“It’s my right to have an opinion,” you’ll often hear the opinionated sputter as they self-righteously stake out what is guaranteed to be an offensive bit of turf in a debate.
Whether it’s a right or a privilege, we can take as read that every being capable of entertaining a thought has an opinion about something – sports, the weather, the price of food.
Expressing that opinion, now, there’s the rub.
Every person on this planet likely has a stance on any given subject that at least one other person will find objectionable, but the more discreet and diplomatic among us tend to refrain from positing our controversial opinions during friendly conversation.
There are a few cases where expressing an opinion is more than objectionable, it’s illegal.
This summer the CBA Legal Futures Initiative published Richard Susskind’s Guide to Strategy for Lawyers, a hands-on, step-by-step practical guide for lawyers in all practice settings to use in planning for the future and positioning themselves and their organizations for success.
Many changes are afoot in the legal profession, Susskind wrote in a blog post introducing the guide, which he says is “is intended to help CBA members to plan for their future, in a structured and systematic way. I have distilled my many years of advising firms into a simple how-to manual. If the word ‘strategy’ seems too highfalutin, think instead of putting together a road-map. Every firm needs one and my Guide shows how to put one together.”
Since its publication, we’ve received many requests from firms big and small for copies – and more copies – of the guide, which is available to CBA members only. We’ve also been hearing many good things from people who’ve used it.
Most of the time the answer is yes, provided the timing is right, recruiters agree.
Lawyers who make one or two well-timed lateral moves during their careers frequently attain “impressive levels” of success, outperforming lawyers who stay with the same firm, according to Lisa Pavia, a recruiter with BCG Attorney Search in Washington.
“It is through change and transition that human beings develop their potential,” she writes in an online article. “The distinction is between being comfortable and stretching. And it is when we stretch that the steps can become leaps in development.”
When is the best time to make your move? After about three years, says Harrison Barnes, CEO of BCG Attorney Search.
“By this point you aren’t senior enough to create track-to-partnership problems, but you are senior enough to possess a solid foundation from which to work in another firm,” he writes in an online article.
That rule isn’t carved in stone, he adds, but moving sooner raises suspicion unless you have a good personal reason to do so; waiting too long could set your career back.
“He had a good heart and very few social graces,” says the brother of a recently deceased Toronto criminal lawyer. “He was vociferous, diffident, difficult.”
All of those things, combined with a dedication to his clients, probably made Gordon Goldman not just colourful, but a good lawyer to boot.
The things that make you a good lawyer are also the things that make you a more difficult person – and make life’s ups and downs more difficult for you to deal with, according to Dr. Larry Richard (pictured above), founder of LawyerBrain LLC and one of the keynote speakers at this year’s CBA Legal Conference in Calgary.
People who become lawyers are outliers, Richard said: they’re different from the public but similar to each other. They tend to focus down and inward, instead of reaching out.
The B.C. Environmental Appeal Board has rejected a water licence issued to Nexen to take water from a shallow B.C. lake for use in fracking in the province’s productive Horn River Basin area.
The board took 20 months to deliver its decision but when it came it was a big win for the Fort Nelson First Nation.
Nexen had been withdrawing water from the North Tsea Lake under temporary licences since 2009, and it applied for the long-term (five-year) licence in 2011. The Board ruled that the licence, issued in 2012, was flawed “due to the inadequacies in the information and analysis that the (water) Manager considered.”
Kim Covert is a writer and editor at the CBA. / Kim Covert est rédactrice et éditorialiste à l’ABC.