I have two daughters, ten and seven. Like most girls their age, they're becoming more interested in pop music. So I find myself listening to a lot more pop than I have in recent years. It gives me another way of connecting with my daughters, and some of the music's just fine. It also gives me a smidge of credibility with people half my age.
(Case in point: Yesterday at our local diner, I asked my eldest if the song playing was the new Far East Movement single. Our twenty-year-old waitress just about fell over, then told my daughter that she was lucky to have a "not-lame dad." The very accolade.)
Today we were in the car and had "American Top 40" on. My daughters were asking questions about how record charts work. (Such as, "Dad, what's a record?") I was trying to explain how it is that some songs go to number one, and some stay on the charts for half a year, while others flame out in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Ryan Seacrest was interviewing Ke$ha (am I really typing this sentence?), and asking her what she attributed her success to. Kind of a silly question, and one that most singers would have trouble with. But she actually answered it quite well. She said that she's trying to make an emotional connection with people. She wasn't trying to be deep; the emotion she was trying to connect with was of the partying and having-fun variety. Makes sense. And that's why she's had five straight top-ten hits.
This got me thinking. It's not just about chart-toppers. I'd take it a step further: Every single song that someone chooses to play or buy or download or steal has made an emotional connection with at least that one listener. Whether the emotion is fun, melancholy, angry, sentimental, schmaltz, crazy, bittersweet, lonely, gregarious, or emo. Without the emotional connection, no one would bother. That's what music is all about. That's why people share their favorite songs and music videos on Facebook.
But it's also what lawyers are all about. ("Wait, what?" you ask. Well, you knew this was coming, right?) At first glance, lawyers have about as much in common with Lady Gaga or Springsteen as they do with office ferns. (Well, actually …) No, really. Think about it. People talk to lawyers because they want to feel something: secure, safe, protected, comfortable, aware, smart. Yet nowhere in law schools or law-firm training or CLEs do they ever talk about making an emotional connection with your client.
Clients: How often have you felt like your lawyer was making an emotional connection with you?
And lawyers: How many times have you thought about the emotional connection you were trying to make with your clients?
When it does happen, it's like … music.
What do you think? Is lawyering so different from music? Should lawyers be paying attention to emotions, instead of just laws? And why does Ke$ha have a dollar sign in her name? Does she use a ¥ when she's in Japan? Sound off in the comments below.
In the meantime, here's a law-related music video for you. I believe the emotional response it strikes is "Gak!"