When my middle child, who is about to turn thirteen, first heard that I was planning to open my own firm, he immediately appointed himself Director of Marketing. Within several days, he had crafted a comprehensive media plan for LeVan Law Group LLC. Among the plan highlights:
- Numerous billboards, posters and bus signs on which I'm standing in an obnoxious suit, pointing at the camera with both hands and winking, with the tag line "Tad's Gotcha Back" screaming underneath;
- A rap espousing the benefits of LLG and trashing the competition, the lyrics of which I cannot reprint here (although you can surely imagine the language an adolescent boy can rhyme with Group); and
- A 3-for-1 special, where I offer to represent clients in three separate matters for the price of one.
Yes, my son apparently thinks I'm Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. I'm trying to avoid thinking about what that says of my parenting.
But don't worry; he's industrious. He created his own logo. (And is upset that I'm not using it.)
Why should you care about any of this? It's personal, not professional, right?
At another level, however, I think it is important for you to know something about who your counsel is as a person -- not just as an attorney -- in order to gain confidence that he or she is a well-rounded individual. Why? Because well-rounded individuals make better trial lawyers. And that's true in a number of separate respects.
First, well-rounded attorneys are better counselors. People who are involved in their communities, who have outside interests about which they are passionate, who regularly communicate with different types of people, and who are actively involved in family (or other group) activities, bring different skill-sets and expectations to complex commercial disputes than those who are tunnel-focused on litigation. Well-rounded attorneys can bring a fresh balance and perspective to the dispute, seeking and often finding solutions that best protect the client's interests while avoiding protracted litigation. In contrast, single-dimensional attorneys facing a dispute will generally revert to what they know best and immediately start up the litigation machine, which isn't always in the client's best interests.
If litigation is necessary, well-rounded attorneys also make better trial lawyers. They have experience interacting with different types of people in every day life and their outside activities have often refined their ability to communicate complex factual and legal issues to different audiences, including the judge and members of the jury. Being a genuine person of the world also makes the well-rounded attorney more relatable to jurors, which is crucial. The hallmark of a great trial lawyer is the ability to create a strong bond with the jurors hearing the case. Who do think can better explain and humanize your side of the case in a way that jurors can trust: a person involved in the community, whom a juror could imagine conversing with at a local event, or one who rarely leaves the office?
Well-rounded attorneys are also happier people. Numerous articles and studies have now definitively confirmed what many of us have known for years: happy people work harder and are more productive and efficient than their less-happy counterparts. Being involved in outside interests and activities not only provides a broader base of knowledge and experience but also increases the likelihood of being happy and, thus, of being a more productive and efficient worker.
At LeVan Law Group LLC, we firmly believe in the benefits that we can offer our clients by being well-rounded trial attorneys. The firm is committed to offering its attorneys and staff a sustainable work-life balance to enable them to become well-rounded individuals and community contributors, not simply cogs in an ever-more-demanding machine. Providing our clients with top-notch litigation and appellate services will always be our top priority -- and we will gladly work through the evenings, weekends or holidays to best protect your interests -- but we are equally mindful of the important benefits that flow, to our clients and firm members alike, from being involved, committed and happy members of our broader community.
So, along with more substantive topics, I plan to blog periodically about my children, my teaching, singing and acting, or my ongoing involvement with my church and other local community organizations. My hope in doing so, beyond mere entertainment, is to provide a glimpse into the commitment, happiness, and involvement in the community that LLG seeks to promote and continuously strives to achieve. Happy balanced people = better trial lawyers. Come check us out and reach your own conclusion.
In the meantime, though, always remember this important maxim: Tad's "Gotcha" Back.(There, son, I said it.)