Excellence in Professional Practice: Post #4: Do Work That Matters

“The world has changed (again) and the stakes are higher than ever. Now we’re facing a full-fledged revolution – a hypercompetitive world involving art and gifts and fear and the ability for you (for anyone) to make an indispensable contribution to something that you care about. If you’re not indispensable (yet) it’s because you haven’t made that choice.”

Seth Godin, Linchpin

If you haven’t read Linchpin then make sure it is on your Christmas list. It has recently been released as a Vook. It is a Call to Action but, perhaps, more than that, it challenges us all to question whether the work that we do matters.

Nb. At this point there could be a fork in the road: the work could be what you do as lawyers; or being a lawyer. You decide. I have decided on the former simply because I expect that most people are not quite ready to give up on a career/profession when you have invested such a large part of your life, energy and ideals in succeeding.

As a lawyer in private practice, I started off with grand ideals – not quite to change the world but not far short of that – and ended up working in Cubicle City, being driven on to deliver an ever more efficient performance and BILL, BILL, BILL. Yes, there were times when I regaled against the system but I was a fairly compliant cog in a larger wheel.

However, even this grinding, incessant process wasn’t enough to destroy my passion to do my very best work, and to make a difference. This wasn’t always possible, and I suppose in the end it was one of the reasons that did for me in deciding to step away from practice, but I certainly wouldn’t have dreamt of going through the motions just for the sake of a bill or two.

Some people liked to describe me as a perfectionist – maybe I was – but one thing that I would not be shaken from was making sure that every letter, email and document was the very best it could be. And I expected no less from those people that I worked with.

Right now, and even allowing for these desperate times, I don’t understand lawyers in private practice who sit there day after day moaning, whinging and belittling about the work or worse still the client.

If it’s that bad then, for heaven’s sake, do something else – something that truly matters to you.

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