Law – A Profession or a Business?
There is a big difference between a profession and a business – or is there? Traditionally, lawyers have been taught to believe that law is a profession, not a business. The majority of us do what we do (partly or only) because we want to help people, to make a difference.
I heard exactly this at the recent tribute to the life of one of Ontario’s more extraordinary lawyers, Laura Louise Legge, held by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Mrs. Legge, who passed away on October 5, 2010, was LSUC’s first female bencher and first female treasurer. Mrs. Legge was a brilliant woman loved and respected by all who knew her. Those who spoke recounted the story of her amazing personal and professional accomplishments. Her rich life was marked by generosity and appreciation of the needs of others.
If, as Mrs. Legge has been heard to say, you don’t get into law to make money, but to help others, then how do we reconcile this with the need to be profitable enough to keep your doors open to those who need you? In recent (precarious) economic times we have learned that you cannot practice your profession unless you effectively run your business. The practice of law is just not the same as it was in 1948, when Mrs. Legge was called to the bar, or even 1983, when she first became treasurer of LSUC. We now live in the competitive internet age where not only access to information, but access to a wide variety of professionals, is just a click away.
Of course, all of this begs the question of whether one can make a success of oneself while putting others’ needs and interests ahead of their own. I suggest that not only can it be done, it must be done if one is to achieve extraordinary success of the kind achieved by Mrs. Legge. In fact, it is the first of the five laws of stratospheric success. Tomorrow, I will discuss these five laws and the theory behind them as related to success in law. I’ll bet that you are just a little bit curious…..
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.