This week in Young, Hungry & Committed, virtual office NYC attorney, Vivian Sobers, reflects on the successes of 2013 after starting a law firm directly after law school graduation, and resolves to be as committed as ever in 2014.
As the New Year approaches – Happy New Years everyone – I find myself in that familiar state of year-end reflection. I guess it is human nature. We measure our lives through milestones. As one milestone approaches, we reflect on how our lives have changed over the time since the previous one.
New Years is the best example of that. We look at it as a time of re-birth. We even resolve to to fix what we perceive as our shortcomings over the past year.
As I look back over last year in my life (a milestone) and the last year and two months since I began my solo practice just months after graduating law school (a milestone), I am pretty happy with the trajectory I am on.
Sure, I could resolve to be less panicked. Sure, I can resolve to prioritize my relationship over my professional life. Sure, I can resolve to overcome my irrational self-doubt. Resolutions are truly democratic. Everyone can make them.
As solo attorneys, the decisions we make are a constant balancing of the equities. Choosing to resolve one behavior has real life consequences to a pre-existing behavior. You have to take a hard look at what you are choosing to change starting January 1, 2014. As lawyers, some of the things other professionals are trying to change in the upcoming year are the things that make us, as lawyers, successful.
For example, as a wife, I could probably do a better job at giving my relationship greater priority. Sometimes I feel bad for my husband. I take client phone calls at all hours. It is hard to make plans for Saturday afternoons.
Actually, it is really easy to make plans for Saturday afternoons. Keeping them is a whole different story.
I often meet clients on their schedules. Most of them have day-jobs, so Saturday afternoon is a prime time. I am lucky that my NYC shared office space is open Saturdays so I can meet my clients there when I need to.
If I resolve to place my husband and marriage first 100% of the time, if I warp myself into the dutiful and obedient wife you read about in childhood fairytales, I would be sacrificing one of the main reasons clients retain my services: drive. Clients retain me, and solo attorneys like you, because we are available when they need us. And sometimes, they need us during previously scheduled “relationship time.”
If I resolve to change one part of me, so will a different and equally good part – likely to my clients chagrin. If I resolve to overcome my self-doubt, I might get complacent and not do the copious amounts of research I do for every case in over-preparation, just in case. If I resolve to panic less, I might get jaded and lose the personal involvement I have in every case that drives me to zealously advocate for clients to the bitter end.
Do you see where I am going?
Instead of resolving to change things during the coming year, I resolve to continue my behaviors just as if every day was December 31, 2013. I resolve to continue waking up in cold sweats wondering where more clients are going to come from. I resolve to continually go to horrendous networking events and shake hands with telecommunications sales people even though I know they just want to sell me a phone system and use me for my contacts. I resolve to work so hard people call me a bitch. These perceived shortcomings are what makes us the best at what we do. It is why clients in need choose us.
Basically, I resolve to be a solo lawyer, who works her ass off to juggle a million different things every day. Why? Because I made a resolution a long time ago to do what makes me happy. That might be the only resolution I have ever kept. I urge all of you to resolve to do exactly what you do everyday as well.
Wishing you happiness, peace and prosperity in the coming year.
My name is Vivian Sobers. I am young, hungry and resolved to be as committed as ever in 2014….
Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.
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