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"know thyself" is the cure, the answer, the process, the goal, the result


Don't Go There: Faust, Law Firm Managment & Profits

The legend of Dr. Faustus is more than half a millennium old. A German folktale with some basis in historical fact, the legend of the polymath, omni-lingual philosopher-turned-occultist dominates the German psyche, and has had immeasurable effect in our own literary tradition. The story, simply put, is that Dr. Faustus has plumbed all human knowledge, but yet wants more. Eventually, he makes a pact with the Devil to gain greater occult power, seduces a maiden, and eventually finds redemption. It's a long story, a poem really, that has an extremely devoted following (sort of along the order of the Wagnerian-groupie effect).

What does the Faustus myth have to do with law firm management? Plenty. The whole idea of the originally-well-intentioned ingenue of knowledge-turned-lawyer who eventually becomes the rapacious firm-merging blunt instrument/capitalist-tool is so ingrained in our profession's collected psyche as to be a paradigm. The funny thing along the path of such a person is that while brilliant, charming and incredibly competent, such persons tend to have a phoenix-like quality. In other words, while they may temporarily build something grand, they have a distinct tendency to crash and burn--bringing their friends, family and devoted employees and colleagues with them.

The irony is that the Faustian former king or king-maker in the legal industry may retire peacefully to a rural retreat and muse philosophical about his/her professional and personal triumphs and failures. Redeemed, out of the profession, at peace. The trick is, one wonders whether the said now-redeemed Faustus could have made the journey without all the drama, and without seducing the "maiden" (read: believing associates and partners alike). Are you listening, Tower?????

Just a thought.

I'll provide the link to Tower Snow's recent interview with The Recorder as soon as it becomes available. If you read it in light of Tower's meteoric rise, the Brobeck break-up, Tower's family blow-out, and the Clifford Chance debacle, his zen-like hubris is stunning.