Are you a lawyer of a certain generation who feels out of place in today’s supercharged, speedy world?
It’s no wonder.
After all, we came of age at a time when we were taught that the wheels of justice grind slow.
That we’d need to bill 2000 hours a year or more, year after painful year to have a chance of making partner by our mid-30s.
Yet today, all that’s changed. We celebrate four-hour-work weeks and flock to coaching programs that promise to ramp our law practice up to six or seven figures in a couple of months. Even precedent doesn’t last; the recent Supreme Court leaked opinion toppling fifty-year old precedent came not even two years after two Court appointees promised the Senate during confirmation hearings that they’d abide by Roe. And with this first crack, other rights may fall with even more haste.
The world moves so quickly that once you fall behind, it’s hard to figure out how to catch up. I feel that law practice and new advancements have gotten away from me in the seven years since my husband’s death that I’ve been hunkered down churning through existing cases instead of – as I’d always done – operating at the head of the curve, always first to the next new thing.
So maybe that’s why I was so inspired by RIch Strike’s highly improbable win at last week’s Kentucky Derby. Take a look at this overhead video:
You can see that for much of the race, Rich Strike was in the back of the pack. What’s more, from that vantage, there’s no clear path for the jockey, Sonny Leon to guide Rich Strike to the head of the pack. So all he can do is run the horse fast and look for opportunities until after a couple of twists and turns, a path opens up and it’s clear sailing to the finish line.
I know it can be hard to move forward with your practice when you feel stuck. For example, it’s tough to master a new practice area with a promise of more satisfaction and money when your current practice area is no longer working for you. Or to experiment with something crazy at your firm or in your legal career when you have no idea whether it might succeed. Or to try to enter a field or a job market that’s so crowded with people who have decades of experience on you that it doesn’t even seem worth a shot.
RIch Strike’s amazing race teaches us that no matter how far behind we are, we’re not destined to always remain at the back of the pack. We can always catch up. Always pull ourselves to the front, and even pull out a massive 80-1 win. We can do that and more, so long as like Rich Strike and Sunny Leon, we keep moving as fast as we can even when the path ahead isn’t even visible.