The story of a small law firm
There once were two builders who were passionate about building houses.
The first builder conducted research and realised that many people in the town wanted their own houses. He decided to build a house as soon as possible, in the most cost-effective manner, with the view to find a buyer for the house and sell the house to make a profit. In this regard, the builder employed low-cost workers to build the house fast, and appointed agents to market and sell the house. He proceeded to do so and made a good profit. He invested some of the profit and used the balance to start building a further house to sell. He quickly made a lot of money and could afford to build more houses and his own big house.
The second builder was moved by the homeless problem in his town and felt a calling to build a house in which to live in all his life and accommodate others in need. As soon as the second builder had one room, he decided to share and rent the rooms of the house by the hours, days, weeks, months or even years, to paying visitors in need. The moment the second builder’s house was finished, he hung out a sign indicating that his home was temporarily available to visitors needing a rest or protection, or wanting to learn to build their own houses.
Although the town thought highly of the second builder because of his good impact, many outsiders liked to criticize the second builder. Other builders built further houses, some bigger, and some grander. These other houses attracted some of the second builder’s visitors. These other builders had different opinions to the second builder and wanted to build their own better houses. The second builder and the builders of the other houses often threw stones at each other trying to attack some visitors hiding in the houses of the other builders.
The second builder did not only solve the visitors’ homeless need, but also gave the visitors meals and care. When the visitors went to sleep, the second builder kept watch, as he knew he had to get up and fix any possible problem which could arise in the house, for instance relating to a burst geyser.
To pay off the building cost, all visitors to the second builder’s house had to pay a fee. However, not all the visitors paid the second builder and the second builder tried to get better and more paying visitors. When some of the visitors learnt to build their own houses, they left the second builder’s house, and sometimes they took some of the second builder’s visitors with them.
The second builder became so busy helping all the visitors, that he spent less time outside his house. The second builder even became too busy to visit the doctor when he was sick. He took a long time before he covered the building and maintenance cost of his house. However, the second builder thought he was rich as he knew a lot about house building and helped many visitors. The second builder forgot about the first builder or that there was any other basis to build a house and get paid.
Following this story, can you guess which builder can be compared to a commercial business, and which builder can be compared to a small law firm? What lessons can the second builder learn from the first builder? Are there perhaps lessons the first builder can learn from the second builder?
By Emmie de Kock (May 2018)
Copyright LawyerFirst Coaching