Who has redefined what it means to think outside the law (aka OUTLAW) and is helping each of us in the process?
Meet Tim Corcoran, Principal of Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises legal business leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models. Tim is a former CEO, past President of the Legal Marketing Association, a Trustee and elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, and a Committee Chair with the Association of Legal Administrators. Tim also authors the Corcoran’s Business of Law blog.
We asked Tim a few questions, and his answers can be found below. Enjoy getting to know this Outlaw!
Q: Where would you like to live?
A: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in London, my favorite city. However, lately I’m spending a lot more time in Sydney, Australia, and it’s fast becoming my new favorite.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
A: I have simple tastes: laughing with friends and family, accompanied by good wine and great music.
Q: Who is your real life hero?
A: I don’t have a single hero, but I admire those who have persevered and thrived in the face of professional adversity or personal tragedy. There are several women in my life whose strength and courage is astounding.
Q: What is your motto?
A: Speak truth to power! I relish the opportunity to help others make better decisions, and that means sometimes saying what needs to be said to people who aren’t accustomed to hearing the truth. I’ve learned that doing this effectively requires a balance of confidence and credibility and a desire to help, and not just a desire to be right. It may come as no surprise that in many cases my credibility as an outsider is by default higher than some insiders. A key part of my role as a consultant is to open the eyes of leaders to the talent they already have on their teams, because these insiders may not be given the same freedom to speak their minds.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: I hope that my daughters have the same opportunities I’ve had to seek success and happiness in their lives, but I fear that on a micro and macro level this is becoming more elusive, rather than less. And so I constantly wonder what more I can be doing to change societal norms and perceptions to give the next generations the best chance at success. I’m afraid it’s never enough.
Q: To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
A: Yikes, now that’s an open door for TMI! I don’t know that it’s a fault, and people who know me professionally often find it hard to believe, but I’m pretty introverted by nature. Given the amount of “peopling” I do in my life, I regularly need down time to recharge, and this can mean going dark for a day or two. This necessary indulgence can sometimes impose a burden on others.
Q: Finish this sentence: “If I could have one super-power, it would be…”
A: …to go back in time and take bold action where I once wavered. Rarely have I regretted taking decisive action, even when it hasn’t turned out as expected. But there are several times in the past I wish had been more bold. In the movies, this is the sort of superpower people get from some mystical guru but in the end they find they had the strength all along. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to give others that sort of confidence?
Q: Who are your favorite authors/what are your favorite books?
A: So many books, so little time. My all-time fave authors include Bryson, Trillin, Sedaris, Vidal, Zola, and Michael Porter, Scott Adams, and Michael Lewis. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” has been my favorite since I discovered it in the 6th grade. In the marketplace, I try to read everything written by my friends Jordan Furlong and Bruce MacEwen.
Q: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: I’m not much of a star gazer. I’m sure many celebrities or dignitaries are interesting, but I’d easily trade all that for a simple chat over dinner with my mom who left us way too soon.
Q: What got you into working in the legal industry?
A: In college I pondered law school for the intellectual challenge, but it wasn’t exciting enough as a field. I was recruited to the legal vendor side of things because of my background in software sales. I soon discovered a business and a noble profession that in many ways was so woefully behind that I could make a difference. The excitement of reshaping an entire field is what’s kept me engaged all this time.
Q: Your favorite musician or band?
A: I’ve always been a huge Beatles fan, but music is a big part of my life and I attend so many concerts that it’s hard to name a current fave. I have millennial daughters and I often play pickup basketball with much younger players who select our soundtrack so I’m constantly hearing the latest music, much of which I enjoy, but I couldn’t begin to tell you who’s singing or rapping. So my heavy rotation at the moment includes older acts like Death Cab for Cutie, U2, Fair, Gin Blossoms, The Shins, Eagles, Beck, Paramore, Radiohead, Prefab Sprout and Trashcan Sinatras.
Q: What is your current state of mind?
A: Jet-lagged from 32 hours of international travel.
Q: Your favorite virtue?
A: Reliability. Everyone knows not to “over promise and under deliver.” But a lifetime in business has led me to also dislike “under promise and over deliver.” Say what you’re going to do and then do it. You’re not a hero if you constantly surprise everyone with overachievement. Just be reliable, even if it means the bar keeps getting higher.
Q: What would you consider your greatest achievement?
A: In my youth I’d take this opportunity to humble brag and cite personal awards or honors. Of course, individual recognition is nice, but over time I learned that it’s also fleeting. I’m now far prouder when I’m able to contribute in some small way to the success of others. There are a few notable people in our industry whom I was lucky enough to mentor or manage — which usually means I provided an opportunity and then stayed out of their way! I’d like to think I’ve passed on these values so those who’ve found success in turn help others to succeed. I’ve got shelves of dusty old accolades that mean nothing now, but paying it forward provides a long-term benefit.
Q: Finish this sentence: “If I won the lottery tomorrow I would…”
A: …keep working, but probably become an even bolder voice for change in an industry that doesn’t adapt very easily. I can just imagine what I’d sound like without a filter if I didn’t have to worry about occasionally earning consulting fees! Oh, and I’d also donate to charity and help others, etc. But mostly I’d use my newfound wealth to be insufferable!
Q: Who would you have liked to be?
A: I’ve grown pretty content being who I am, and who I turned out to be. But I would have liked to be a version of me that also made the varsity basketball team, even if it meant riding the bench, instead of getting cut in the last round. Still, one small consolation is that I’m still playing regularly while the majority of my childhood teammates hobble around now on bad hips and knees! Surely my longevity deserves a participation trophy!