I will admit that I haven’t always loved being an attorney. I think it is often a thankless job. There seems to be so much focus on billing and making money. I get that you want to make a good living and have financial security. But I think there’s a point where you have enough and you should focus on other things–such as helping in your community. This type of service is not necessarily reflected in the billable hours or in financial measures.
I often think about how I want to feel when I look back at my life when I’m a old man. I picture myself sitting on a porch swing with my wife. We are watching our grandkids play in the yard. As we do so, we talk about where our lives have taken us. I know in this conversation that I won’t really care if I was rich. I will definitely want to say that we had enough for our needs and many of our wants. I certainly want to be able to say that we prepared ourselves financially for our twilight years. Other than that, I want to talk about the sacrifices we made for causes we believed in; that we made it through some hard times and had many good ones. I definitely do not want to look back and say, “Man, I really billed a lot of hours and made a lot of money!” I don’t really care about that now, so I don’t see why I will later. Instead, I want to look back and remember the people I helped who I think only I could have helped because I had the necessary legal training and because I organized my practice and life so that I could dedicate the time.
I think to be a successful attorney, however you determine to define success, you have to be willing to give yourself to a cause. If that cause is churning out billable hours, that’s fine, you can do that. If it’s something else, like serving others, that’s fine too. Whatever goal you are making for yourself, you have to be committed.
My goal is to design a practice where I can actually fulfill the oath I made when I was sworn in to the Idaho Bar on October 5, 2017 while making a decent but not necessarily lavish living. Here is the oath I swore, in bullet points for ease of reading:
[quote]I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT:
- I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Idaho.
- I will abide by all the rules of profession conduct adopted by the Idaho Supreme Court.
- I will respect courts and judicial officers in keeping with my role as an officer of the court.
- I will represent my clients will vigor and zeal, and will preserve inviolate their confidences and secrets.
- I will never seek to mislead a court or opposing party by false statement of fact or law, and will scrupulously honor promises and commitments made.
- I will attempt to resolve matters expeditiously and without unnecessary expense.
- I will contribute time and resources to public service, and will never reject, for any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed.
- I will conduct myself personally and professionally in conformity with the high standards of my profession.
SO HELP ME GOD.[/quote]