Ask More of the Right Questions

Have you stopped asking questions?

For a lot of lawyers, the questions have stopped coming. We think we’re there to give answers — not ask questions.

But questions are important.

They give us information, of course, but they help to clarify more than just facts. The best questions with the most compelling answers are the life-changers. They are the ones that catapult us in new directions with momentum and zeal.

cloud question

Think about the questions you should be asking as a lawyer.

Should I be a Lawyer?

Here’s a question that many of us dodge for a long time.

Is being a lawyer really for you?

Are you only in your career because you spent so much time and money studying that you don’t want to have “wasted” that time?

What is it about being a lawyer that you love?

This video gets watched a lot, despite being a little bit on the serious side. I wonder if you’re asking the questions I’ve suggested in it?

Who would I serve for Free?

If you want to maintain consistency between why you SAY you are a lawyer and what you DO on a day to day basis, then this is a worthwhile question.

Strip away everything — the income, the bills, the status of your clients — who would you serve without any of those things?

And then ask yourself: how much of your workload do those people make up? If it’s a very low number, then you’re going to have problems.

You’ll become jaded and cynical.

You’ll start to hate your job.

It will get bad. Trust me.

What should I say No to?

This is a question that basically no lawyer ever asks, despite the extreme importance of it.

The feeling of overwhelm that threatens to take over your life is far more easily avoided if you say no to as many things as possible.

Say no to the useless function that serves no purpose.

Say no to the clients you don’t want to serve (if you can without being fired).

Say no to the 18 hour days.

Say no to unreasonable demands.

Say no to binge watching TV.

Say no to everything you can.

Adopt a disciplined pursuit of less, rather than an undisciplined acquisition of more.

Why Do I want X?

I want to be a partner.

I want to own a firm.

I want to have a nice car.

That’s great — but WHY?

Is it just because you’re on a track that somebody else made before you?

Or are these things that YOU have chosen — and if you have, then WHY have you chosen them.

Understanding the why of your decisions is a critical component to success. Don’t just accept the norm without asking the question.

What are your Questions?

Avoid fact finding — what are the questions you like to ask and answer to help your life and your career?

Happy Lawyering!

This post was first published here at Tips for Lawyers on 20 October 2016.