The top ten things this dirt lawyer is thankful for professionally…
As a happy United Methodist (by virtue of my marriage almost 40 years ago to a P.K.* who refused to be baptized again at a Baptist church) I believe an attitude of thankfulness makes life better.
Our office recently started following author John Fisher’s** lead by starting every business meeting with a positive focus. We circle the table and express one thing we are thankful for either personally or professionally. It’s amazing how much better this exercise makes us feel about the business we are about to discuss.
So, professionally, here are the top ten things for which I’ll give thanks this Thursday:
- We live and work in a state where closing real estate transactions is the practice of law and where, by hard work and vigilance, we are in a position to protect the interests of our clients.
- We help our consumer clients achieve one of their biggest dreams, home ownership.
- We help our commercial clients purchase, lease, finance and refinance properties. These activities allow our clients to make money and allow our communities to thrive.
- We don’t ignore title problems. We find them, discuss them, cure them, obtain insurance over them, and, hopefully, make them better for the property owner and lender, and for the next lawyer.
- If things go well, everyone involved in the closing is “happy”.
- We generally, as a community of real estate lawyers, seek to get along with each other. (Don’t make me point out exceptions to this rule!) Older lawyers mentor younger lawyers. Lawyers ask each other for guidance and, generally, that guidance is given with a smile. We train lawyers and paralegals, we serve on committees, we speak at seminars, write papers and books, participate in the Bar’s and the law schools’ mentorship programs and handle pro bono matters. As lawyers, we try to be good citizens.
- Those of us who weathered the financial downturn that began in 2007 encourage those of us who have not that there is life on the other side.
- Technology has made our lives easier in the last few years, and improvements in technology will continue to make our lives easier.
- I am thankful for the team of dedicated professionals who work with me to take the best care possible of our title insurance agents (dirt lawyers and their staff members.)
- I am thankful for our network of attorney agents who ably handle real estate matters throughout the Palmetto State.
I know. I know. Many of you are shaking your heads and pointing out that I no longer work “in the trenches” and don’t see the problems that plague real estate lawyers in the form of the constantly changing environment, changing technologies, difficulties in hiring and retaining staff members, increased competition and encroachment into “our” part of the closing by third parties. I do see those difficulties, I am sympathetic, and my team and I are constantly seeking improvements.
But, for Thanksgiving week, let’s pause for just a moment to be thankful!
*I’m guessing most South Carolinians know what a P.K. is, but, just in case you don’t, it’s an acronym for Preacher’s Kid, which I am told means the worst kid in church. My husband tells two stories to demonstrate: (1) His father once spoke to him from the pulpit and threatened to have him sit with him during the sermon if he didn’t behave; and (2) There are unconfirmed rumors that my husband’s initials have been carved in various church pews across South Carolina.
**John Fisher is a New York medical malpractice attorney who has written two excellent books, The Power of a System and The Law Firm of Your Dreams. I am a huge fan of creating systems in law firms and highly recommend these books, even for dirt lawyers….make that especially for dirt lawyers.