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How to Lead an “Easy Does It” Law Life

by Jay Reeves |

Do you ever ask yourself, “Shouldn’t it be getting easier?” 

By “it” I mean practicing law. But I also mean practicing life. If you’ve done it long enough to get the hang of it and learned a few lessons along the way, shouldn’t it be getting easier every day? 

Yet it isn’t. Occasionally your JD is the opposite of Just Delightful, and you find yourself standing on the front lawn at 2 AM shaking your fist at the cosmos bellowing:

“Why is everything so hard?” 

Good news! The cosmos has answered. And because the cosmos watches Jeopardy, the answer is in the form of a question: 

“What are you doing about it?”


Add Some “Easy Does It” to Your Day

There was a time in my Law Life when the days were graced with sunshine, everything was easy, and it seemed I had won Willie Wonka’s golden ticket. 

This was in the early 1980s, in my third year as a lawyer, when I ran a solo practice from a tight, windowless nook between the stairwell and attic of an historic old building in Charleston, SC. My space was more holding pen than actual office, but no matter. I rented it for peanuts. There was a shelf for my lawbooks. I was surrounded by fascinating people, glorious churches and grand architecture. 

I even had a few clients, enough to cover my miniscule monthly overhead. And frankly I wasn’t looking for more work. Ours was a two-career family with three youngsters and a fourth on the way, a cottage under renovation on Sullivans Island, and a long daily commute over the perilous Cooper River Bridge. My hands were full.


“Easy Does It” Tip #1: Stay Present

These days, just thinking about those busy times is exhausting. I wonder how in the world we did it. And that is the answer: we just did it. We were in the moment, actually living the experience. Life was new and exciting and exhilarating and energizing, and we were too busy doing The Next Thing to worry about how hard it all was.


“Easy Does It” #2: Move Your Body

Here’s a little exercise: Stand and raise both of your arms straight up with fingers pointing to the sky. Stretch out your fingertips. Tilt your head upwards. Take three deep breaths. Now slowly lower your arms towards your toes. Keep breathing. Feel the areas in your body that are tight and tense. Relax into the movement.

Sometimes when I think the burdens of life are mounting and its joys diminishing, it helps to get out of my head and into my body. Focusing on my breath is automatically relaxing because it takes my mind off the problem. Stretching my muscles and getting the blood flowing are mood-enhancers.


Easy Does It #3: Doing the Same Thing For 10,000 Hours Doesn’t Always Produce Mastery
It can also produce nausea, complacency, lassitude, mental numbness, incuriosity, anhedonia, repetitive motion injury, stress, anger, and the social skills of a can opener. (With due apologies to Malcolm Gladwell and Outliers).


Easy Does It #4: Don’t Let the Sound of Your Own Wheels Make You Crazy

“Lighten up while you still can. Don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.” (With due respect to Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and Take It Easy).

Risk Rhetoric:
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”Richard Rohr, theologian and writer

More Risk Rhetoric:
“Pitching is sometimes the easiest thing in the world and sometimes the hardest.” Jim Catfish Hunter, baseball Hall of Famer from North Carolina


Law Life List: 10 Easy Songs
(1) Easy to be Hard, Three Dog Night (2) It Don’t Come Easy, Ringo Starr (3) Easy, The Commodores (4) Easy Livin’, Uriah Heep (5) Easy Loving, Freddie Hart (6) Make it Easy on Yourself, Dionne Warwick (7) Easy Come, Easy Go, Bobby Sherman (8) It’s So Easy, Buddy Holly (9) I’m Easy, Keith Carradine (10) Am I That Easy to Forget? Engelbert Humperdinck


Jay Reeves practiced law for nearly 40 years. He is from Kingstree, South Carolina, not far from the birthplace of Ernest Evans (better known as Chubby Checker). He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World and runs Your Law Life LLC.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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