By Rod Atherton, Denver
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”
If you ever served in the military, you have unique skills and insights that will serve your clients well. And that is just as true if you were an infantryman or a judge or legalman. Let’s consider a few examples of what sets you apart from the rest
“NO PLAN SURVIVES CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY”
Your client may not understand how their perfect business relationship went so awry. They may be furious that a contract negotiation or the permit filing is taking six times as long to get approved as they’d budgeted for. You understand that you must prepare, but once it’s in the works, it’s no longer completely under your client’s control. Your client needs your ability to be unphased by others’ competing agendas. They also need your dose of realism: They need someone who will tell them what may really happen, as opposed to what they plan/dream/hope will happen.
Relatedly, you know how to be flexible and deal with ever-changing circumstances. Your clients may agree to a strategy—drown them in motions and paper, fight for every negotiation point—but then something changes, and suddenly you have to come up with a new game plan. Or the judge insists on a new trial schedule. Or a third party comes in during the acquisition. You know that a certain amount of change is inevitable and out of your control, so you’re able to roll with the punches as they land.
WATCHING FOR THE SELF-LICKING ICE CREAM CONES
You may have seen it in the law, but, in the military, you had already developed a sixth sense: You can pick out the people who are so busy but never get anything done. Help your client identify the self-licking ice cream cones in their organization, and make sure you’re making progress every day. Explain when and why you’re not. Pushing for efficiency in your client’s and your own work will set you apart from the crowd.
BEING PART OF A TEAM
As a veteran, you know the importance of pulling your weight, but you also appreciate the value in having teammates you can count on—those with specialized training and skillsets other than your own.
That’s in sharp contrast to traditional larger law firms, where, too often, lawyers compete even against their colleagues. Or in smaller firms, where lawyers can end up taking on cases without sufficient training or preparation or support, just to keep the business running.
At AEGIS, we have a structure more like the military than a law firm. Our mission is to deliver for our clients, while our attorneys grow personally and professionally. And we achieve our objective through teamwork and collaboration. We get you the support you and your clients need to be successful. We have a set of values and standards that you can be proud of.