opportunity (if they want it). Shaun (my firm partner) also has a young son, and loves to be with him as much as possible. Money is good, but it's not everything. Being a member of our firm allows you to choose how you want to balance money and other things in your life.

Writing these things down was a real wake-up call for me, and has made me feel happier ever since. This route isn't for everyone, but so far, for me, it has been the best possible route I could imagine. Others I have spoken with have said they would be scared #*!?less about going out on their own. But, the truth is that the majority of lawyers practice in solo or very small firms. There must be some good reason for that. What do you think?

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