DTCI: What does the Swift-Kelce relationship have to do with the law?

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Unless you have been living under a rock, everyone has heard about “Traylor,” “Tayvis” or “Swelce” — the nicknames given to the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce relationship. With Swift’s romance with Kelce, a legion of “Swifties” (many of whom likely thought a quarterback was the amount of change received from a dollar for a 75-cent purchase) are suddenly interested in football. So how do some of these Swifties go about learning about football? They just ask.

Travis and his brother, Jason, share a podcast. Shortly after Travis’ relationship with Swift became public knowledge, a Swiftie called in to the podcast to ask what a “down” is in football. Travis was uncertain how to respond, but Jason attempted to explain the answer so that the caller understood.

You may be wondering what that has to do with the practice of law? I am glad you asked.

Since the pandemic, I have noticed how interactions in the legal profession have become more impersonal. I, too, am guilty of this, as more and more I communicate via email and less and less via voice over the phone or in person. One reason, of course, is convenience. Many times, it is easier to send an email due to the time of day (we all seem to be working at different times) or location (it is not easy to call someone from my favorite bagel shop). However, in so doing, I realize that we are missing out on experiences that can only help us in our legal practices. How do we address this issue? I am glad you asked.

My thinking is that we need to communicate and ask more questions of those we deal with on a daily basis. We need to ask our legal assistants what we can do to help them be more proficient or to improve their work environment. In firms, especially larger firms, we need to ask our fellow attorneys what types of law they enjoy and practice for cross-marketing purposes. For those of us who are more experienced, we need to ask our younger attorneys how we can be better mentors to them. Similarly, younger attorneys should be asking the attorneys giving them work what they can do to improve their work product.

We need to ask our clients what we can do to help them. Many clients have requirements they must meet, so asking them how we can help will only improve their view of us as their attorneys. We should be asking what our clients’ interests may be to further develop our relationships.

We should not be afraid to ask opposing counsel for an extension of time instead of filing multiple motions with courts seeking extensions. We are fortunate to practice in a locale where most counsel recognize that “what goes around, comes around” when dealing with others. Thus, cooperation goes a long way in benefiting your practice and furthering your client’s interests.

These are just a few suggestions for improving personal interactions and relationships. With the approach of a new year, I hope to have more personal interaction with attorneys, clients and members of my firm. I hope that by doing so, I will benefit professionally and personally. Will it work? Only time will tell. However, if you are interested in knowing how it is going … just ask.

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Richard K. Shoultz is a partner in Lewis Wagner LLP in Indianapolis and serves on the DTCI board of directors. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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