If you know much about us, you probably know we grew up in the 90’s and often make pop culture references paying homage to that great decade, so here’s another – “The Things We Think And Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business” – Jerry Maguire. This 1996 Cameron Crowe film tells the story of a sports agent, Jerry Maguire, who becomes disillusioned and has an epiphany one night, which leads him to write a mission statement he titles, “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.” Maguire becomes an independent agent. Only one client and his former secretary follow him into uncharted waters. Of course, the movie is also known for these famous lines: “Show me the money!”, “The human head weighs 8 pounds,” and “You had me at hello.”
So, why all this talk about Jerry Maguire? We recently had a bit of a “mission statement moment.” It isn’t quite as dramatic as Jerry’s, we didn’t stay up all night fearlessly writing, or run through the rain to the nearest 24 hour copy shop to have it printed and bound or make the grandiose gesture of taking the office fish with us to make our point, but we are pretty excited about it and wanted to share it with all of you.
We graduated from law school in 2006 and opened our law firm in 2011. We have now owned our practice longer than we spent working for someone else. If we’re being honest, when we made the decision to start our own firm, we did it hoping to have more freedom. To us freedom meant more flexibility – the flexibility to have more control over our professional and personal lives. Over time, we have realized that owning our practice means more to us. We want to make an impact. We want to impact the clients who allow us the great privilege of representing them. We want to impact the way attorneys approach the practice of law. We want to impact the community as a whole.
We have gone through the growing pains of learning how to run a law firm, how to grow a law firm and how to sustain a law firm. Make no mistake, we learn new things everyday about running, growing and sustaining a practice. But we feel fortunate that we now have enough experience that we can also think about things beyond simply practicing law.
Over the last couple of years we have had countless conversations about the way “the system” treats clients, the way the public perceives attorneys, the way attorneys interact with each other and the way attorneys care for themselves. Many of these conversations are not flattering and some are downright devastating.
After tunneling ourselves into what seemed to be a bit of a dark space – there was a fair amount of venting, complaining and, frankly, questioning our chosen career path – we managed to find our way to the other side and realized that what we actually enjoy about being a lawyer is our ability to help others.
Our clients come to us in a time of great need and nothing is more fulfilling than being able to help those clients find their way to the other side, hopefully to a better place than where they started.
Because we are lucky enough to own our firm and have some experience behind us, other attorneys come to us for support and advice and it is not only flattering, but satisfying to think that we might have made some small contribution to the success of another. This is especially satisfying because so many did the same for us and continue to do the same for us.
And finally, as business owners, we have the freedom to use our time and resources in whatever manner we choose, giving us the opportunity to reach people who may not need our legal services or our professional advice, but who simply need someone in their corner because on any given day, we all need that.
We haven’t figured it all out yet, but we hope that by saying it out loud to all of you, we will be persistent and consistent in our goal to make an impact. If we stray off course, we give you permission to Rod Tidwell-style get us back on track (“Show me the money!”). We hope you can learn right along side of us (“The human head weighs 8 pounds”). And, most importantly, we hope our new mission is as inspiring to you as it is to us – hopefully, we had you at “hello.”
Dahl Fischer – Your Partner in Law