Back when I started my law firm as a green twenty-something five years out of law school, I invited a partner to lunch who worked at a law firm where I’d coveted a job. Of course, when I was out pounding the pavement for work just a few months before, I’d never have had the nerve to call a law firm partner on the phone. But now, as partner in my fledgling law firm of one, I was preparing to argue my first case at the D.C. Circuit and I figured that this partner could help me strategize since one of his clients would be impacted by the outcome of the case. At lunch, we talked shop — I was surprised to learn that this partner fifteen years senior to me had never actually argued a case at the D.C. Circuit — and then I authoritatively plunked down my new law firm credit card to pick up the tab.
As I left the lunch, I realized that if that partner’s law firm had hired me, we would never have broken bread together. Instead, I’d have been the subordinate, slaving away on legal research during lunch and he’d have been my master, enjoying a martini (that’s how it worked back in the day). But ownership equalized us.
And that my friends, is the power of ownership: it is transformational. Ownership can transform a once unemployed associate to a boss lady lunching with a male colleague. Ownership can transform penniless unemployed law school graduates into practitioners with six-figure law firms. Ownership can transform solo and small firm women lawyers into elected judges. Ownership can transform ordinary lawyers into agents of change for the legal profession.
To this day, most law schools and attorneys view starting a law firm as an act of desperation, the last thing that anyone should ever want to do. In truth, it’s the opposite. Just the very act of taking ownership is a bold and optimistic move that will transform your future in the law. Join the movement. You will never regret it.