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From the Superbowl Saints' Playbook: 3 Tips for New Associates & Solo Practitioners

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By Neetal Parekh on February 08, 2010 8:51 AM

There's just something about rooting for an underdog that can be really satisfying. Especially when the underdog wins. The 31-17 win in Superbowl 2010 by the first-time Superbowl attendees, New Orleans Saints, over the Indiana Colts single-handedly supplied a dose of unique satisfaction. And the thrill of the unlikely win extended beyond the population of the home state to the nation that watched as levies gave way and water flooded the city of New Orleans under the power of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, claiming lives, livelihoods, and making the Superdome the largest makeshift shelter in the country--connecting the Saints with their fans in an unimaginable way.

And, in the morning-after norm of deeper level analysis on everything from uniforms to half-time show to Superbowl commercials, there is also a desire to find a way to find take-aways from the Saints' magic to incorporate into our daily lives. Well, new law associates and solo practitioners, here are 3 crucial calls from Superbowl 44 and how they can improve your law firm game.

1. 4th and 1: Find mentors you trust and take their advice to heart.

Saints Coach Sean Payton early in the game established that this was not Sunday afternoon scrimmage, it was the nation's biggest pro football game.  And out-of-the-box thinking and plays would be the norm and not the exception.  The move was a vote of confidence in the team's offense, defense, and showed a deep understanding of the game and the kind of gutsy plays that would be required to beat a skilled and experienced team like the Colts.  And as attorney and blogger Matt Homann advises new law associates in this online interview, just as in football, in law it is important to find mentors and trust their honed instincts. Payton's play may not have brought points to the table, but his team's full cooperation and effort led to the successful execution of other bold plays throughout the game.

2. The Onside Kick: Sometimes you need to do the unexpected to change direction.

In another instance of throwing out the play book, Saints Coach Sean Payton laid out an unexpected move to put his trailing team back on track. The onside kick may have caught football aficionados off guard, but the gutsy move may well have changed the course of the game.

And the take-away for the rookie associate or suddenly-solo practitioner? Know the game so you can change the game. The better you understand the field you practice in and the your role in the business of law, the better vantage point you will have to make well-conceived, but surprising, suggestions or moves to better position your firm or your own practice for the future.  As attorney Matt Homann advises, you have to understand the business of law to go from being a cog in the machine to becoming a significant player, entrusted with making tough, even downright bold calls.

3. A Two-Point Conversion: Success is making every point count.

Going for a two-point conversion was another bold move on the part of the Saints--and another that proved successful.  Where the safe play would have been to pursue a single point after touchdown, the move for two was a signal to the team, and the millions of spectators, that every point counts. Applying that to your practice or law firm, you can achieve success by not only focusing on big-picture strategies for success but also nuanced methodologies that may not win the case but will improve your skills as an attorney and your relations with firm partners and the clients you serve. Doing so will help drive home the idea that it's never a single point or motion that's at stake, it's the entire game.

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