“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
That up there is Mark Twain. People from Hartford love Mark Twain. I am from Hartford.
I left law big law firm life for corporate law life in 2007. For myriad reasons obvious to lawyers and boring to non-lawyers, getting an “in-house” job like the one I had is many lawyers’ dream. There is a really long and growing list of folks who want to replace me. Practically nobody leaves a job like that.
Conventional wisdom is that I should have told him no and wished him well. No matter how awesome the person they’d be leaving for, in-house lawyers don’t leave their jobs. Not unless it’s for another in-house job, and definitely not in this economy.
My immediate, hard-wired reaction was to go conventional. But, Kristen, my love, who’s about to sit for the bar herself so she can hurry on up and join Ryan and me, pushed me. She is brave. She is not afraid to do the unorthodox. Heck, she’s fished commercially (her Dad was jealous) and she’s lived in a treehouse (not a house in a tree. A treehouse.)
When I told her about Ryan’s text, Kristen said, “Well, are you going to?” I replied, “It would be awesome.” I didn’t mean, “It would be awesome, so I’m going to do it.” I meant, “Sigh, it would be awesome, sigh, I’m sorry I can’t do it, sigh.”
She pushed. “You should. You love Ryan. And, Meghan. Why not? Really. Why. Not.”
She was right. And now here we all are, throwing off our bowlines.
Over the past two weeks I have been telling people that matter to me about FreedMcKeen. Among them were my in-house lawyer collegues and other lawyers at firms big and small across the country. They are people whose opinions I value, admire, and trust. They are also people who do not mince words when they have an opinion. I expected to get some feedback about risk and the economy. I thought there would be a few folks who would simply tell me I was nuts.
No one did. Not a one. There was one word that literally every in-house and big firm lawyer said to me . . . bold. To a one, they didn’t say crazy, they said bold.
The small firm lawyers, the guys that had started their own firms? (I’m not generalizing, they are all men.) They, to a one, told me ”The only thing I would change is I would have started my own firm sooner.”
In the six plus months while we’ve dreamed up this firm one of our favorite quotes has been Jobs’ — “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.” Kristen and I were at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown (seriously) to get Ryan a pirate flag (seriously). Inside the museum hung this sign:
Mark Twain likes that we’re pirates.