3 Ways for Lawyers to Take Inspiration From Dolly Parton

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on January 21, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Forget Atticus Finch, the Supreme Court, or BigLaw partner paychecks. We've got a new source of legal inspiration for you: Dolly Parton. And by inspiration, we're not talking about humming along to 'Jolene' as you type up a memo, either.

There's actually a lot to learn from the endless career of one of country music's most famous singers. Here are three lessons from Dolly Parton that we think plenty of attorneys can take to heart.

1. You're Never Too Old (or Young)

Age ain't nothing but a number and for Dolly Parton that number is now 70. The country music legend turned 70 years old on Tuesday and she's still working as hard as she was when she started out at nine years old. That's right, Dolly Parton has been working for 61 years and while she's not performing live on Knoxville variety T.V. shows anymore, she is still recording music, touring, and putting out albums.

As a lawyer, follow Dolly's lead and remember that your age won't hold you back from success unless you let it, whether you're 23 or 73.

2. Working 9 to 5 (AM) Is No Way to Make a Living

BigLaw is a rigged game with few winners at the end. It really is all takin' and no givin'. Partners just use your mind and you never get the credit. It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

So don't. Instead of losing your hair, health, and mind working yourself to the bone, make sure that work-life balance is a major priority in your life. You don't need to quit, but you can make a point to clock out early every once in a while. Exercise. Take a vacation -- maybe to Dollywood?

3. A Little Humility Goes a Long Way

Dolly Parton is a hustler. Born in a back-woods, one-room log cabin, she has fought hard for every opportunity that came her way and it's paid off well. But you'll never hear her talk about it. Despite all her success and stardom, you're more likely to hear Parton recount her tough childhood than her current success.

Keep Dolly Parton in mind next time you're tempted to brag about a major pay out or complain about your bonus check in public.

That's not to say you can't have some ego. The lady named a theme park after herself, after all. But offset your ego with a bit of humility.

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