The Midas Touch

  • April 14, 2023
  • Rajen Akalu

As a solo practitioner I always appreciate referrals. Recently a client sent me a rather ominous text saying he was referring me to a potential new client that had the ‘Midas Touch.’ “I hope I don’t get turned to gold,” I quipped. (I’ve spent a long time suppressing my inner nerd, but as I’ve become older I’ve come to embrace it).  One great thing about being a solo practitioner is that you don’t have to confirm to cultural norms that are implicit in a big law.  Much like a marriage, you’re in it, for better or worse.

The client had no idea what I was talking about and it turns out the potential client referred to me works for Midas the American chain of automotive service centers.  Unable to prevent myself from imparting my knowledge and love of Greek mythology I started retelling the story of King Midas. It’s actually part of a broader mission to re-introduce the classics in to everyday discussion. I had visceral reaction when a student in a university class I was teaching thought that Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo were names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and not painters of the Italian Renaissance.

The story of King Midas is about the tragedy of avarice and contemplates what follows when true happiness is not recognized. Midas was a man who wished that everything he touched would turn into gold. The law firm equivalent is of course the “Rainmaker”. However, too much rain is as bad as too much gold. Midas’ blessing turns out to be a curse. He touches his daughter and she turns to gold. 

The story invites us to think about consequences that may lead us to become slaves of our own desires.  This is quite important when you’re running a solo practice. You’re setting the rates, there are temptations to over-charge. If you’re like me, you routinely under-charge and kick yourself for it later.