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What do you want your legacy to be?

Posted on January 8, 2020 in

Recently I was asked what I wanted my legacy to be. Legacy? Who me? I’m not famous or in politics. I haven’t invented the next great technology or a medical device that saves lives. I’m not even a lawyer arguing over constitutional issues or issues affecting human rights or public policy. But we all will leave a legacy behind; how we will be remembered by those we touched during our lives. 

The question was posed to me during our interview of a candidate for an administrative position at the firm. I was not prepared for the question. The answer I gave was word salad; a combination of marketing speak, and a result of having read management books and attended many seminars for entrepreneurs. The interview continued but I could not get the thought out of my mind. 

I went home that night and thought more about the question – WHAT DO I WANT MY LEGACY TO BE? And the answer came to me. But before I tell you what that is, let me give you the answer I gave during the interview.

My response went something like this:

“I want to be remembered as hard working and dedicated.  I want to be respected.  And I want the same for my firm; that we are good people and good attorneys.”

Lame. Bravo, Brett. You can understand my displeasure with that response. A very “on the surface” answer with little, if any, depth to it. That’s not who I am, nor how I want to be remembered. 

So, I thought about it more. What do I want my legacy to be?

“HE CARED”. That seems so simple but it says so much.

I want my legacy to be that I cared about:

  • Myself
  • My wife and kids
  • My family
  • My friends
  • My business partner
  • My work family
  • My clients
  • My community
  • Those with whom I interacted on a daily basis

Caring is where it all starts and ends. If we don’t care, we don’t love, work hard, dedicate ourselves, and do the right thing. The order of the above list is not random. In my opinion each is required to get to the next level. You cannot truly care for your wife and kids if you do not take care of and care for yourself. An unhappy you will make for an unhappy family life. You cannot truly care for your clients if you don’t take care of and care for your work family. Unhappy team members will lead to unhappy clients, and then no clients. 

Caring will get you out of bed at 4:45 am to exercise to care for yourself and be home in time to care for your family before school. Caring will get you out of bed in the middle of the night to work because you want to achieve the desired result for the client. Caring is making sure you are the most prepared person in the room for every meeting, every deposition, every court hearing, every interaction. And so on.

If you’ve followed Bast Amron over the years you know we are passionate about our core values; our “5 C’s”. Those are not just words on a wall. We live by them. “We Care” is the first and most important core value, and a trait that exists in every member of our team.           

While this is where I’m at today, I realize that my thoughts on my legacy may evolve as I evolve. For now, my hope for my legacy will continue to shape who I am and how I live my life.    

What do you want your legacy to be?

About the Author: Brett has been a litigator his entire career. He advises clients in complex business and bankruptcy litigation matters with an emphasis on director and officer liability, breach of fiduciary duty, partnership and shareholder disputes, fraud, and avoidance and recovery of preferential and fraudulent transfers. Brett represents court-appointed fiduciaries, trustees, receivers, corporations, shareholders, individuals, creditors’ committees, and secured and unsecured creditors.