“Too often in life, something happens, and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So, the point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations.” – Tom Brady
On January 10, 2019, I announced that I had left my stable law firm job to open my own firm, MLE Law, a law firm designed to modernize the business of law. I made my announcement via LinkedIn, in an article titled “Why I Left My Stable Law Firm Job To Open My Own Firm”.
As I approach my first six months on my own, I thought it would be fun to talk about where I am, how I got here, and where I am going.
1. Where I am. Well, as I type this, it’s 12:35 a.m., Friday May 17, 2019 … so, you do the math. This is entrepreneurship. I run a lean operation. That’s not out of necessity. It’s born from years of witnessing law firms foolishly spend money on, to quote Tyler Durden, “shit they don’t need.” Being a lean/modern law firm, being an entrepreneur and being all in means there are going to be late nights … lots of late nights. That’s fine. In fact, it’s better than fine. It’s perfect! As I write this article, I have a 75 pound Labrador Retriever snoring next to me, exhilaration that I haven’t felt in years, and empirical data (okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying paying clients) showing that MLE Law is not just healthy, it’s thriving!
I founded MLE Law on the premise that the traditional legal business model is BROKEN. Adversity/resistance to social media, antiquated billing practices, over-priced fee structures, over-staffing, use of elaborate, over-priced phone systems (business is done on cell phones now) and continued use of old-school brick and mortar office space are all contributing to the need for disruption of the legal industry. In other words, a better way.
Thus, MLE Law doesn’t have old-world brick and mortar office space or excessive staff. Unlike the traditional way, MLE Law doesn’t bill for basic communications like email, text messages and short phone calls. MLE Law doesn’t have a “receptionist.” This approach, and my vocalization of this approach was risky, and could have been an incredible mis-calculation. So far, the opposite is true. Clients, large and small appreciate the speed, efficiency and cost-effective manner in which their legal needs are addressed at MLE Law. That’s progress and that alone is worth all of the late nights.
2. How I got here. I wish I had some eloquent, inspiring story, or magical moment that perfectly summed up how I got here. I don’t. In fact, I still don’t know what “here” is or what it means. An ever-practicing Stoic, I am constantly reminding myself that whatever I have can be taken away in an instant. Thus, in the day to day, I focus on what’s in front of me in that moment and practice gratitude for all that I have, in the now and have experienced in the past. That’s not to say there haven’t been lessons along the way, there are an infinite amount. Those lessons, however, have come over a lifetime, a mish mash between the obvious in the past six months and the less-obvious from four, six and even ten years ago. “How I got here” implies that I have arrived at some final point or achieved some accomplishment. Neither is true. The doing of things and the trying of ideas is the here and I’m grateful to do that today, and hopefully for many days to come.
3. Where I am going. I don’t know. No, seriously, I don’t know. I’m going to continue to do the things I love. Those things include practicing law on my terms, working to disrupt and change the business of law, podcast and tell great stories, invest in burgeoning technology start-ups, obsessively root for the New England Patriots, love and play with my dog every chance I get, travel the world, continue to compete in Olympic Weightlifting, spend time with my parents, take naps, spend time with friends, eat great cheat meals, eat perfectly healthy meals and take up whatever other wonderful opportunities come my way.
In my original article on why I left my prior law firm job I used a quote from Epictetus, and it’s worthy of being repeated in this article.
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are the externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own …”
Ultimately, I’m going to continue to have laser focus on only those matters over which I have control. In other words, my choices. After all, that’s how I got here (pun intended) in the first place.
For more great content on my jpurney, the ever-changing business of law, my podcast, my dog and the New England Patriots, follow me on Instagram at @melkins1 and on Twitter at @melkins31175.
You can also listen to my podcast: “Game 7: The Sports, Business & Lifestyle Podcast”, where I explore the psychology of what makes individuals great in sports, business and life. An Apple Podcasts link is below. You can also listen on Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever else you get your podcasts.