Under Analysis . . .


Mark Levison, The Levison Group

Most of the boys of summer have laid down their gloves and surrendered the game to those few still standing as we head towards the colder days of the World Series. Leaves are changing in most American communities, as another year shows its age. Lawyers still walk their dogs, but some of them are wearing jackets. Mums have replaced lilies, grocery stores are selling gourds not berries, and jack-o-lanterns are on our door steps. Legal counselors are enjoying the last crisp days in their convertibles, and I am riding my motorcycle as much as I can. Meanwhile, law firms are ramping up collection efforts, during the dwindling days of 2014, and have started assessing what went right and wrong this year.

For many lawyers, the better economic climate in 2014 has resulted in good work. It is comforting to know that clients still have confidence that we can help them with their difficult problems. My firm has hired several young lawyers recently and my stepson, who graduated from law school in May and got married in September, asked me to help him with his bio for his new law firm. I remember what starting out as a lawyer was like. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was running back to the library — we had books in those days — to spend all night writing a brief, before a quick shower and then back to trial, where I listened to my superiors do all of the talking. Part of me still feels very much like that young lawyer, filled with the excitement of the practice of the law. It is a wondrous time – a lot like a new marriage, becoming a parent or even a grandparent. It’s a time when everything seems possible, despite the limited view of the future that comes with the territory.

Part of me feels older though. I have gone through the days of cranking out the massive amount of hours big firms require, staying up late and taking direction from teams of senior attorneys. I am giving the directions now. The attorney ultimately responsible receives the majority of the benefit, while carrying the majority of the burden. Younger lawyers don’t know what it’s like to be that guy. They can’t know. Some of them will find out; some of them will quit before they get there.

My third daughter Lila was born as I first began writing this syndicated column. Although I have been writing for a long time now, it seems like yesterday to me. One look at Lila, the impressive bi-lingual school teacher, tells me it wasn’t yesterday. My Dad always told me that time moves fast. His warning didn’t mean much to me then. He’s gone, and it does now.

I flew to Minneapolis last week to visit my first grandchild. My oldest daughter Mariah had an unexpectedly dangerous child birth which threatened both her and her son. Thankfully, they are fine. Her generation is partial to unique names. She picked the Scandinavian name “Soren”. I thought a good old fashioned American name would be better. I suggested “Crazy Horse.”

Autumn is the most exhilarating season. October is a good month for contemplation. As Joni Mitchell said “[W]e are captured on a carousel of time”. Lots of things circle around; leaves, regrets and promises. Some things are predictable in the Fall, other things are changing. Lawyers will join firms and most eventually move on. Big cases will be won and lost. The World Series will be exciting to many of us. It should be a good month, and then it will be November.


Under Analysis is a nationally syndicated column. Mark Levison is a member of the law firm Lashly & Baer. You can reach the Levison Group in care of this paper or by e-mail at comments@levisongroup.com.

© 2014 Under Analysis L.L.C.