Recently, I have struggled to answer a very simple question, which is “what do you do for a living?” When meeting new people, which I love to do, that is a common question. I didn’t use to have a hard time answering it. I am a lawyer. Easy enough. But that’s no longer a good description of what I do each day.
I am an owner, founder and the managing partner of a great law firm that has grown far beyond me. I spend most of my time working on making the firm great, mostly through people that we recruit, hire and support. We focus on things like culture, and have firm retreats where we collectively plan for our future. To get everyone’s buy-in, the vision needs to be shared and not imposed. That is what a good CEO does, and that is my job. So I surround myself with CEOs, and I learn from them. And that’s why I am in EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization.
This journey began 6 years ago when I first joined a group of CEOs to meet one day monthly and work on our business, and not in our business. Since that time my firm has grown from 3 lawyers and 5 employees to what will soon be 14 lawyers and 21 employees, and the pace of growth has accelerated as we add talented people to our team that can do things I cannot do. The right people working together can achieve anything.
So this week I’m in Portland at Alchemy, EO’s annual western regional conference, and this year’s theme is “Get Disruptive.” And if there’s an industry that needs disruption, it’s the legal industry. Collectively, law firms struggle to provide good and efficient representation, especially to parts of the market that need to contain costs, and are notorious for providing bad customer service. Not coincidentally, law firms also do a terrible job making the practice of law enjoyable, allowing their talent to have balance in life, and developing that talent.
I take great pride in building a law firm that is different and will disrupt the industry. I love seeing my partners’ success and the joy that everyone feels working in a positive environment. And that is why I love the business of law, and why I’m at Alchemy learning how to be a better entrepreneur.