After the law firm where I worked as an associate 25 years ago gave me six months to find a new job, I had a crazy idea.
What if I didn’t look for a job at all and instead started my own law firm?
And even crazier, what if this law firm owned by a woman in her late twenties could compete directly with the white male dominated big companies in the industry that charge hundreds of dollars an hour? What if I could change the way the law is practiced, with fixed budgets and no-to-be-exceeded estimates and clients being looked after by the owner of the company instead of knowing nothing.
When I shared my crazy plan with colleagues, they told me my idea sounded crazy and asked if I actually thought I could make money from it. But it turns out that maybe my idea was just crazy enough to work.
Of course, in today’s world, my decision would hardly be considered insane in the circles I travel in. But not so much in others.
“Are you crazy?” I can hear a senior partner tell a young attorney at an established law firm that they have just been asked to get off a clapboard and hang up.
“This is crazy,” exclaimed every law professor and classmate Barack Obama as he turned down a near-definite shot against a federal appeal or even a clerkship to the Supreme Court to work for a small civil rights firm in Chicago and lay the foundation for his career in the To lay politics.
“Sounds crazy” is what I remember remembering so many doubters in the legal profession thinking of pioneer Stephanie Kimbro and her virtual legal practice concept, yet we are here a decade later, working seamlessly from home thanks to her vision.
So many of my readers and colleagues say, “I have this crazy idea.” Perhaps moving to a state with high demand for legal services to start a law firm. Or, they set up their own practice straight out of law school with a student loan debt of $ 200,000. Maybe it’s buying a building to use as an incubator for other small businesses, or packing up to work as a lawyer in a tropical location. Whatever your madman I say put it on. Because in the words of Niels Bohr once said:
We all agree that your theory is insane. The question that divides us is whether it’s crazy enough to have the chance to be right. “