A Servant's Heart

I had fought being a lawyer for a while. In an uptown firm, I made a good living, worked hard, and had a good reputation among my peers and partners. But it was unfulfilling. I’d been in recovery for eight years. Certainly, life was immensely better than before. But could I really do this another 20+ years?

Maybe soloing would be the answer. Though I had good relations with my partners, there were more and more management duties leaving less time for client problem solving. And always the push to maximize revenue. So I made an amicable exit and set up my solo shop.

It was refreshing, even fun. I’m a transactional lawyer, and my clients stayed with me. I made enough money and I wasn’t feeding the overhead monster as before. Still, something was missing.

I’d become active in my church again, this time with AA glasses on. We were studying discipleship and I was thinking a lot about what it means to be a disciple and to be a servant. Or, as Bill says, “to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 77.) That’s when it clicked, an embarrassingly simple switch in how I approached my practice.

What if, before each client conference, I asked my Higher Power to help me be of service to my client? I’ll be professional, the best lawyer I can be. I’ll bill them for work and hope to make a good living. But I’ll approach it with a servant’s heart.

It made an enormous difference immediately! I saw my lawyering in a different light. I moved closer to the calling of law practice without removing myself from the “business of law.” I felt I was worth more, not in an hourly rate sense but in a human value sense.

In hindsight, I realize I’d taken a big step toward “practicing these principles in all [my] affairs.” (Step 12, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 60.)

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