Friday 14 April 2023

Lessons in Life and Law from Coach Ted Lasso

As an articling student, I have been searching for inspiration and guidance in my journey toward becoming a lawyer. Recently, I’ve been keeping up-to-date on the new season of the hit TV series TED LASSO, and so I felt it would be topical for my next blog post to cover the many valuable lessons offered by the show that could be applied to the life of an articling student.

For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Ted Lasso is a feel-good comedy about an American football coach who is hired to manage a struggling English football (soccer) team. Despite having no prior experience with the sport, Ted uses his positive attitude and unconventional coaching methods to inspire his team and turn their fortunes around.

Here are some of the lessons that I, as an articling student, have taken from Ted Lasso:

  1. Embrace positivity and kindness: In the show, Ted is known for his infectious positivity and kindness towards others. He treats everyone with respect and dignity, even in the face of adversity. As an articling student, it can be easy to get caught up in the stress and pressure of the job, but by embracing a positive attitude and showing kindness towards colleagues, clients, and others, we can create a more productive and pleasant work environment.

  2. Be a team player: In Ted Lasso, the success of the team depends on the collective efforts of each member. As an articling student, it's important to remember that we are part of a larger team and that our contributions are valuable. By working collaboratively with others and supporting our colleagues, we can achieve more together than we could individually.

  3. Adapt to change: When Ted is hired to manage a football team, he has to adapt to a new sport and a new culture. As articling students, we may face similar challenges as we navigate new areas of law and work with different clients. By being open-minded and willing to learn, we can adapt to change and thrive in new situations. In the words of Coach Lasso, “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse... If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

  4. Focus on the bigger picture: Throughout the show, Ted reminds his team that success is not just about winning games, but about being the best version of themselves. As an articling student, it's important to remember that the goal of our work is not just to win cases or impress our colleagues, but to make a positive impact on our clients and society as a whole.

  5. Be a goldfish: In one memorable scene, Ted tells his team to "be a goldfish" and let go of past mistakes and failures. As an articling student, it's easy to dwell on our mistakes and become discouraged. By adopting a goldfish mindset and letting go of past failures, we can focus on the present and future and strive for success.

  6. Be curious, not judgemental: This quote, attributed to Walt Whitman and referenced in the show, reminds us to approach situations with an open mind and without preconceived notions. In Ted Lasso, Ted is always willing to learn and ask questions, even when he's in unfamiliar territory. As an articling student, it's important to approach our work with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to learn from others, rather than jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. By being curious and open-minded, we can gain new perspectives and insights that will help us become better lawyers.

  7. Believe: Ted Lasso is a show that celebrates the power of belief, both in oneself and in others. As an articling student, it's important to have faith in our own abilities and to believe in the potential of our clients and colleagues. To believe that we matter, regardless of what we do or do not achieve. To believe that things can get better. That we can get better. That we will get better. By fostering a culture of belief, we can inspire ourselves and others to achieve great things together, “and can’t nobody rip that apart.”

Overall, Ted Lasso is a show that celebrates positivity, kindness, teamwork, adaptability, resilience, and belief. As articling students, these are all traits that we should strive to embody in our careers. By taking these lessons to heart, we can become better lawyers and, more importantly, better people.

by Matt D.