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Lessons Learned From a Lifelong Passion LAW AND BASKETBALL
Basketball and business aren’t exactly similar pursuits, but lately, as I’ve thought about my time in both arenas, I’ve been surprised by the number of important lessons I learned from basketball that have crossed over into my role as a business owner. LESSON 1: THE POINT GUARD As a point guard for my team, I was responsible for the greater vision in each game. Point guards need to see things on the court before they happen. They know all the details: who’s a threat for scoring; how much time is left; the number of timeouts used; and all the tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses each player and coach has. As the point guard, I built on what my team brought to the table and got everyone firing on all cylinders at all times. It came with being a leader. As the leader of The Button Law Firm, having a strong knowledge of my team and the game is just as important as it is in basketball. When building my firm, I wanted to bring in people with different strengths: some who excelled at rebounds, others who could get every shot, and the ones who could drive the basket. You build a good team by adding the right pieces to the puzzle. You need people who add to, and are excited about joining, your team. Just because someone is a great player doesn’t mean they’ll fit your team’s needs. It’s a balance. From a business leadership standpoint, I need to have a vision of where we are as a team and where we’re headed. I need to see potential pitfalls before they happen. I’m the one who identifies if we’re stretched too thin. As I was in basketball, I’m my team’s biggest fan and motivator. As each person gets better, we are better collectively. LESSON 2: WATCHING FILM In basketball, we watched films of the last game or practice to see where we could improve, study what we did well, and replicate it. We’d also examine our opponents to figure out what they don’t do and how to use that to our advantage. It’s hard to go back and watch where you failed in the past, but it’s necessary.
We have a similar review system at our firm. After a case or presentation is closed, we do an autopsy of it. We immediately
write down what didn’t go smoothly and what went well. Failure is going to happen; we’re going to make mistakes along the way. It’s what we do to overcome those failures and not repeat them that matters. LESSON 3: MENTAL EDGE In basketball, we sought out that mental edge, that extra effort, to get us to the next level. We got up before others were awake to practice. We shot hoops and ran plays so many times that when the game came around, we were ready for anything. When nothing went according to plan, we knew how to handle it and win because we’d put in the work. When it comes to a case, we apply the same attitude. Pretrial, we run through everything that could happen. We present our case to focus groups and run scenarios, videotaping ourselves to watch later and see how we’re doing. We practice our opening statements until we find ourselves saying them in our sleep. We work through contingencies so that by the time we get to court, we’re ready for anything. We are constantly learning and challenging ourselves to get better. LESSON 4: GAME PLANNING In basketball, we knew our opponents. We watched films and studied each player’s tendencies. From that source, we came up with our game plan. It’s like what Bill Belichick has done with the patriots; they just won their sixth Super Bowl because Belichick is a master at creating game plans. Game planning is essential to finding out what your team is doing well, helping them excel at those things, and preventing the other team from doing what they do well.
At our firm, we have weekly team meetings and strategy sessions to come up with our game plans. Every week, we have a case review
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