What Ted Lasso Teaches Me About Succeeding In The Law

What Ted Lasso Teaches Me About Succeeding In The LawThis week we welcome back Tiffany Lo to talk about what the show Ted Lasso has taught her becoming a success in the legal world.

Who doesn’t love Ted Lasso? I am not ashamed to admit that I anxiously await every Friday for the new episode to drop.

The show constantly surprises me with new layers to its characters. They are complex human beings, all with admirable qualities that I hope to emulate. I think that law students can learn something from each and every character and apply these lessons to thrive in law school and in their careers.

Below are my thoughts on some of my favorite characters. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Jamie Tartt teaches me to own up to mistakes and constantly improve myself. Jamie’s talents were hindered by his ego and attitude, but he gradually understands how to become a better version of himself and sets his mind to achieve it.

Dani Rojas teaches me to spread happiness and confidence, and to recover from inevitable difficult times. Dani’s joy is contagious on screen. He is not only good at football, but he also loves it, with his adorable slogan “Football is life!” Though his light is temporarily dimmed by an unfortunate accident with the team mascot Earl, with the help of Ted and his teammates, Dani bounces back better than ever.

Trent Crimm (the Independent, say it with me) teaches me to see the humanity in people. His reporting on Ted made a huge impression on me: while concluding that an American football coach is unlikely to succeed in leading an English football club, he praises Ted’s efforts to get out in the community, his respect for other cultures and food, and his subtle but effective coaching style. Ultimately, he chooses to root for Ted’s success, rather than failure.

Keeley Jones teaches me to be a great friend and supportive partner. Keeley is always willing to lend a hand or a listening ear to everyone on the AFC Richmond team. She is also great with Roy’s niece, Phoebe!

Roy Kent teaches me not to judge a book by its cover. The swearing and grumpy man is slowly revealed to be a big softie – a protective uncle, a fearless team captain and teammate, a sharp commentor, an insightful coach, and a wonderful friend. Life is richer when you allow people the time to show all parts of themselves.

Ted Lasso teaches me to be optimistic, to help others and ask for help, and to broaden the conception of success.

Even before Ted puts up the “BELIEVE” poster in the locker room, albeit slanted, it was clear that he is a hopeful person. He focuses on potential, and as Trent Crimm says, “subtly” exerts his influence to make the team stronger in every way. He helps stop the bullying of Nate; he encourages Jamie to pass the ball to his teammate; he makes Roy realize his ability to be a great coach. In the legal profession, it is easy to feel dejected. Many things lie outside of lawyers’ control, so it is easy to become frustrated. Ted reminds us that we have agency, and that the seemingly impossible could happen with hard work and patience.

As we grow with Ted, we also learn about his own struggles from childhood and his own family. He is initially hesitant to open up, but once he does, he creates a deep bond with Dr. Sharon and a greater understanding of how to cope with his panic attacks. Like the competitive arena of sports, the law is often the setting of zero sum outcomes. Moreover, personal dynamics inevitably become part of the job – lawyers know intimately their client’s struggles and needs, and how they are tied with the legal outcome. Lawyers themselves also have many things to deal with – student loans, familial obligations, relationships, and career planning. It is critical to practice self-care to prevent burnout, including reaching out for help.

Finally, Ted does not equate success to winning. In his Trent Crimm interview, Ted insisted twice that he doesn’t care if Richmond won or lost. He also says this directly to the team and the players. He cares more about the process, camaraderie, and kindness. He absolutely pushes the footballers and roots for them to score, but he does not define them by their gametime performance. Ted wants them to improve holistically, which translates to confidence and accuracy on the pitch. Lawyers can learn from this spirit – rather than fixating on the legal scoreboard, focusing on their skills, teamwork, and learning from others. Similarly, rather than gloat or grieve over exam grades, law students should think more about success in developing people skills, setting up an efficient workspace, and other facets that are beneficial in the long term.

The show itself, with a strong ensemble cast and episodes that focus on specific characters (think Beard After Hours) shows the importance of collaboration. The show is so impactful because the characters influence and grow with each other. They make mistakes and own up to them. They help each other to be kinder to themselves and people around them. Off camera, the castmates clearly enjoy each other’s company and respect one another as human beings and actors. The lovefest shines through the screen.

A similar dynamic exists in the legal profession. Working on legal matters is often a team endeavor – involving a group of attorneys and support staff. Each person brings their unique strengths and perspectives, and the right atmosphere is crucial for these synergies to work well together. If the team works seamlessly behind the scenes, the results will be evident when it comes to showtime: the presentation, hearing, deposition, or negotiation.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the show, I would highly recommend it!


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About Tiffany Gee Ching Lo

Tiffany Gee Ching Lo is a student at Stanford Law School. She spent her 1L year at the New York University School of Law, where she was involved with Alternative Breaks, Women of Color Collective, and Law Revue, and worked as research assistant. Tiffany received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating magna cum laude with double majors in Political Science and Rhetoric. Tiffany developed an interest in the law from a young age, and have worked in law firms and courthouses in Hong Kong–where she grew up, around the San Francisco Bay Area, and in New York. In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys painting, playing the piano and cello, trying out new recipes, and watching late night talk shows.

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