Under Analysis- The rock star in all of us

By Mark Levison

   I've often said my only regret in life is I wasn’t Rod Stewart.  Part of the reason I have only one regret is life as a lawyer has been great.  Still, if any of us spends enough time contemplating what might have been, we can imagine other paths, and I admit the thought of being paid to play my guitar, sing and have girls scream when I wink has real appeal.
   In fact, it was just a few weeks ago that I spirited my wife off for a weekend in a cabin in the woods to do a little canoeing and enjoy the fall foliage.  One evening I built a fire, pulled out my guitar and started singing.  Unbeknownst to me, she turned on her iPhone video and by the end of the night, she’d captured my versions of Dylan, Denver, Simon, Springsteen, and Stewart classics along with a few folk songs like “Stewball,” that I used to sing with my little girls in the evenings before bed.  Before I knew it she was mailing “Mark’s Bootlegged Session” to all of my friends.  As far as I’ve been able to determine, I now have a significant fan base composed of my wife, our two Great Danes, our Puggle and our miniature Schnauzer.
   Then too, there are sports.  My grandfather and brother were great athletes, and what could have possibly been wrong with being paid millions of dollars to hit a baseball?  I often fantasize about my days on our Criminal Element Championship law school football team and I just recently found the old shirt from my softball team, Australopithecus Robustus.  We were a manly group, but the shirt fits my wife better now than me.  Of course, in truth, although my grandfather boasted Olympic credentials, if I’m really honest with myself (something I generally try to avoid) I know I never really had the ability to play professional sports.  An entertainer however… well, that’s a different matter.
Admittedly, I don’t play any instruments well, and my voice is only passable, but neither of those characteristics is required for stardom.  Consider Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan.  The list of popular singers with mediocre – or worse – voices, is never ending.  Singing is more about personality.  Still, even though being a rock star has always seemed a natural alternative to me, I recently realized that getting paid for what I really do has about as many plusses as my fantasy rock-n-roll life.
   When we think about it, lawyers have an absolutely marvelous way of making a living.  Sure, signing autographs and singing to a packed arena is exhilarating, and fielding hot ground balls at first, Albert Pujols style (I was a first baseman in Little League) is exciting, but so is making arguments on motion days; so is appearing before the Supreme Court.  So is negotiating a great deal that makes my client happy.  Today, when a lot of people are looking for jobs, I feel very fortunate to not only have a job of work to do, but to have a job that is fun and rewarding.  As trial lawyers we get to take our own swings, and play to our own crowd.  We know the exhilaration of victory, and like athletes, sometimes the agony of defeat.  Still, for me, it is always an honor to champion my clients’ causes.  So, when any of us lawyers think about how great it would be to be Rod Stewart or Lebron James, we ought to realize how great it is to be us.
   Now, I’m not saying if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t consider being Rod Stewart.  Heck, not only does he have a lot of fun entertaining – and I’ve seen him do it – but he seems to have a great sense of humor.  He once quipped, "[I]nstead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.”  I suppose the life of a rock star, while fun, isn’t perfect.  In fact, life isn’t perfect for any of us.  We all have our own hills to climb and bumps in the road.  Challenges can be looked upon as burdens, or they can be looked upon as opportunities.  Often the key to life is not what we do, or what happens to us, but our positive or negative attitude in reaction to what life sends our way.  So for me, I’ll look at things on the positive side, and when I’m in Court, if you look carefully and you might just notice a little Rod Stewart strut.
Well, it's the holiday season at the end of two years that have been very rough on our clients and a little rough on us.  Here's a toast to a better 2011, and the rockstar that lives in all of us.


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