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Don’t let gratitude get lost in the hustle of daily life

From the Glenview Herald, "Estates Made Easy," column with Corinne Cantwell Heggie

Friends, I have traversed the route between Waukegan and Pfingsten Roads ten thousand times, maybe more, in my life. Whether on foot, bike, or car, that is a remarkable statistic. What is more remarkable, is that my eyes are drawn to the horizon where Lake Street dips under the train tracks that run north south.

During a recent afternoon carpool leg, it was no different, perhaps with more urgency given the distinct middle school boy odor wafting freely throughout the car. The sky burst with orange-tinged clouds, a vision of marshmallows to my untrained eye. While this fall sunset had shades of summer, the chill in the air signaled change.

Now, certainly, autumn is dampening into winter. Will there be glorious days full of sunshine and vibrant sunsets? Yes. Yet we anticipate the chill as we thrust our hands into our pockets and pull up our coat collars.

The arrival of winter is as eternally different as it is the same. Semesters conclude, fiscal years end, and we plan for the year’s end. However we celebrate, planning for the change consumes us. Some are drawn to the place called home. Others are drawn to the place where they feel most welcomed. To be sure, there will always be stars when we are where we ought to be. Regardless of location, we will take stock of the year, its highs, its lows, our losses, and the losses of those we love. Is it this year-in-review that makes seasonal change eternally the same?

Friends, I will let you think on this question. Because in this season of change I want to talk about gratitude, which can easily get lost in the press of daily life. One of the primary skills you learn owning a business is to be observant.

If one is going to be a good observer, it not just noticing what specific needs must be attended to. You need to be attentive to the client’s situation. Because in service, it is more than solving for the client’s need, it is about entering into the client’s situation, whatever if maybe, to best serve the client’s entire legal need.

Yet, our observations and legal training mean nothing if they are not contextualized. Clients and readers help us as lawyer contextualize. Certainly, we cannot put our legal training to work without clients. The word “client” means gratitude to me. Gratitude for the trust placed in our firm. Gratitude for the opportunity to serve. Gratitude for choosing our firm. We know our clients have choices.

After all, the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism reported in a 2017 study with data from the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Illinois that 94,610 attorneys are licensed to practice law in Illinois. Our competition is steep. Against this backdrop, with every opportunity for client service, there is an opportunity to learn. It is an awesome responsibility, one never to take for granted.

As we prepare for another year’s end, we thank our clients, readers, and community members, thank you for reading our column. Thank you for letting us know you read the column. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. This message of gratitude is made possible in no small part thanks to the Daily Herald’s Glenview and North- brook editor, Melynda Shamie. Melynda’s generosity of spirit and talent has touched our communities.

Happy Thanksgiving!

• Corinne Cantwell Heggie is a principal of the Wochner Law Firm LLC in North- brook. Corinne helps people avoid asset loss, court battles, and taxes, with wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Corinne lives in Glenview with her husband and law partner where her family is active in sports, ministries that support women and children in crisis, and Boy Scouts.

You can see the original as published, below.


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