I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was 9. I had a rough childhood and I wanted to help people feel strong and validated. I wanted to help people get justice.
I carried that vision all through college, working as a graveyard waitress, picking up my tuition off of tables, a couple of bucks at a time. I kept that vision through law school. But, when I became a lawyer, I decided that my search for justice would take a different route. I would help people achieve financial justice, by empowering people to start and build businesses, wealth and freedom. As I write this, I feel embarrassed at how cheesy it sounds, and yet, am so excited at the mission.
The path has not been steady. Enticed by Big Law, I spent my first 15 years working for rich people and companies, occasionally scooping up an entrepreneur or an artist. I worked in an intense variety of industries, doing deals, helping people make things and money, avoiding or escaping fights. I made Partner. I felt totally empty. There were a few mornings when I woke totally comfortable with dying later that day.
Then, one day, I went to a conference with other lawyers just like me. I was sitting in the back, doodling, vaguely listening. A woman took the mic and said the words that would change my life forever, “Sometimes I think I’m the only one who cares about branding in Indianapolis.”
I stopped cold and sat upright. She went on to explain that, after many years begging her law firm for resources, she had successfully established her career goal: to be the 5th biggest labor and employment practice in Indy.
A bell went off. Here was this privileged woman, in an expensive suit, sitting in an air conditioned conference room, at a 4-star resort, probably two hours from a spa treatment, bemoaning her lonely journey straight to the mediocre middle of a mediocre market. Her self-indulgence and sanctimony showed me everything I hated about my own life and career. She had no mission worthy of even getting out of bed.
I sort of freaked out. I started writing a book on business law. I stopped billing clients and started giving away my work to my proteges. I started heckling at partnership meetings. After 19 years, I quit smoking. Eventually, my firm let me out of my partnership and agreed in writing that my business law book belonged solely to me.
In 2010, I launched Profit and Laws, Inc. to help people achieve financial justice, by empowering people to start and build businesses, wealth and freedom. I built a business around small business consulting, writing and speaking. I got a show on terrestrial radio talking about business and politics. I kept practicing law, but only on the side, convinced that I hated it. I leaned more into art law, because the deals are manageable and fun.
I limited my lawyering work to my old firm, where I’m Of Counsel and turned down other opportunities. Then, about a year ago, one of my friends asked me a particularly knotty question about using an old celebrity’s image on a billboard. She insisted on paying, but didn’t have the budget for my downtown firm. I wanted to help my friend and figure out the answer. I did it on the side. And something odd happened. From start to finish – engagement letter, research, analysis, answer and invoice – I loved it. Loved it. So, the next small business person I liked who asked for my help got it, also at an uptown rate. And, the next.
What I learned is that I am a corporate lawyer, like I’m a woman and an American. It’s my vocation, my religion, my ethnicity and my worldview. And, fuck, I missed doing it. So, I put my radio show on hiatus to get ready to launch this new business.
We take clients we like and we think we can help, and only those that qualify as small businesses – less than 100 employees and less than $5 mil in revenues. We hope to help our clients graduate from our small business firm into bigger leagues. Our rates are reasonable, our advice candid, our perspective humane. We root for your success.
Check out Seasongood Law here.
January 21, 2017
Brian Rogers aka theContractsGuy
Coco, Great post…great vision. I hope things are going well!
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