Under Analysis: A sad goodbye with some lessons learned

Lisa Henderson-Newlin, The Levison Group

It is with a heavy heart that I write this column today because it will be my last column—at least for a while. But don’t fret. We still have many memories together. So for my last column, I thought I would remind you of a few life lessons we’ve learned together over the years.

For instance, we learned that although those Keebler Elves look adorable in their work uniforms, they’re running a sweat shop up in that tree and someone needs to alert the authorities. Of course, I’m still going to continue to eat their fabulous cookies until the place is shut down because their double fudge cookies are the best.

We also learned that lawyers should be called doctors because we are, in fact, doctors of the law. It’s not fair that others are called doctor, like Dr. Pepper, as he has no degree (although he is extremely knowledgeable on how to make a drink taste like heaven).

We learned that CLEs and seminars in different cities and states during the summer are pretty much the lawyer’s version of a kid’s summer camp, only there’s a lot more booze and a lot less tee-peeing. (I said less. I didn’t say there was no tee-peeing at seminars. Those interns have it coming.)

We learned that when it’s time for back to school shopping, our needs as lawyers should be considered as well. We need highlighters just like everyone else, even if the reason we need ours is because we forget to put the caps on them because we frequently fall asleep reading case law.

And how can we forget the lessons we learned about how “Law and Order” is not even remotely like the real-life practice of law, mostly because we don’t get that cool “bump bump” sound bite in between docket settings. (Well, not unless you download that ringtone on your phone. Then you can have that sound whenever you like…you know…if you were someone who wanted to do that…)

Speaking of ringtones, we all remember my suggested punishments for people who don’t silence their phones in court. From forcing someone to explain the hearsay exceptions to watching an entire day of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” I’d like to think I’ve made a difference in the legal community as far as how to deal with delinquents who don’t know how to turn down their ringer.

We’ve also touched upon other options for entertaining clients that don’t involve 100 degree heat and carrying around heavy metal objects. Give me a massage and a mojito any day. That’s how you really connect with your clients. Bottoms up!

And hopefully someone will take my suggestions of what they should really teach in law school seriously. I mean, if we can’t figure out how to get ketchup out of a wool suit, all the legal arguing in the world won’t help us win a case with the jury. One’s client shouldn’t lose out just because he (or she) loves to eat a burger and fries for lunch and has no control over those pesky ketchup packets. Those things have a mind of their own!

But most of all, dear reader, I hope you’ve taken away a few laughs and realized that we all need to take ourselves a little less seriously. Laugh often—yes, even at work. Smile more frequently—yes, even at work. And please, oh please, treat each other with kindness and respect—especially at work.

And what was the biggest lesson we learned from my years of writing for you, dear readers? It was that hitting the “Reply All” button is the worst sin anyone in the professional world can commit. Well, that, and leaving the copier without toner.


Under Analysis is a nationally syndicated column of The Levison Group. Lisa Henderson-Newlin is a member of the law firm McAnany Van Cleave and Phillips. Contact Under Analysis by email at comments@levisongroup.com.
©2016 Under Analysis, LLC.


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