I have been reading Enuma Okoro in the Weekend FT. Her New York Diary – a reflection on Epiphany and epiphanies – was wonderfully thought provoking. Sadly it is behind the FT’s paywall.
For better or worse, I left faith and religion a long time ago. Although I started to train as a priest I never reached journey’s end. We were warned that the second year would be difficult. It was in fact surprisingly easy to find a different way. Nonetheless, I have always been captivated by the journey of the Magi. Whether in the art of the Renaissance – I first saw Gozzoli’s beautiful fresco in the Medici Chapel some 50 years ago – or in T S Eliot’s retelling – a cold coming for Birth or Death.
And this morning I was struck by Enuma Okoro’s reflection,
The Magi were said to be priestly people, astrologers who could read the skies and stars and signs. One of my favourite parts of the story is that the wise men travel home by a different way because they have been warned that the old way is no longer suitable. Now they know what they know, and they have seen what they have seen, the former way home can no longer lead to preserving life. They were not the same people returning as those who left.
And as we set out on our different journeys in 2021, she puts it perfectly
The reality of 2020 still sits before us all. . . Knowing what we know, and seeing what we’ve seen, none of us can really be at home with ourselves and with the world as before . . . it seems clear that most of us want to return by a different way. Whether we wanted it or not, the past year has allowed, if not enforced, the unearthing of things — in our relationships, in our life choices and negotiations, and in the journeys we’ve found ourselves on.
Our challenge what we are going to do about it.
This will be my last Lawslot Redux post as a practising lawyer.
In less than a week I change roles, leaving the world of corporate transactions – a world I have known for some 36 years – to focus on client relationships and client development. I will still keep my practicing certificate (and I have been assured that I will remain insured) so technically I will still be a lawyer – but without transactions it will not be the same.
Not surprisingly this change has led me to reflect on my career – far too much reflection, according to my children, who believe they should have a monopoly on introspection. But don’t worry, I am not going to go there in this post. But what has struck me is that notwithstanding how the legal profession has changed in my professional lifetime – and is still changing – the same cannot be said for the actual day job. This has changed very little in 36 years. There is no doubt that that the means of doing is different: back in the day we had no email, no fax, no PCs. Everything was typed (and then copy typed), drafts travelled (marked, and occasionally butchered, in precise colour order, with riders stapled, or stuck on with Sellotape), calls were landline, and you still dialled a number. Even if there wasn’t, there seemed a great deal more time.
But transactions, and our role in them as lawyers, have remained pretty well unchanged: same documents, same issues, same arguments (just a different generation of lawyer doing the arguing), same tensions . . . and same excitement. Each transaction the same in its essentials, each different in its particulars.
And it is the excitement that has kept me working – this is what I know that I will miss, but, as my last post, the time comes for us all.
Thanks to the link in one of John Naughton’s recent posts in Memex 1.1, a link to Ed Boyden’s post How to think: a fascinating set of rules. Interesting and practical advice, and relevant to every lawyer coming to terms with our changing world of legal services.