I practiced law a long time. I’ve been around thousands of lawyers in the US and Canada.
The lawyers I’ve met who feel most fulfilled in their careers are not necessarily the top rainmakers in their firms and not necessarily those lawyers who have achieved fame. They are the lawyers who feel fulfilled because they are serving clients and making some kind of meaningful contribution to something greater than themselves.
I thought about this all week and especially Saturday as I watched Pope Francis stopping his motorcade to bless a young boy suffering from cerebral palsy.
I thought about it again yesterday, when Patrick, our Prosper United Methodist Church Director of Youth Ministries delivered the message. He began with a Yogi Berra quote (very appropriate for this week):
It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.
I think many lawyers would argue that you can’t be a successful lawyer and be humble or show humility. I understand, but I believe they may be misinterpreting what it means.
Maybe this will help. C.S. Lewis described humility this way:
So, as a lawyer, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking more about the clients you serve.
Later in his message, our youth director shared with us a specific example: Mr. Rogers.
He played a video clip from Fred Rogers Induction into the TV Hall of Fame. If you want some inspiration for the week, I invite you to watch just 6 minutes, which is in this YouTube clip. When you watch simply substitute lawyer for the TV professionals.
Fred Rogers begins his Hall of Fame induction speech by reminding us that “Fame” is just a four letter word, like many other four letter words.
What ultimately matters is what we do with it. Those of us in television (law) are chosen to be servants….We are chosen to meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen (those who need our help.)
I believe the greatest joy I experienced practicing law was not when I landed a big client, not when I had a great year, not when I won a big case. Instead, it was those times when I helped someone who desperately needed my help and who I knew would never be able to pay me.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about one client named Rachel: Why is “Pro Bono” so fulfilling?
It’s been well over 20 years ago now, but I still remember the look on Rachel’s face, and the hug she gave me, when we successfully dealt with the issue she was facing.
I think Yogi was on to something. If you have a moment and wish to do so, please offer a comment and share a time when what you did as a lawyer made an impact on someone’s life.