Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Peerless Legume

Steady march of the chic pea.  Thank you, Mack Sperling.  chickpeas(1)

The Power of Practice

A founding purpose of Midlaw & Divers Items was to learn about blogs. And the immediate learning was that they take time and discipline.  Not an Act but a Habit

In my case, making a rough commitment to post something once a week or so is a burden, although it has paid off in modest ways. Unexpectedly, the continuing business about hummus has put me in touch with people from all over. The spots about 19th Century lawyers fed into a presentation at the UNC Festival of Legal Learning that put me in touch with others. And the stuff about law firms has led into presentations to North Carolina Bar Association groups and more connections.

Also, writing things down has forced me to examine them at a different level and I have learned from that.

This points to two themes sounded here before. First, is the value of the “examined life,” which was Socrates’ point, later  applied to law practice by Jim Williams and commented on here. Second, is the primacy of practice over inspiration – an Aristotle point, carried forward here some time back.

A worthwhile article posted this week by Maria Popova, entitled The Pace of Productivity and How to Master Your Creative Routine, emphasizes the power of sustained practice. She quotes Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Popova draws from Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Jocelyn Glei. She also quotes Glei, quoting Gretchen Rubin quoting Anthony Trollope:

 “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.

All of this arises from my fretting about making no posts here for three or four weeks, while I have been diverted by other things.

What would Aristotle say? Or, Socrates? Or, Trollope?

Hummus Marches On Little Beany Feet

And to think it all started here.


Hummus is spreading rapidly. With no dip in popularity.

It is now reported by unimpeachable sources to be “conquering America.”

Chic peas: what a legumeComing soon to a tobacco field near you.

More on Professional Models

Professional models walk the walk

Professional models walk the walk

Two earlier posts here have commented on the key role of models in law firms. Models – members of the firm who walk the walk – are exceptionally effective transferors of standards and values.

They demonstrate how things are done and inspire doing things that way. (“I want to be like her.”) This eliminates both the need for dry hours of training and for cumbrous stacks of hierarchy.

  • So, models are efficient and inspiring.
  • Where do you get them?

The earlier posts commented on “organic” models – the ones that grow up naturally.  Every lawyer (young or old) should identify and emulate the finest members of his or her firm and profession. The best certainly do that. For that reason, firms should hold up their models. And that is also one of the roles of professional associations. (I have the sense that the business of giving awards in bar organizations has gone awry, but that is another discussion.)

The natural inclination is to look to older, prominent professionals and leaders as models; and, to think of models as other people. Some time ago though, I realized with a jolt that not only should I be identifying my models, but I might be one myself – and that I should give some attention to what kind of model I am. This is not just about how old I am or how prominent, but about how my example contributes to my firm’s culture.

  • So, models are not limited to other people. You are one.
  • But, not just you. Every member models the firm’s values and standards.

When not-older and not-prominent members can be acknowledged and celebrated as models, they should be – in formal and informal ways. But recognition may be the least of it. How do you engender a sense among everyone that they are models for everyone else?

This is easier to achieve in smaller organizations than in larger ones.