This week, we will be exploring the differences between our previous professions and working in the corporate world.  Owning and operating a small business is a big change from working as an attorney or in state government, and presents a different set of challenges and opportunities.


I have practiced law for over thirty years and during that time I handled many litigated cases including personal injury, contested divorces, and, even, contested estates.    This can be some of the most acrimonious and emotionally charged areas of the law; however, with rare exception, every attorney that I opposed was honest, direct, and reliable.   Yes, in my experience, the vast majority of attorneys understand that the legal system demands and expects that we fulfill our duty to make that system work even as we zealously represent the interests of our client.

In addition to the code of ethics and rules of civility there also is, in some sense, an unwritten bond among attorneys that allows for a level of respect and cooperation not found in many other professions.  In almost all cases, attorneys will extend courtesies such as agreeing to reasonable adjournments and extensions of time in order for the process to run smoothly and in an effort not to be unduly harsh to the other attorney.   Attorneys work under the premise of “what goes around comes around”.   In other words, if you are unyielding to your fellow attorneys, you will be given that same treatment the next time you need an accommodation.

All in all, even though I rarely agreed with my adversary (it is litigation after all), I almost always was able to count on their honest pursuit of the law on behalf of their client.

When I started to operate USFSB, I was plunged into a new world of inconsistency, unreliability and, sometimes, outright misrepresentation that can be large corporate America.  Many times, I have found that the large corporations we have had to deal with would give us inconsistent and unreliable feedback as we worked our way up the corporate ladder.   You could never count on the agreement or plan of action you made with your contact being endorsed by his boss such that you could never rely on anything.   I actually have had corporate representatives come to my office and strike a deal with us only to have them deny it once they are back at their corporate headquarters.

It was very difficult to operate our business when the corporate players changed frequently and we often found that we would need to pitch our successful programs all over again to a new set of decision makers.   We were always put in the position of having to convert what we thought were the already converted.   As these corporations, including national vendors and large insurance carriers, reinvent themselves every few years, the inconsistency becomes unbearable at times.

Give me the world of attorneys over the world of corporate management any day.    Attorneys may have a bad reputation in some circles; but, in reality they are a lot easier to work with than your average corporate executive.