Note: This is taken from a discussion over at www.LawyerControl.com. Suggest you check it out if what you read below sparks your interest.
The connection between our Patron Saint and our IOLTA account is that
Moore was known to be so committed to his aspirations that he would
occasionally self-flagellant. That is, in an effort to demonstrate his
commitment he would physically harm himself.
Next time you go to a Bar Mixer & you’re standing around with a
group of lawyers try this experiment. You just find an opportunity in
the conversation to sigh & mention that you spent fifty hours in the
office last week. Then see if some other lawyer doesn’t try &
out-do you by announcing he or she spent MORE time in the office than
you did. 9 out of 10 times this experiment will work.
So why do you suppose lawyers are going around taking pride in how
many hours they’re spending in the office instead of how efficiently
their offices run so they can invest more hours with their family &
friends? Isn’t spending time at the office the modern lawyers’ way of
demonstrating his or her commitment, albeit to a different deity?
Don’t lawyers find all kinds of ways to make things MORE difficult
for themselves than things have to be? And then take pride in how hard
they work, instead of how efficiently we run our practices?
A ritual is any prescribed code of behavior regulating social
conduct. For self-flagellants it’s the ritual of beating themselves
upon the back with a leather whip until they tear the flesh to
demonstrate solidarity with Jesus. For lawyers its the ritual of
“working hard” for our clients instead of working smart for them and for
ourselves. There are partners of law firms who half-way-brag about the
number of divorces they’re on because of their commitment to the law
Of course we don’t use a leather whip to demonstrate our commitment
to helping our clients but we allow ourselves to be surrounded by other
instruments of pain.
Like our IOLTA client property trust accounts.
Think about how ludicrous this is: We graduate from law school and
we’re told over & over & over again about the heavy weight of
responsibility we have for managing & accounting for our clients’
money and property. That if we don’t we’re going to lose our bar
licenses (akin to going to hell). But then those very same people who
tell us about how bad things are going to go for us if we screw-up our
IOLTA’s…they don’t bother to ever actually teach us a simple system for
how to set-up, manage & reconcile a law firm client property trust
And hundreds-of-thousands of lawyers simply accept this arrangement
without question, no they actually take pride in how many hours they
have to spend in the office???
Our patron saint certainly gave us plenty to aspire to. But going
out of our way to make things harder on ourselves than they have to be
shouldn’t be one of them.