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  • Bahar Ansari

This is my Lawvestory

Re: Becoming happy: A 2nd Chance at Lawve.

To My Dearest Legally Curious (Dear L.C.),

This has been the most challenging letter for me to write and will be longer than future letters.

I am naturally good at speaking on other people's behalf and advocating for them. Still, I'm not sure which pocket that talent suddenly hides in when it comes to myself.

I'm Bahar Ansari. I'm a female Iranian immigrant startup & immigration attorney... I know. Like being blonde wasn't tough enough in the legal industry.

I'm also a founder, a teacher, a creator, a dreamer, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a woman, and a rebel.

Hearing these two concepts: love and laws, in the same sentence, may sound a bit foreign. It's been a long time since Romeo and Juliette.

However, they are closer than you think.

The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right guaranteed in the constitution and defined in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy. As long as you don't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. This means to be happy, you must know laws. Everything you love in life is governed by rules: your relationship with your body, with your significant other through marriage, guardianship when raising children, driving with traffic laws, going to a store through contracts, and, of course, business rules for all our professional relationships.

The U.S. is one of the very few countries with any mention of happiness in its supreme laws. Yet, according to surveys, only 14% of Americans are happy. Why is that? Do the rules make it impossible for 86% of America to be happy? Maybe. We have to take a good look at the systematic barriers.

So Why does happiness even matter?

On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love. They get better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs, and earn higher salaries. They are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriages.

Happy people also tend to be healthier and live longer.

It has also been found that positive emotions broaden our thinking in ways that make us more flexible, see the big picture, and be more creative. Accumulated and compounded over time, transforming us for the better by building the resources—strength, wisdom, friendship, and resilience—we need to truly thrive. Positive emotions are also the most critical ingredient in determining a person's resilience in hard times. Positive emotions help both our bodies and our minds cope with stress, challenge, and negative feelings. And these are just a few personal benefits. Happiness affects the economy significantly, as well.

Economists carried out many experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. Through experiments, they found "happiness" made people around 12% more productive. A recent Gallup survey found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work, meaning the vast majority of working adults don't enjoy their work. By one recent measure, this costs U.S. companies roughly $450–$550 billion annually.

Looked at another way, though, low worker engagement is an opportunity for companies to boost their productivity by investing in employees' welfare and workplace happiness.

Is happiness created?

Happiness is a state of being that is co-created with the environment. To go where we have never been, we need to harness the inherent creativity of our workforce. That means more creativity at work. It will actually be good for America to have more happy employees.

The only absolute law in the universe is love, the law of creativity. The rest are 2nd laws. What transcends both is Lawve; it's creativity.

Developing your natural creative skills, the other half of your brain through habitual creative exercises is a practice you should adopt. And to do that, learning laws is a practice you should continue.

My #Lawvestory

My Lawve story evolves with 4 career re-designs, and the most important thing I have learned so far is that the 3rd time was not the charm.

But that's not where the story starts. The story begins with a little girl born in Iran and a big dream.

I'm just kidding. I'm not going to start all the way there, but here is the gist:

I was born in Iran in 1986 during the Iran-Iraq war. Let me go back a little further. My parents met getting their MBAs in Oklahoma in the 70s. They had returned to Iran, and well, the revolution happened, so they had to stay. They had always planned to return to the U.S., especially having two daughters in post-revolution Iran during an 8-year war. We moved in 2000. I was 15.

I finished high school, went to college, went on to law school, and became a lawyer after for a post-doc. When I started my career, I never imagined it would be what it has become today. In the last 3 years, I founded two I.T. startups, traveled around the world, speaking at conferences, worked with some of the most prominent lawyers, judges, and executives in the world. I was also selected as the top 6 women in law who are changing the law as we know it, won a few awards, and ended-up in Forbes.

It wasn't an easy road. The legal industry is still a white-male-dominant industry. Even Facebook's Zuckerberg got called out by Congress for this lack of diversity. According to 2019 statistics, of the 1.3 Million lawyers in the U.S., 64% are men, and 85% are white. Women make up less than 16% of all law firm partners, and a fraction of them a minority. I am one of these women.

I first began my career as a litigation attorney. I quickly realized that the law's traditional practice was not for me. In 2016, I co-founded a disruptive technology company specializing in automation tools for lawyers. In 2018 I launched my real passion, a virtual law firm specializing in creative law.

It has definitely been a crazy, fun, fast, and wild ride.

With all of this traditional "success," I found myself drifting further away from my passion into the busyness of running a company. Then the pandemic happened, and I decided to take some time off. It felt like I had just stepped out of a washing machine. This is the first summer I remember taking time off as an adult. It was a tough time. I had stress-withdrawals like an addict—this against a backdrop of a growing pandemic and a breakup.