Beyond Our Field of View

In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts. — Peter McWilliams

In his March 14th, 2011 article in Forbes, Glenn Liopis talks about the concept of earning serendipity – that by actively seeking out unexpected good fortune it becomes easier to reach out and seize that life changing opportunity. Mr. Liopis points out that in a country of boundless possibilities, we have become myopic; unable to see the opportunities available simply because we are unwilling to pull our focus away from our narrow definition of a successful career path.

While Mr. Liopis writes in general terms about this shift in mindset, I was reminded of the opportunities that lie out there in the dark of the night sky – those opportunities that await the lawyers willing to broaden their field of view and look towards small towns and small firms for that great career opportunity.

Now, I will be the first to admit that rural living and a rural practice are not for everyone – this is not a “go rural young lawyer” call to action. But, perhaps, as you lift your eyes from the metropolitan law firm partner track and gaze out toward those small quiet places that interrupt the space between real cities you will discover that there are other opportunities, unexpected opportunities waiting.

4 thoughts on “Beyond Our Field of View

  1. If you are paying attention, there are many more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. But I’ll take a slightly different tack from Bruce’s post. . . I fear that we have become so risk-averse that we won’t take those opportunities we see, and perhaps are so conditioned that we can’t even see many of them any longer. We want someone to assure us that if things don’t work out, someone will catch us and we’ll be no worse off than before. It doesn’t work that way. Basic economics says that higher risk yields higher rewards. If you never have the possibility of true failure, you never can obtain (nor do you deserve) great rewards for success. And yet it is those who take such risks and succeed that have the greatest satisfaction with their own lives and also benefit society tremendously.
    I’m certainly in favor of having a bankruptcy law and a some type of social safety net–the penalty for failure shouldn’t be starving to death. But you can’t expect to be saved from all negative effects of failure. What would one learn from failure in that case? You have to grab opportunities, do your best, learn from failure, and try again.
    I started a solo practice 15 months ago. I work from home (I’m sort of a Rural Lawyer). I can live anywhere because my clients are everywhere. I don’t have any staff. After a year of hard work and sleepless nights, I am confident that I will make more in 2012 than I did as an IP associate at a firm of 120 attorneys. And I see my kids when they come home from school each day. And I cannot be fired (unless 100 clients get together…). It has been hard to reach this point, but the opportunity was always there waiting for me to take it, and I finally did.

  2. I’m just in the beginning of trying to start a law practice. I am scared and excited at the same time. I think a lot about where to practice and what to do – and location plays a big factor in my mind. My wife and I rent in a small town but are looking for something closer to the city. I wouldn’t mind being a small-town or rural lawyer, but I don’t know what that really means. Are there boundaries that I’m not seeing? Is there anything wrong with picking up city clients and rural clients? Do I have to choose? Should I simply hang a shingle out in the small town? Furthermore, I don’t see a lot of job postings for small town lawyers looking for a partner or selling their practices. If one arose, I’d be willing to listen.

    I guess my point is that I hear a lot about the “need for small town lawyers” but I don’t see a lot of people advertising job openings. Is it simply a matter of me creating the job and, if so, wouldn’t it be easier in a place with more people? I’m not being rhetorical, I really don’t know the answer.

  3. No short simple answers to your questions, but I’ll try to provide some long and complex ones in Monday’s post.

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