I’m training myself to accept failure. More than that, I’m trying to actively identify and deal with how I process failure emotionally. And that’s not easy for someone whose perfectionism (not a positive trait) and guilt can sometimes prevent me from actually getting things done at work or actively engaging with the world, e.g. if you don’t start, then you can’t fail, and if you can’t fail, then you can’t feel the pain - but you can’t succeed either. Basically, when I fail, it’s often because I can’t get out of my own way, and not because of external reasons. I’ve failed many, many times – many times: in business, in life, in love, in friends, in family. And I keep failing. And that will certainly continue.
For those of you who don’t know, the Law Practice Program (LPP) is created by the Law Society in partnership with Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa that offer curriculum in English and French, respectively. It is designed to provide a licensing pathway to becoming a lawyer without having to article. This program is a pilot project that started in 2014, and was scheduled to run for three years before the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) evaluated the success of the program.
Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during someone else's therapy session? In this podcast, Susanne Gabriele and Andreas Kalogiannides admit to some personal and professional realizations and, despite being warned by their Inner Critics not to, they've decided to share them with you.
It is so easy as a lawyer to get frustrated with the many deficiencies of the Legal System. It is easy to blame yourself, and often it seems, the world blames the legal profession. It is all the more important then to celebrate whenever the system has worked.
When I was working in Big Law, partners and associates sometimes looked at in-house counsel as those who couldn’t make it on Bay Street. In-house counsel were the weaker lawyers, the ones who couldn’t compete, or the ones who could not handle the long hours. Lawyers went in-house because they wanted work life balance. In fact, articles are written about women leaving Bay Street and entering in-house practice because they just can’t put in the hours anymore.
Once upon a time, I found myself visiting the studios of a major media broadcaster. As it was the first time I was there, I was meeting new people for the first time. This is how the conversation with one woman went:
Me: "Hi, I'm Andreas Kalogiannides. Nice to meet you!"
Woman: "A pleasure to meet you, Andreas. My name is Stephanie". (not her real name)
[Enter our mutual friend who introduced us]
Friend: "Andreas is a lawyer!"
Woman: "Oh wow - I had better watch out around you, then! Ha. Ha. Ha"
As she said it, her tone and demeanour changed from being comfortable, friendly and warm to somewhat stand-off-ish, cautiously guarded and even slightly reverential. In literally 2.8 seconds, the information that I work as a lawyer changed how she perceived me. Why - WHY? - would you have to "watch out" around me? Am I going to use anything you say against you in the inevitable future claim which I will rush off to file in court as soon as I leave the building?
Snoop brings the real talks.
If you have ever wondered why some people are "successful" - emotionally, spirituality, socially, at work, in friendship & love or financially (although much of long-term financial achievement is a result of achievement in these other areas) - it's because they have cultivated the emotional intelligence to see things, situations, people and, most importantly, themselves, for what & how they truly are.
Going through law school, I so often heard that it was a lawyer’s duty not to bring the justice system into disrepute. This always seemed like a hilarious statement to me. Personally, I come from a “modest means” background (that’s lawyers’ speak for saying I’m broke and from a trailer park). I grew up in a community where 30% of children live under the poverty line. A place where economic depression is the status quo and where honest hard-working people sell weed on top of working full-time and going to school so that they can pay their rent, feed their kids, and hope for a better future. Yet the system tries to put these people behind bars on mandatory minimums. I come from a place where domestic violence mixed with mental health and addictions issues are rampant. When you call the police on your drunk, mentally disturbed father who just pulled a shot gun on you, the system tells him that he has to complete one day of anger management, and that’s meant to solve the issue of ongoing domestic/substance abuse. When you come from a place like this, let’s just say you don’t have a lot of respect for authority. When you come from a place like this, saying don’t bring the justice system into disrepute just makes you laugh and think…was it ever reputable to begin with?
I read an interesting article recently in the Globe and Mail. High profile, professional women were interviewed to provide insight into the ongoing struggle for gender parity. Adrienne Clarkson was one of the interviewees, and her advice to younger women was never to believe in other people’s expectations of you; only believe in your expectations of yourself.
Why would someone who grew up with an intense fear of being confronted choose to become a lawyer? The obvious answer is that I had something to prove, but that presupposes that I was conscious of this fear and that I took active steps to engage with it. If I was conscious of the fear, it was only so that I could ‘manage’ it. When it came to that fear, the only thing I actively engaged in was finding something big enough to mask it.
When did we learn that there is only black and white? When did we forget that shades of grey exist? Somewhere along the way between law school and the law firm we forget that law needs to be applied and it’s not just something theoretical that only we as lawyers need to understand.