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Talent Gets You Noticed, Character Gets You Recruited

As a lifelong athlete, I frequently notice the similarities between the practice of law and the practice of sport:

The diligence, focus, and commitment necessary to hone your skills;
The tenacity, heart, and zealousness necessary to compete; and
The ability to collaborate as part of a team.

For the lawyer/athlete, these themes resonate in our professional and personal lives.
Some of my most important mentors have been my athletic coaches. My high school soccer coach (who also happened to be an esteemed trial attorney) gave me this sage advice as I was attempting to garner the attention of college coaches: Talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited.

This advice stuck with me from age 16 and today it guides my approach to the practice of law. Your talent can only take you so far in this profession. If you truly want to achieve professional success, you have to focus on developing the character to get there.

The recruiter, managing partner, hiring committee, etc. isn't here to see you write a brief, close a deal, make an opening statement, or cross-examine a witness. They already know your stats. They've seen your highlight film.
What they are looking for are the intangible aspects of who you are, the things that can't be quantified but make all the difference in how you contribute to the profession. How does your character, your civility, your professionalism make the legal community better? 

Do you “sweep the shed?”

The most successful sports team in the professional era is not the Yankees, the Patriots, or Real Madrid, but a team from a far less known sport. It is the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. In the book, Legacy,  author James Kerr discusses one of the All Blacks' core values for success: "Sweeping the Shed."

The goal of every All Blacks player is to leave the national team shirt in a better place than when he got it. His goal is to contribute to the legacy by doing his part to grow the game and keep the team progressing .

In order to do so, the players realize that no one is too important or too talented to do the little things required each and every day to get better. You must eat right. You must sleep well. You must take care of yourself on and off the field. You must work hard and train hard. You must contribute to the growth and betterment of the team. 

You must sweep the shed.

After each match, played in front of 80,000 plus fans and millions of TV viewers, after the camera crews have left, and the coaches are done speaking, when the eyes of the world have turned elsewhere, there is still a locker room to be cleaned.

…by the players!

If the New Zealand All Blacks are sweeping their locker room, then why aren’t you out there helping younger lawyers, doing your part to improve the profession, and setting the example for others? Are you leaving the uniform in a better place, or counting the days until they retire your jersey?

We're all in this together. While our personal success is important, the success of the profession is paramount. If Colorado's lawyers will commit to sweeping their own shed and developing the character of great teammates, we can make the profession of law in Colorado a national model for collegiality, sustainability, and achievement in legal practice.


J. Ryann Peyton, Esq. LLM
Director, Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program
(Portions contributed by James Leath)

Upcoming Events


Mentoring a Professional Identity: Civility & Professionalism for the Modern Lawyer

March 16, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

Hall & Evans, 1001 Seventeenth Street, Suite 300, Denver

Hosted by Denver MAMA

March Monthly Software Training

March 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm 

You can also dial in using your phone. 
+1 (224) 501-3412 

Access Code: 849-618-117 

Creating Professional Connection in the Modern Age 

March 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Ralph Carr Center, 1300 Broadway, Denver

Join Future Image Group to learn more about why we need to connect and how to overcome your fears and anxieties around professional relationship building.

Lunch provided.CLE credits pending.


CAMP offers monthly training sessions for our software platform. Join us if you have specific questions or if you are interested in learning how to maximize your mentoring relationship through technology. Webinars are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 12:00 to 1:00.

Webinars can be accessed at the following link: 
You can also dial in using your phone. 
+1 (224) 501-3412 

Access Code: 849-618-117 

Can't attend? Schedule a private training.
Contact to schedule.

You may be receiving e-mails from us requesting an update on the status of your mentoring relationship or your 2017 engagement with CAMP. Please respond to our inquiries as soon as possible so we can create the best mentoring experience possible for you. 

In two weeks, you will receive a survey link for our
Strategic Planning Community Needs Assessment

This is your opportunity to send us your feedback – anything that's on your mind – whether good or bad, compliments or criticisms, we want to hear it. If something is bothering you, we'll work to fix it. If you like something we're doing, we'll continue to do it. Your insights are critically important, and we want to make sure we're continually raising the bar on your experience with the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program.

Thank you in advance for your feedback. We are listening.

Hidden Risks of Being Intelligent
Intelligence is a gift, if used wisely.  If higher IQ leads to angst, loneliness, frustration, and anger, then we are hardly using it well.  Individuals with higher academic degrees tend to be harder on themselves because of the pressure to succeed, achieve, and perform.  The need to justify one’s intelligence and credentials increases as we “climb up the corporate (or public service) ladder.”  This contributes to the perfectionistic tendencies often experienced by attorneys.  When we criticize the work of others and nothing is “good enough;” when we become belligerent towards ourselves and indulge in self-criticism; or when we procrastinate work because we’re afraid our final product will not be “good enough” to please others, anxiety results.  It’s time to use that intelligence to improve your life; start today by metaphorically stepping back from the stress and pressure you are putting on yourself, and choose a kinder way to communicate with yourself and others. 

For more information or for confidential assistance, please contact COLAP at 303.986.3345 or visit our website at
Copyright © 2017 Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, All rights reserved.

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