Lunch Time and Lawyers
Never would I think that sitting around the conference table at my office having lunch with three lawyers would be a highlight of my day. It’s either a very sad commentary on the state of my life or it says a lot about my law firm. Happily it’s the latter.
When I am at lunch, the last thing I want to do is talk shop. Correction: When I am at lunch, the last thing I want to do is be with lawyers. It’s not that I don’t like lawyers. It’s that being surrounded by the law for 8-9 hours a day with no breaks does not make me a happy boy. It tires me out. It drains me. It makes me feel like a zombie. I come home feeling lobotomized. My wife has to bring out the defibrillator to bring me back to life.
I need to be reminded throughout the day that there is more to what I do and who I am than being a lawyer, or I run the risk of getting into that “law machine” mode. I like what I do, but I am made better by taking breaks outside of the office. I learned this from my dad. When I was a kid visiting at his office, he would always take me out for coffee.
I know my dad still takes coffee breaks to this day. He is 80 years old and still practicing! I’m thankful that he made it part of his daily practice of law, because it’s now part of mine. It helps me see, understand and connect with everyone in the office in a different way. Talking with my legal assistance or another attorney in my office is not the same as having fettuccine with clams and mussels at the small family owned Italian restaurant across the street.
It does more than happily fill my belly. It fills a part of me that is not usually satisfied at the office. It allows those relationships to be more multi dimensional. Experiences outside of the normal office routine do that for me. I hope it does for the other person as well.
But back to sitting around the conference table having lunch. What made it a highlight was not the food- although the Korean Twist tacos from a nearby food cart were good. It’s because of the spirit of why we gather together. We don’t simply talk shop. We are helping each other be better lawyers. We are taking the time for one another.
I walked into the lunch with a case and a particular problem that I could not figure out how to solve. I went over the facts and issues. I walked out of the lunch with answers I could not come up with on my own.
What made me so happy was not just that an answer was found, but what happens when we gather to help one another. We share our expertise. Each one of us brings a different view. Like witnesses to an event, each one see’s something different. Creative ideas are forged. All of the elements are there that allows something greater than the individual pieces could have made.
To be part of this creative forging, my friends, brings great happiness- even around a conference table with a bunch of lawyers having lunch.