21 September 2010

Be A Person Who Practices Law

This is a series of short posts (they have to be short given the few words Lao Tzu needed in the first place) about how the Tao te Ching can help improve your practice of law – and life.

"Do your work and step back, the only way to serenity.” (No. 9) says the Tao.

Nothing wrong with working hard, enjoying our achievements and the recognition of our peers and clients.  But how often do we confuse our self-worth with our work?  I think this is a real problem in the legal field, and, IMHO is one of the reasons that alcoholism among lawyers is TWICE that of the general American population. Twice.  In that same vein, it says, sagely: “Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.”

I don't define myself as a lawyer - I am a person who practices law.  That is an important emotional distinction for me and helps me keep things in perspective.

This section of the Tao also has some very sage advice for writing a brief, making a closing argument and proceeding in negotiations:

“Keep sharpening your knife, and it will blunt.”

Thanks for reading.

Richard Russeth

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