WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT LAW SCHOOL V: WEAR SUNSCREEN AND HAVE A PLAN: GUIDANCE FROM KUALA LUMPUR

I said at the outset of this series that we would draw inspiration from the world. Here we go to Kuala Lumpur. I am encouraging you to read a report of a talk  in 2010 given by Brendan Navin Siva  when he was chairman of the Bar in  Kuala Lumpur which is recorded in  “Of Sunscreen, Blackberries, and Successful Lawyers”. Some of this talk is cultural (or at least climate) specific and the reference to “Blackberries” emphasises his point as to how technology develops.   There is a lot of wisdom here.

WEAR SUNSCREEN

This is, as the author states,  the only “scientific” advice that was given (the rest is based on his “meandering experience”.  I read it as a reminder to all lawyers to look after their health. If you work in sunnier climes this is, without doubt, good advice.

HAVE A PLAN

“Look at yourself and work out what YOU want to do in life. Have a plan. Do not meander through life not knowing what you want. Wanting to be rich or wanting to make money is not a plan. It is the end result of a good plan but it is not itself a plan.”

THE OTHER IMPORTANT ELEMENTS

  • Work hard.
  • Present yourself well.
  • Deal with stress.
  • Never be beholden to any client.
  • Embrace technology.
  • Travel and see the world.
  • Have a network of friends.

HOLIDAYS ARE IMPORTANT

“Set aside 1 week in the first half of the year and one week in the second half of the year for a holiday. Book these dates well in advance so your boss cannot say he did not know about it. Better yet, book tickets to fly somewhere so your boss cannot expect you to reschedule your plans (without feeling guilty). Downtime is very important. The more senior you get, the more difficult it will be to take scheduled time off.”

FINALLY:  DO NOT BLINDLY ACCEPT ANYTHING

The one passage that most drew my attention is

“… do not blindly accept everything you are told by someone more senior and supposedly better than you. We are not better than you. We have just been here a little bit longer than you. Challenge the logic of what we say. If it does not make sense to you, don’t accept it.”

THIS SERIES

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