As humans whose employment is in law do we define and value ourselves because of our prestigious positions i.e. Solicitor, Associate, Senior Associate, Partner, Barrister, SC or Judge. Or maybe our authority and leadership role or our intellectual capacity or because we belong to a time honoured establishment gives us personal value? Is our “employment” and our value as humans inextricably intertwined? i.e. one dimensional (lawyer = value)
Is our value tied up with being a person who dignifies others, displays honesty, integrity, kindness and supports and empowers others in their professional lives, recognising these stellar human qualities are whats valuable and defining, both personally and professionally? i.e. two dimensional (human + lawyer = value)
4 Key Points: What are the pitfalls to remaining one dimensional?
- It will impact negatively on how we practice law i.e. we are dealing with human problems and we are their problem solvers, need to understand, read and value “humans” with their frailties and challenges
- It will effect how we treat others in our profession, as our value is tied up with external titles/positions and not on how our conduct or actions affects others
- There will be little or no self reflection undertaken to be the best possible lawyer AND human.
- Value of self is time limited: as long as in position, authority, leadership will feel valuable. When position ceases (for whatever reason) our personal value diminishes in our own eyes.
5 Key Points: What are the advantages to being or aspiring to be two dimensional?
- Our value as a human/lawyer is based upon our “personal values” (which flows to our view of other humans) which allows us to recognise that we are all humans, working in different roles, with each human being worthy of respect and honour (regardless of their position or whether they are of “value to us“) and treating others accordingly.
- We will regularly self reflect as a human/ lawyer so as to continually make the necessary adjustments on a professional and personal basis.
- We remain grounded, with the ability to relate to other humans on a human level, to be a problem solver with emotional intelligence. We will be able to read our opponents, judges reactions and humans in general.
- It creates a more harmonious and enjoyable work environment for all, as team work is facilitated and encouraged.
- Its a win/win for ourselves, our colleagues and our clients!
How to become two dimensional?
Having had quite a number of years of diverse employment and life experiences and challenges, I provide the following initial snapshot:
- Don’t place excessive or our only value upon titles and positions rather view being an honourable human with its associated value as truly defining and valuable
- Recognise we are all humans beneath our titles and positions i.e. Solicitor, Associate, Senior Associate, Partner, Barrister, SC, Judge etc and treat each other accordingly.
- Remain approachable, aim to be the type of person others would like to work with, be a team player and look for ways to assist others to succeed, as well as yourself.
- Self reflect professionally and personally so as to be the best YOU can be as a professional human being!
- Treat others how you would like to be treated.
With position comes responsibility. Of course we have our professional responsibilities and obligations as lawyers, to the profession, clients and colleagues but we also have human responsibilities which impact upon how we interact with and treat our colleagues, clients and what standard we hold for “value and definition.”
In other words, in my opinion, being an X (title/position) doesn’t define us or give us personal value, its our choice of employment! However, being an honourable human being whilst being an X does define us and give us personal and professional value.
I write a blog on a variety of legal and practical topics to assist others, where you can subscribe to at http://www.sydneybarrister.net.au