I think it’s safe to assume that most practicing attorneys never took a trademark law course in law school. It’s not a topic on the bar exam. It’s not a topic that comes up in family law, criminal law, real estate (usually), or estate planning. Most lawyers never have to deal with any trademark law issues, so I can’t blame people for not understanding the basics.
My business card says “Attorney & Counselor at Law,” and that sometimes confuses people. They ask, “Isn’t that redundant?” My response is “no, you want me to be a counselor so that you don’t need me as an attorney.”
As a counselor I’m a coach—an expert trusted advisor directing from the sidelines. As an attorney I’m in the game calling plays on the field as an agent.
My wife and I were recently challenged to work on our core values by creating updated definitions of ourselves, definitions that do not include our professional personas. Abra, my wife, is one of the smartest and most talented writers I know. She was able to parse her values, thoughts, and feelings relatively quickly and craft an essay that expressed her core values in the context of who she is and is becoming. I struggled.
I asked her how she was able to get to the core values. She said “ask yourself what’s important to you and why you make the choices you make/do the things you do.” I took a walk with my journal and thought about those questions. Here’s what I came up with and I’d love to hear how you answer the questions. I believe asking the questions that identify our core values is incredibly important for our law practices, family lives, and roles in community leadership.
In just the past few week I’ve read several comments and broadcast emails about how miserable life is as a lawyer and how people need to do this or that to make life better, happier, and more creative. Several of those emails have come from people who I know to be well-trained professional coaches who happened to practice law, but some just come from people who strain the limits of credibility.
I just caught a case of alleged defamation. This one is square in the world of politically charged blog comment flame wars. A friend of mine is active in the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth movement. While I’m willing to bet we don’t have all the information on what happened that day (why building 7 fell when it wasn’t hit by an airplane for instance), I don’t consider myself a “truther.” But, that’s not the subject of this post. The line I’m interested in now is the line of when we, as lawyers, should get involved in the flaming blog comment debates on this, or other hot topics.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to witness a case study in goal setting. I spent an entire week in a mediation CLE with 19 other people. It was lead by Judy Mares-Dixon and I highly recommend her course. Only 4 of us were lawyers, which I think is a really great way to experience mediation training because you get a lot more perspective on the issues people face and how people approach conflict and dispute resolution. I had a great time learning new approaches with these people, but as usual, the greatest element of learning didn’t hit me during the course—it hit me a week or so after. The most important thing I learned (at least so far) is that people don’t set their goals high enough.
I had lunch with another attorney the other day. He was sharing that he would like to find more time for his creative pursuits—writing poetry and screenplays. He was frustrated and asked how I was able to make time for my creative efforts. I responded, “two things: carry a journal and turn off the T.V.“
Because my legal niche is helping creative people and business, I’m around inspiringly creative people almost every day. You can spot a productive creative person from across the room because no matter where they go, they carry a journal. When you talk with them, you’ll find they spend very little time watching TV.
Giving referrals to get referrals is a cornerstone in the foundation of business networking. There are different kinds of referrals but all are low-cost ways of plugging into new business. The great strategies for getting referrals from current clients shouldn’t be ignored. But those are not the topic of today’s post.