I love coaching highly motivated lawyers and enjoy getting to learn about their families. Lamson Dugan partner, Anne Marie O’Brien is one of my favorites. If you could spend five minutes around her, you would know why. She is so enthusiastic and so very thoughtful.
I remember one coaching session with Anne Marie, when she walked into our session with a book: The Great Bridge. I had enjoyed David McCullough’s books 1776 and Adams, but was not aware he had written about the Brooklyn Bridge until Ann Marie gave me the book.
Ann Marie has not only been a successful lawyer, but she has also raised a great group of young folks, most recently as a widow. I think she has some great ideas for all parents:
In the photo left to right: Andrew O’Brien, 23; Katie O’Brien, 25, John-Connor O’Brien, 21, Patricia O’Brien, 24; and Nicholas O’Brien, 18.
I asked Anne Marie to share some thoughts with you about her work and raising her kids. Here is what she shared with me:
Practicing Law and Parenting an Irish Tribe: 14 Tips.
- It is not glamorous; often it is plodding and tedious but the long term rewards are quietly magnificent.
- It is mostly crowd control. No shouting, no fighting; no jostling for supremacy. How you choose to travel the longer road is the greater measure of a man.
- There is forced affection by the minions through gritted teeth, but it serves a higher purpose.
- Treat everyone with respect, even if that is a challenge. It creates a culture of dignity that will elevate everyone’s behavior.
- Duct tape can be used to divide a room between warring brothers, but it can also patch things up and create art out of utility.
- Do not needlessly waste energy on territorial issues that have no long term meaning. Give them up. A real leader is never petty.
- Keep a gently loose sense of determined order. It makes everyone more comfortable and more productive. It also gives you direction on how to “right the ship” when you find it to be listing.
- Get a short and a long term strategy. Follow it. It will dictate your methods, which have equal resonance. How you get to success is just as important as actually achieving it.
- Use reverberant themes that are consistently repeated: “Those are not our family values.” “Don’t advertise what is not for sale.” “We do not break the law; we uphold it in this family.”
- “If wishes were horses, all the kings men would ride.” “This is a benevolent dictatorship.” “When you are off my payroll, you can do as you please.” Repetition is the key to comprehension.
- Be creative! Both work and home life should be curious and inventive!
- Share your vision with your team. Assistants (and children) want to be a part of something greater than themselves and their day to day tasks. How can feel they are part of your team if they do not know the direction in which you are heading?
- Apologize. We are fallible. It is not weakness to acknowledge error. It gives others permission to acknowledge error too.
- Be happy! It is infectious! This work is never dull, never boring, always challenging, and filled with small but great rewards. The hardest worker always wins, in some way or another.