One lesson which is not taught in law school, but which is very important in the litigation practice, is the value of showing respect for the opposing side and their position, no matter how tenuous. Demonstrating that respect matters both in the courtroom and in the briefing. But it is equally important to carry that professionalism through to those times and places when the court is not watching, whether that be in the deposition room, in correspondence, or on the telephone. Finally, though it is more challenging to maintain one’s equanimity when that professionalism is not reciprocated, that it is when it perhaps matters the most. Such lessons were never taught in law school, but they are among the most important I have learned in the years since that time.
Class of 1995
Many attorneys are excellent technicians and advocates, but a small number become their client’s trusted advisor. A lawyer in this privileged position must have a deep understanding of their client’s industry, business, and strategic plan, as well as share their client’s sense of urgency for their business. And, please, don’t let your client feel as though you are on the clock for every phone call/discussion.