PRACTICAL STEPS IN MARKETING, MANAGEMENT AND FINANCE
L P BUSINESS
By Jennifer Ator
It’s All About Practice
O NE YEAR AGO I WENT TO MY FIRST BIKRAM YOGA CLASS. Bikram Yoga is a type of yoga done in 105-degree heat for 90 minutes. It is a
series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a specific
order. In 2002, Bikram Choudhury attempted to copyright these
postures and a specific dialogue that the instructor speaks during
them, and he was initially granted that copyright. In June 2012,
after much debate and several lawsuits, the U.S. Copyright Office
issued a statement clarifying that Choudhury’s copyright had
been issued in error. Nevertheless, to become “Bikram-certified”
you have to take his class and use his dialogue word for word.
I sought Bikram Yoga at first because I had hurt my back. That is,
I hurt my back so badly that I could not walk or even bend over,
and I had to seriously consider whether I was going to get out of
bed—or just ask someone for the bed pan. Good lawyer that I am,
I did lots of research and concluded Bikram Yoga could help solve
my back problems. So off to Bikram Yoga I went.
My first class was well-planned. I signed up for a special at a
nearby studio, I ate and drank water long before the class started,
and I did not plan to do anything strenuous the rest of the day, as
I knew the yoga was not going to be easy. And easy it was not—in
fact, it was downright hard, and still is. Nevertheless, I’m not a
quitter, so I kept going. When I attended the ABA TECHSHOW
in Chicago, I located a practice studio a few blocks from the hotel.
At the ABA Annual Meeting in August, I found another studio
to practice. And when I visited my sister in Asheville, N.C., at
Thanksgiving, I practiced at Bikram Yoga Asheville. I never went
to class 30 days in a row, or even 10 days consecutively, as is suggested when you start, but I also have not given up on my practice.
So my yoga practice is not perfect. I still cannot get into
the toe stand pose, especially on the right side. My hips are
stiff and sore every time I go, and my college knee injury
still keeps me from flexing correctly. As a result my eagle
pose is particularly ugly. I thought after a year I would see
improvement, and I did. But some poses don’t seem to have
improved at all.
When it comes down to it, Bikram Yoga is a practice that must
be regular and consistent in order to progress. A student of yoga
must have courage to keep practicing, no matter how futile it
seems. It kind of reminds me of the practice of law.
IT TAKES COURAGE
It takes a lot of courage to be a good lawyer. Practicing law is not
for the faint of heart. A modicum of fear is positive because it can
spur you to work harder to be well-prepared. I therefore would
not describe any of the great lawyers as fearless. Nevertheless,
while you don’t need to be fearless, you do need to be courageous.
Courage is not to be taken lightly. I have met many young lawyers
who break into a sweat at the thought of going to a hearing and
arguing in front of a judge. It’s even happened to me.
As a first-year associate, I was sent to obtain a continuance
on a motion to dismiss because my boss was arguing before the
U.S. Supreme Court on the date of the hearing. It was a simple
motion to continue, to be considered at the uniform motion calendar at 8: 45 a.m., and the other side was not going to attend. I
wasn’t much concerned. I drove to the courthouse, went through
security and proceeded to the courtroom. When I got there, the
motion calendar was already over. And it wasn’t even 9:00 a.m.
I talked to the judicial assistant, who explained I would have
to argue the motion to dismiss the following day. I explained that
I was sent to obtain a continuance and that the partner was in
Washington, D.C., arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. She
was not impressed and said the hearing had not been continued,
so I would just have to handle it.
At this point a full-blown panic crept over me. I was not prepared
to argue a motion to dismiss, and no other motions to dismiss had
been previously presented in the case. I was convinced that if I lost
the motion, our client would be prevented from asserting his claims.
I was devastated, right outside the judge’s chambers, in the empty
hallway, and I started to sob so hard I could hardly catch my breath.