Pre-law students spend a lot of time deciding whether they should go to law school and which law school they should attend. What if law school does not work out? What if they cannot get a job? Should they go to the higher ranked school in the city in which they have no desire to live?
Law students spend a lot of time picking their major. What should they pick? How do they make the choice? What if they pick the wrong the practice area? What if there are no jobs available in this practice area? What if they make the “wrong” decision and hate what they do?
Law firm associates spend a lot of time focusing on a niche. What should they pick? How do they make the choice? Is their pick a viable niche in the long term? Is Making Partner a feasible goal? Should they stay at the same firm?
These are all fair questions. However, it seems that lawyers and soon to be lawyers spend much more time making decisions then ultimately implementing them. Think of the process as containing ten parts. It seems that we spend nine parts pondering the decision, weighing the options, going back and forth, etc. but only one part actually making the best of the decision we made. By the time the decision is actually made, we have used so much time and mental energy on making the decision that we are spent when it comes to execution of our plan. No gas left in the tank for the most important piece.
It is important to make decisions carefully but perhaps our formula should be partially or completely reversed. Suppose we spent one part making the decision and nine parts ensuring that we do everything possible to execute our decision. Potential pre-law students — take one or two parts and consider the pros and cons, including cost and whether you have some idea what you would do when you graduate. If you decide to go, save some decision making energy for getting good grades. Law students pick a major after researching different areas and talking to lawyers in that area. Make your decision sooner rather than later to open up more opportunities to you and to save some energy for implementation. Once you decide on your area, take relevant classes, get experience, and talk to more people about different opportunities in the field. Law firm associates pick a niche within your practice area once you have a couple to choose from and you have talked to mentors about its upside. Work as if you are set on Making Partner to maximize your choices. Again, don’t spend so much time thinking that you do not have juice left to do the heavy lifting as far as speaking and writing in your niche area.
Change the formula from nine parts decision-making and one part implementation. At least go five and five. A wrong decision that is well-implemented will likely work out better than a right decision with poor implementation.
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