I have always found the expression, “The Practice of Law,” suggestive. When I recently asked a lawyer friend what he was up to, he said he was still practicing because he hadn’t gotten it perfect yet.
What is the successful lawyer?
What is the value of an opening statement to a trial judge who has lived with your case, and knows the issues and facts before the trial begins? The value lies in giving the judge an overview of the case from a thematic perspective so that the judge can understand the evidence through that lens.
I came across this great quote by George Gopen in the Winter edition of Litigation, “Writing is part and parcel of the thinking process.” You think in order to write; you read what you have written to judge what it is you have thought, and that leads you back to thinking. ‘How do I know what I mean until I see what I say.’
When I was new to the practice I developed stomach problems. I went to see my physician, a wise and compassionate former hippie. He asked me what the problem was and I told him that I had a stressful job that was causing me stomach problems. “What do you do for a living?” he asked. I told him I was a divorce lawyer, thus proudly bolstering my self-diagnosis.
To be successful, a lawyer must have insight into the whole human catastrophe and be able to effectively traverse the legal system. It is the intersection of these two disciplines that fascinate me. I have been a lifelong student of both human nature and the law, and have created this blog to help others following my path.
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