Say Ciao to Chow Mein

Say Ciao to Chow Mein

ISBN : 978-1-933285-60-3
Price : $8.75
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Say Ciao to Chow Mein

Say Ciao to Chow Mein: Conquering Career Burnout is a parable-style account of a frustrated, nearly defeated first-year associate and the mentor who coaches him to partner-level success. It's a light, humorous read with an important, serious message that Cordell Parvin delivers in sought-after seminars and standing-room-only speeches: lawyers must take responsibility for their own careers and set goals that align with their values and purpose.

Ciao is the first in a planned series of books aimed at lawyers in different stages of career development and introduces readers to three central characters:

  • Tony Caruso. Tony is an all-too typical Generation X lawyer who is ready to abandon his career before his first annual review. He's heard so little feedback that he doesn't know if he deserves a pat on the back or a boot out the door. What he does know is that he's tired of working thirteen-hour days, reviewing tedious documents and eating Chinese take-out. He doesn't understand why the partners who wooed him into joining their large Houston firm rarely speak to him any more. He feels like an overpaid paralegal.
  • Gina Caruso. Gina, whose law school performance surpassed Tony's, chose a career path different from her husband's. She accepted a clerkship with a local judge and, while she makes less money and enjoys less peer prestige than Tony, she profits from something he envies: career satisfaction. Gina plays a supporting role in Say Ciao to Chow Mein, but her wit and wisdom will lead other books in the series as she tackles the family-career balancing act that usually affects women more profoundly than men.
  • Jim Hardy. A highly-respected partner in an Austin firm, Jim is fundamentally committed to bridging the gap between partners and associates. Jim, whose character is not-so-loosely based on the book's author, practices what he preaches about aligning goals with personal values. He teaches Tony (over many cups of Starbucks coffee) how to take control of his career, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals and how to organize his professional and personal life to achieve maximum fulfillment in both.

Say Ciao to Chow Mein answers the question at the core of the American Bar Association's Professional Development Consortium, the National Association for Legal Career Professionals and the Young Lawyers Division: How do we motivate, train and retain the new generation of lawyers? This book and others in the series will keep topical and draw on Cordell's experience as a successful lawyer, law firm leader, coach and mentor to provide detailed action steps that savvy ABA members in both large and small firms can use as tools to thrive during a time of dramatic change in the legal profession.


Say Ciao to Chow Mein is aimed at law school students and young lawyers striving to mesh their reasons for becoming lawyers with their reasons for remaining in the profession. The series, designed to grow with its audience, will help lawyers reconnect (and remain connected) with their passions while providing practical, how-to steps for achieving career satisfaction. The success stories in Ciao are reality-based; the characters are drawn from lawyers Cordell has met and coached. The tone and message of Ciao will ring true with young lawyers because the book is co-authored by a lawyer close in age and experience to Tony and Gina.

Although not aimed at senior lawyers and partners, the book would be valuable reading for anyone interested in the lessons Cordell has learned (and taught) during his thirty-six years of practice:

  • Focused goals are critical to success.
  • Goals are more easily achieved when they align with passion, purpose and core values.
  • Provide value to a client, and the money will follow.
  • Mentoring and regular feedback engages and energizes young lawyers.
  • It is better to nurture internal motivation than manufacture external motivation.

Major benefit

Say Ciao to Chow Mein is a fast-paced, laugh out-loud read that sends a powerful message without lecturing. It shows, rather than tells, young lawyers that they have far more control than they (and their firm's partners) realize and that the choice between misery and happiness is theirs to make. And its feel-good message is not mere mind pabulum. Ciao provides practical, solution-oriented information in a storybook package. And the series of books will both inspire and inform lawyers in various stages of their careers. Say Ciao to Chow Mein is designed to reverse three alarming statistics: 1) Law students graduate with levels of anxiety, hostility and depression three to four times greater than the general population; 2) Lawyers suffer from depression at a rate 3.6 times higher than non-lawyers, and 3) Only half of the lawyers who participated in a Rand survey said they'd become lawyers if given a second chance to decide.

Say Ciao to Chow Mein gives lawyers reason to remain lawyers and, more importantly, shows them the steps to rise to the top of their profession.

Praise for Ciao

Say Ciao to Chow Mein illustrates Cordell’s wonderful talent and passion for helping lawyers take ownership of their careers to achieve continued growth and fulfillment.

Ben C. Adams, Jr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowith