Last week Hamer attorney Keith Lee attended the American Bar Association Young Lawyer Division’s Leadership Conference. Lee shared some thoughts on the event on his blog at Associate’s Mind:
I met dozens of young lawyers from across the country. From solos like Greg Doucette to associates at AM Law 50 firms. But what does it mean to move into a “leadership” position? It means that everyone present volunteered to be there for what is essentially, extra, unpaid work. The time at the event and their roles for the YLD will not come out of their time at work – it will come out of their personal time – time away from family and friends.
Even at the conference, people were firing off emails and joining conference calls between sessions. Probably a quarter of the lawyers there were not flying home but flying on to a different city for a deposition, hearing, or client meeting. No one was there because they had won the law school lottery – there were all there because they were resilient. The had developed skills and habits that allowed them to modulate and constructively harness their response to stress. They are not the type of people to fall prey to “millennial malaise.”
One of the speakers at the conference referred to the attendees as “the best and the brightest” that the ABA has to offer among its young lawyers. I’m not sure about that (personally I can be pretty dim at times), but I do know that all the young lawyers I spoke with were incredibly driven, hard working people. They weren’t there to goof off and have fun (though fun was had). The young lawyers at the leadership conference were there because they wanted to stand out. Raise their profile, and in turn, the profile of their firm. Meet other lawyers. Contribute. Become recognized and gain a reputation through volunteering and extra work.
These young lawyers all knew that success was not going to be handed to them on a silver platter. Success requires long hours, hard work, and dedication. It requires resilience, grit, and sacrifice. And they were all willing to do whatever was necessary not to be average.