Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Faithful readers, I am about to leave for a long vacation, I'll be away from my desk until January 3.  I suspect I'll not be blogging once I disconnect from the legal profession later today.  I plan to spend a good portion of that time at parties and holiday events, which reminded me that December is usually a good time to be comment on the hazards of drinking and lawyering.  A recent post at Above The Law  described an innovative on-line support for lawyers with substance abuse problems, and noted that 

Actually, attorneys overindulge a lot. A Guardian story from Saturday said, “Research suggests 15-24% of lawyers will suffer from alcoholism during their careers.” That’s almost a quarter of the profession, and a lot higher than the general population.
Why are lawyers so hammered all the time? Our own Elie Mystal has one theory: “If doctors or pilots drink, they kill people. If CEOs or accountants drink, they lose tons of money. If lawyers drink, they… have to proofread their work in the morning? Lawyers drink because they can, if you could drink more, you probably would.” Roger Sterling from Mad Men would most certainly agree.  
I think that's a little flippant.  Addicted lawyers have an awful lot to lose and can hurt a lot of people.  For more thoughts and some resources in the various states, there are some resources here.  
I wish you all a healthy, joyful holiday season.  Enjoy the parties, network your little hearts out, and I'll see you in January.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brands, Revisited

My marketing folks are hounding me for an update of my marketing plan, a raft of holiday networking events are around the corner, and all I can think about is vacation.  The last thing I want to ponder at the moment is my personal "brand" as a lawyer.  But that's the lazy side of me.  Holiday cards, client gifts, and social events are ripe opportunities for reinforcing the professional image I want my network to remember.  And that network includes current and prospective clients, as well as current and prospective referral sources (which is, well, everybody).  Some good ideas can be found in What is Your Personal Brand and is it Effective? by Katy Goshtasbi, and at some of my previous posts on branding and networks.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hard Work or Luck? or Both?

Last week Jim Collins and Morten Hansen reported on their recent research on luck for the New York Times in What's Luck Got to Do With It?   Their analysis of "return on luck" and what differentiates those who take advantage of luck--good or bad--is worth pondering.  They wrote

"When we examined less successful companies, we saw a generally poor overall return on luck. Some of the comparison cases had extraordinary sequences of good luck yet showed a spectacular ability to fritter that luck away. When the time came to execute on their good fortune, they stumbled. They didn’t fail for lack of good luck. They failed for lack of superb execution."

Can you think of any lawyers who struggle to develop a private practice, despite having a great education, good community or family networks, and the ability to be a good lawyer?  I can think of a few who have a spectacular ability to fritter luck away.  

On the other hand, what about those who face extraordinary bad luck and yet make superbly good lemonade?  

"They use difficulty as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity and heighten productive paranoia — translating fear into extensive preparation and calm, clearheaded action. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness."

It still comes down to preparation and action.  More of my thoughts about luck were in an earlier post,  Luck.  At the time I ran a survey in the sidebar to see whether my readers agreed.  Just for fun let's see what kind of responses I get to this one.