Ryan Throckmorton is working as a temporary paralegal with a number of firms in Chicago. Ryan graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago receiving his B.A. in Philosophy, with departmental distinction, his B.S. in Anthropology, and a Minor in Psychology.
What sets Ryan apart? Ryan is the kind of person, who is committed to 12 to 14 hour days. Ryan doesn't rest until problems are solved. For instance, in the past, Ryan worked five sunrises in a row and billed 22 hours in a 24 hour period. Ryan's drive is derived from his fiercely competitive nature.
As a paralegal with Winston & Strawn
, Ryan worked on a number of high profile cases. Ryan provided litigation support to large corporations and ventures, working with cases handling millions in damages.
Who is Ryan?
Ryan grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago with his mother, father, and older brother. Ryan's first job in the neighborhood was working in a fresh seafood market at the age of 14. Ryan learned a lot from his first job—largely, he no longer eats fish.
Ryan's philosophical views and drive were shaped in part by his struggles with the loss of his cousin. She died at the age of 22 in a sudden accident leaving a five year old daughter. Ryan remembers describing to his five year old niece what was going on as the family waited in the emergency room. When Ryan's cousin passed, he began to understand the fleeting nature of life, and the responsibility one has towards their own life. Ryan believes he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and that he is burdened with making his life how he wants it to be. Others will not do this for him, and he may not have another day. Ryan lives in the now.
Ryan's top lessons in life are to never give up because “all things excellent as difficult as they are rare” put differently, the end of the road is worth all the struggles. Ryan considered going to law school, but for now he enjoys working as a paralegal. His law school desires waned as the market collapsed. Ryan has a passion for life, and he loves to discuss complex theories, including philosophy, neuroscience, theoretical physics, and economics. Ryan dreams of traveling and accompanying a group going to Egypt on an archeology dig – a dream he's had since he first traveled there as a child. Ryan's zest for life expands into a number of different areas as seen by his diverse interests.
Ryan is defined by a few main characteristics in his life. First, Ryan has an unrelenting amount of energy, as portrayed through his expanding areas of study. As noted above, Ryan prides himself on seeing five sunrises while working on a major project. Additionally, Ryan eats but one meal a day to save time as he moves through his day – he believes that food slows him down. Second, Ryan loves discussing complex theories. Although Ryan defines himself as someone with his head, proverbially, “in the clouds” his ability to dream and see beyond the current circumstances allows him to plan ahead. Finally, Ryan has a deep passion for auditory stimulation. Ryan enjoys all music, from oldies to house music (house music being his energy source many times and being a foundation to his jubilance) and he also has a deeply rooted passion for the use of language, and the different purposes and philosophies. If Ryan was not working in law, he'd be torn between a career in theory (ethical theory, neuroscience, and theoretical physics) or would pursue a career in the music industry, likely as a house musician.
In the Office
Ryan enjoys working for an attorney who knows their cases and manages their case load. He enjoys working for attorneys that take responsibility for their cases - not flighty, cagey attorneys. Ryan likes to work with attorneys who have a sense of humor and know not to take everything so seriously.
Ryan believes it takes a lot of patience and dedication to be a great paralegal. When faced with tasks that seem impossible, Ryan knows he'll eventually find the answer – or, will just have to work as long as may be needed to return an excellent work product. On his five sunrise occurrence, Ryan recalls receiving a 2,000 page filing from opposing counsel, days before the hearing. He spent days – five sunrises – sorting through the necessary voluminous materials. Ryan always made sure he maintained positive relationships with his clients, co-workers, and his mentor, Peter Kocoras. Ryan still remains close with his fellow workers. Peter Kocoras was a great mentor because Ryan felt that Peter had faith in abilities, pushed Ryan, and demanded excellence.
Ryan is a Great Team Player
Although he is very shy, Ryan maintains positive relationships with clients and co-workers. This personality juxtaposition is evident when comparing his social dynamic during high school and college. In high school, Ryan was the popular guy who could mingle in and out of all the various groups. He dreamed of becoming a professional skateboarder. During college, Ryan dedicated himself to his studies, he didn't have time for a social life. However, once a person cracks Ryan's shy shell, Ryan's outgoing nature shines through.
Even though Ryan maintains great relationships, he admits he clashes with certain personality types and is attracted to others. Ryan clashes with know-it-alls and insatiable egos. On the other hand, Ryan is attracted to people who are intelligent. Intelligence comes in many different forms. When questioned about how Ryan defines intelligence, he responded that intelligence is “indefinable but you know it when you see it.” Ryan describes his own personal intelligence as a blend of the creative and analytic – a product of his parents' own minds. Ryan's father is an accountant - great with numbers; his mother was a painter. Naturally, Ryan is both creative and analytical.
Ryan's advice for young paralegals just starting out is to not get beat down by the competitiveness of certain firms and the internal competitors. Ryan suggested not getting wrapped up in the politics present at some firms; rather, dedicate yourself to impressing the attorneys that you work for. When job seeking, don't be discouraged by the cutthroat nature of the market – there are simply too many bodies within the legal industry. Push through, identify what separates you from the pack, and hang your hat on that.
When people have told Ryan that he could not do something, it provided him with additional motivation. Ryan is confident he is capable of doing anything. Failures are great motivation, Ryan knows to take responsibility for a failure, dedicate himself to fixing the problem, and embrace the process. Ryan sees the purpose of failure as providing the opportunity to get back up and never give up.
Ryan considers himself a giver. He is not attracted to people that think only of themselves and seem to be constantly taking. Ryan likes to surround himself with people that think of things outside of themselves and give back. Ryan admires the work of Teach for America. Ryan believes in what the organization stands for and how they achieve their goals. Teach for America is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children grow up with an excellent education regardless of economic stature. For more information visit Teach for America's website at http://www.teachforamerica.org/our-organization.
Ryan is passionate about baseball, philosophy, and neuroscience. Ryan is a diehard Cubs fan. In fact, Ryan describes the Cubs playoff loss in 2003 as among the worst moments of his entire life. He understands the inherent silliness of such a presupposition, but it still pains him to this day when contemplating the what ifs. Although Ryan has a number of hobbies, learning – almost anything -- remains his greatest passion. If it were viable, Ryan would be a student for his entire life.
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys
jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.
LawCrossing is certainly an organised service. The user friendly features impressed me the most. Simply a great service!!
LawCrossing Fact #13: When you purchase a monthly subscription to LawCrossing, you have access to many Crossing sites -- not just one.
Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.