• Cooper Shattuck

If You Knew My Story...


We are proud to sponsor a one-time FREE performance of The Actor's Charitable Theatre's production of Broadway's Bright Star, inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickel, on Sunday, July 25, at 4:00 p.m. at the Bama Theatre in Tuscaloosa, and you are invited!

Bright Star is aptly named. Its music and story are powerful and moving, funny and poignant, stirring and contemplative. But you may have missed it on Broadway. It debuted six months after another show, which was also based on a true story, began to hit its record-setting stride, stealing most of Broadway’s usually ample limelight. That show was about one of our founding fathers. Perhaps you saw it instead? I did. Ironically (given its name and themes), had Bright Star’s timing been better, it would have surely been more successful. Can’t we relate?


Bright Star’s opening number is “If You Knew My Story." Here’s ours.


After 20 years of private practice and then six working for the Governor and the University of Alabama, I left the comfort and security (and generous retirement) of state employment to follow my own bright star. I hung a shingle, and I was fortunate to have more work than I could do. However, less than four months into my new solo venture, all my work evaporated overnight. While it’s good to have a well-paying client with plenty of work for you to do, it’s better to have more than one. There is nothing like losing all of your work to afford you the opportunity (and the time) to focus and reflect, to be proactive and strategic, about your next move.


I decided to focus on what I really wanted to do rather than simply what comes easiest. Finding true satisfaction from life’s work is admirable, but how is it achieved? It comes from a thorough and honest assessment of how you measure that satisfaction. What truly makes you happy? What work do you enjoy, and why? What unique skills, talents, and experiences do you have that enable you to do those things?


I took stock of my life and my life’s work. I loved being a lawyer. I loved lawyers. I was fortunate to have practiced law through many different iterations. I was passionate about the profession. I was disappointed that many were struggling to be as successful as they once were. They (we) were slow to adapt to a more competitive marketplace. So, I set out to do what I enjoyed doing in my practice and to work with others to accomplish the same.


Erin Owen and I started Cartography Consulting to help lawyers identify their niche and secure that work. Those lawyers and firms which had implemented strategic marketing efforts were succeeding. Others were not. This allowed some “marketing” firms, advertising agencies, and web designers to prey on lawyers desperate for help but unfamiliar with the emerging digital marketplace. The dissatisfaction lawyers were experiencing with those whom they engaged for help was palatable and disconcerting. The market needed someone who understood lawyers and what they do and could help them communicate that to their potential clients or referring attorneys. The marketplace needed someone to help lawyers tell their stories. And so, Cartography Consulting was born.


Since then, we have expanded our storytelling to include other professions and businesses, from architects to restaurants, to non-profits and artists to governmental entities. Marketing, at its best, is telling a story. What’s yours?