As lawyers are we content with the perception of the profession, with the common derogatory jokes that are bandied around, such as:
“When do you know a lawyer is telling the truth? When his lips are shut.”
Difficulties in Law
The profession has slowly come to recognise and acknowledge that within its ranks are people who suffer from depression. Which hasn’t always been easy when any form of weakness or frailties is seen as a “weak link. Not everyone is depressed, yet, there are others who are just plain miserable, due to being bullied, working long work hours with very little work life balance, little recognition with career advancement taking longer than expected, dissatisfaction with the practice of law and time billing for solicitors, amongst other things.
Lawyers are academically smart, generally articulate, have a high standard of living and social power, yet, some lawyers find themselves unhappy and dissatisfied within the profession. When this dissatisfaction is voiced, it is often ignored and devalued as the practice of law often fosters an unsustainable impersonal image. Holistically, the profession is not held in high esteem by the community, with the perception that lawyers are dishonest, involved in sharp business practices with clients and colleagues, have no morals or ethics and they just can’t be trusted.
Life In the Country
I lived in Parkes, country NSW, for 10 years when I was young and Im thankful I had the opportunity to live in the country as it reinforced important life lessons, which have continued with me in the practice of law today.
Country people usually don’t assess a person on their asset portfolio, or the make/model of their car, what title or job a person has, what a person’s last name is, what your mother and father did for work, or who or what a person is socially connected with or even what school a person attended………. in a small town usually there is only ONE!
If you are a successful business person in a small country town, you need
- be a “top bloke”
- good sense of humour
- honest and trustworthy
- community spirit
- treat people with respect and dignity
- concerned about their success of others as well as your own
Word Gets Around Town
Word gets around “town” and people will avoid your business, it will be excluded from “the community” if the above qualities are not displayed and practiced. The basis for success in business is people and their community which is based on trust, honesty, humour and cooperation.
Practice of Law in the City
Is the practice of law in a large city any different from conducting business in a small country town? In many practical ways….yes! However, the importance of community, trust, honesty, loyalty, respect, dignity, being true to your word and communicating openly and honestly with colleagues and clients, aren’t geographically specific, they are human specific.
Lets be mindful when dealing with each other in the legal profession we are all part of a small community, similar to living in a small town. The legal community and as individuals we have the opportunity to make others feel better and enjoy the practice of law, by something so simple, as how we treat people with a high moral compass!