Value investing is a strategy that advocates buying securities that trade at less than their “intrinsic value” based on fundamentals such as high discounts to book value, high dividend yields, low price-to-earnings multiples, a healthy balance sheet, and a sound business plan. The value investor resists bubbles and irrational exuberance and treads cautiously in a bull market.
Similarly, an emphasis on value benefits a lawyer in maintaining her “security” in different economic climates. Each lawyer seeks out her own area and type of practice. Whether in private practice, company, or public sector, “value lawyering” requires continuing attention to the fundamental skills of lawyering: drafting, negotiation, counseling, written and oral advocacy, research, cross-examination, and a personal commitment to continuing education.
I speak to dozens of associates weekly; their goals, if they have one, include partnership, work-life balance, in-house and public sector or not-for-profit. They may want to practice in an industry such as media and entertainment, alternate investment, or manufacturing. Whatever the industry, whatever the sector, a practicing lawyer must continuously enhance her value by focusing on these fundamentals.
Of course, value lawyering, like value investing, cannot eliminate risk. Vision, flexibility, and resilience are also essential to a successful portfolio or career. Having value lawyering in your career development toolkit will help you grow your “portfolio” personally and professionally.
© 2011 David Bargman
President, Baum, Stevens