To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
What is the greatest legal resource that you must have? This is probably a question that does not have a clear answer. Is the answer access to a great online legal library or a forms database? Maybe it is having the newest smartphone or the latest high-speed computer. These items are all important, but let me suggest that one possible answer is having a close network of trusted colleagues.
Over the years, I have noticed that as we get older, more responsibility falls on our shoulders. Unfortunately, most of the time this burden is ours whether we want it or not, whether we ask for it or not and whether we assume it or not. Each day, more and more of the burden of life is transferred to us from our parents, teachers and friends as we lose them to retirement, accidents, stress, disease, drug abuse and the passing of time. As responsible adults we assume these burdens, do what needs to be done and soldier on with little fanfare.
Many of us have experienced the unpleasant feeling of uncertainty about what to do even after thoroughly researching an issue. When we get "stuck" and realize that out former teachers and leaders are no longer available to help, the ability to pick up the phone or sit down face to face with a trusted colleague and discuss the issue is very valuable. I might be wrong, but I don't believe they have a free online "get unstuck app" yet. Knowing that a serious adult without an agenda is considering your issue and giving you their best advice typically brings clarity to the issue and allows you to move forward confidently.
So the next time you are paying the bills to make sure that you do not lose your online subscription to a legal database or your smartphone, you might ask yourself what you are doing to maintain your relationships with your trusted colleagues. Consider inviting them to lunch or dinner. Send them a card on their birthday. Call them for no reason to see how things are going. But most importantly, be there for them when they get stuck.