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From People-Pleaser to Bold Attorney

Quote from “Shark: Pilot Episode”

Although I have been talking about being a lawyer ever since I was 7 years old to my parents, when I actually joined Law School at 17, it came as a shock to our outer circle of friends.

“You’re so calm. You should do psychology”.

“Law School?! You should go for something more like you… Architecture or Veterinarian”.

Well, I carried that with me for all Law School and the first years of my career. Extremely lost and doubtful of my choices. I LOVE the law. I love the principles and values that guide society. However, somehow, my qualities as a person, specially being a people-pleaser didn’t match what people would perceive as a successful lawyer.

And I truly was. I used to place so much value on other people’s opinions as if they knew me better than I knew myself. I mean, so much so, my own choices tortured me for years, to the point I was always looking for a way out, which, ironically, only led me to become empowered and certain of the choices I made.

Your Job is to Win!

On my second year of Law School I stumbled upon this TV Show called ‘Shark’. It was about this “sleezy lawyer” who only cared about winning. And he said: “Your job is to win. Justice is God’s problem“.

Now… it sounds really bad, right?! To have that as a some sort of motto.

I was thrilled and shocked at the same time. As a people pleaser who valued honesty, transparency, fairness… being guided by nothing by your own self-interest was preposterous. On the other hand, not giving a f*ck about anyone else’s interest but your client’s was extremely liberating.

Most of my Law School I looked for careers such as Diplomacy, Judge… something that would allow me to consider all sides and ponder about what would be fair. However, as I progressed in Law School and internships, it was clear to me that the lawyer was the one with the biggest “burden”. We had to know and do it all: everyone’s role in the system, all the steps and procedures, make sure everyone was behaving well and following the law and, on top of it, make sure our client got what he wanted from the lawsuit.

I MEAN… that’s my mojo. My jam. Know it all, do it all, be on top of everything and come out winning. So, it was natural for me to choose this path because I love challenging myself and be the best at everything.

With time, and as I gained more experience – specially in such a tough field like Election Law fighting for politicians – that quote made more and more sense. I was fighting for my clients and my job was to win for them!

Mindset of a Bold-Attorney

Now… aspiring to be a bold-attorney is not for the faint of heart. Much less for the lazy.

  1. We are constantly competing against ourselves, which means… we are our greatest and only enemy. Our first and most important task is to know all of our weakness and strengths. We do not want to ever be blindsided.
  2. Great adversaries are our best friends. They’re not enemies (remember? We only have one). We L-O-V-E bold attorneys, specially when they’re on the other side. That’s a rising up opportunity knocking on your door! Next level sh*t.
  3. If you want to stay on top of the game, you have to know the insides and out of the rules and regulations. Leaders are rule benders (not breakers). Therefore, we must know when, what and how much to bend. The Law is our greatest asset. Work with it!
  4. Whenever someone comes with information against you: always be suspicious. Our client is always right, until proven wrong. And even so, he suffered a great injustice. Keep fighting!
  5. “NO” is your coach. Everybody wants to say no to you when you’re thinking outside the box or coloring outside the lines. EMBRACE IT! Sometimes, it takes some of them and some arguments won’t be enough to get them on your side. If it’s a “one rock at a time” kind of building. It’s ok.
  6. Go outside the law. Go into the reasons of being for laws and rules. Learn to think and to argue, even (specially) when you know there’s a no or slight chance of it going your way. The fewer the chances, the harder you have to work. It’s an Art and you’re an artist!

Have fun and love what you do.

I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t enjoy your work. QUIT IT! If you don’t like your career. LEAVE IT!

I struggled so long with my career as a lawyer, which prompted me to go into several coaching classes and courses, self improvement seminars. They all brought me back to the Law.

The harder I tried to let go, the harder I fell in love with because it was all about changing my mindset and give myself the tools to actually create what I am creating now.

I’m not replicating anyone’s pathways. I’m forging my own. I have my own way of going about the Law. I trust my inner compass. I trust my devotion to knowledge, to justice and fairness. Regardless, I know who I’m fighting for. And that’s what makes me the great lawyer I am.

When I believe, when I know… when I MOVE with PURPOSE, I’m unstoppable. And that… is the signature trait of a bold lawyer.

From People-Pleaser to Bold Lawyer Paula Camila Pinto

Keys to a Bold-Lawyer Mindset from my perspective. 
  1. From People-Pleaser to Bold Lawyer
  2. Roteiros: Organizando Prazos com Engenharia Reversa