There are a few attorneys in the area that have been absolutely incredible and have truly given me confidence to keep doing what I’m doing. One of them has been extremely open in letting me ask her questions whenever I’m stuck on something: she always gives me more information than what I ask for, right away. And she’s never made me feel bad or guilty about using her time.
There are two other immigration attorneys who have recently talked to me about doing some contract work for them. They are both great at what they do, and they have sought me out because they have a ton of work, and need someone to help them out. In exchange they are offering me a great mentoring partnership (as well as paying me for the work I’d do for them), they have been incredibly generous with their time, and have offered to show me the ropes of immigration law. One attorney took me to the federal building and introduced me to almost every agent and clerk that he saw–which he knew personally. Everyone liked him, and was incredibly nice when I was introduced. I felt like I was getting star treatment.
Recently someone told me they really admired that I walked to the beat of my own drum. I found this really encouraging, and also eye opening. I’m not claiming that I’m a trailblazer for opening my own firm, by any means, but I know I’m doing things a little differently than most. I like feeling comfortable in my own skin, and sometimes this means wearing jeans to an MCLE event, and I love that I now have the confidence to wear jeans in a room full of suits. I’m always waiting for the 60-year old male veteran attorney to come up to me and tell me that I’m a disgrace to the legal practice for dressing the way I do (mind you, I’m not dressed like a slob, I just hate wearing suits when I’m not going to court). I’m sure someone’s said something to someone. But the truth is, I don’t think I am a disgrace to the legal profession, and I’m ok with it if people want to talk about it. I’m ok with not getting the approval of the veterans. At least for now…who knows…in a few months this could all crash and burn and I’ll realize that my rebellion needs to cease. Ha.
The reason for that whole last paragraph is that I feel truly blessed that attorneys think I’m trustworthy and smart enough to partner with, even though I don’t do things the “normal” way. It makes me feel like I’ll be okay if I keep doing what I do, and that I won’t crash and burn. There seem to be some great people out there that are willing to help me out, regardless of whether I’m rebelling against the suit or not.
Finally, this past week I was referred a case through a new contact. It’s in a subject area of family law that I haven’t handled before (obviously, there are a ton of areas I haven’t handled yet, haha), and my natural instinct was to send an email saying “hey, thanks for thinking of me, but I think you should refer it to someone else.” It’s not because I can’t do it…it’s because I lack the confidence to know that I can. But instead of sending that email, I read about the subject, looked at my practice guide, looked up the code, and realized it wasn’t a super difficult thing to do. So I said I was willing to talk to her friend, looked over her documents, and told her I’d be happy to take her case. She’s talking to another attorney tomorrow before she decides who to go with (I’d have to charge her for driving time since it’s not in my area). Whether I get the case or not, I’m really proud of myself for being willing to take it, instead of automatically passing on it.