Mad Men, Lawyers and the Clients You Want
I know, Mad Men is almost over and I have yet to write a blog post about how there are lessons we in the legal industry can learn from the folks at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy.
I’ve started to blog, really I have, but the posts seemed forced to me.
Sure, I could write about the transition of a rainmaker into an elder statesman of the firm, and the resentments that go along with it.
Or how the partners keep replacing their wives with younger, and yet-to-be destroyed emotionally, wives. Only to turn them into a younger, and just as bitter, version of the first wife.
Or how they are drove the lone female out of the firm because she feels under-appreciated.
But the posts were so, well, depressing, and I hate depressing.
But last week’s episode was the Mad Men I love so passionately. Yes, there was the side stories concerning Lane and Sally (no spoilers from me), but it was Don finding his passion about the clients he wants that got to me:
I don’t like what we’re doing,” Don tells Roger over drinks. “I’m tired of this piddly shit.
“I don’t want Jaguar. I want Chevy.
“I don’t want Mohawk. I want American.
“I don’t want Dunlap. I want Firestone.
The conversation between Don and Roger, according to Jon Hamm, is about Don “trying to say that we’re (Sterling Cooper Draper and the other guy) better than this. We can do better than this.”
You realize when you’re surrounded by young people that you’re getting older and what’s your legacy going to be? Are you just going to play out the string, or are you going to continue to achive, and continue to strive, and try to move forward.
Don comes out on the side of going big. He’s obsessed with more.
Hopefully you’ve seen the full episode, or have it cued up on your DVR. If not, here’s a snippet. Key parts, per this blog, are 3:17 – 4:35.
When Don gets the big meeting with Dow Chemical for Monday morning, what does he do? Well, he doesn’t go out to celebrate.
He goes home and studies.
He studies the prospect. He studies their business. Their industry. And, most importantly, the competition to Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy.
Don doesn’t walk into the meeting hoping to wing it. He’s prepared. But not overly prepared.
He’s passionate. But not in a weird and creepy way.
And he leaves them wanting more.
I wanted more.
And isn’t that true for all of us. Or should I say, “Shouldn’t this be true for all of us?”
Why be satisfied with being satisfied?
Why call it in when we can be passionate about our work, our clients, and what we do?
In today’s economy, there’s no coasting into retirement.
It won’t work for Don Draper, and it won’t work for anyone working in legal today.