Advice from the old guys.

I’ve been practicing for over 20 years now. Amazing. So I thought I would list some of the pieces of advice I’ve gotten over the years that have helped me become a better lawyer and (maybe) a better person:

• Learn the client’s business

• Ask the client questions

• If the client wants to help, let him

• Don’t let the client tell you how to try the case

• Do let the client control the facts

• you don’t have to repeat yourself

• when the judge talks shut up

• say “thank you” even when you don’t agree

• if you don’t try cases you have no business telling others how to try cases

• there is no mistake that can’t be fixed. The trick is knowing how to fix it

• if you do criminal defense work: it is not you who needs to bring a toothbrush to the courthouse

• You get into more trouble talking too much

• get paid. Money or satisfaction but get paid.

• As I get older I yell less

• If you ever are less than candid with a judge the whole world will know it and you will never ever get another chance in court. Judges know.

• stretch yourself

• Moderation is for monks. To enjoy life take a big bite.

• quantity is not quality. Don’t mistake number of pages for quality of arguments

• check their citations. Sometimes they make mistakes

• put it in writing

• take lots of notes

• know when to shut up

• No case is perfect, find the flaw

• there’s always something new to learn

• there is nothing “civil” about “civil litigation”. That’s why I call it “business brawls”

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One Response to Advice from the old guys.

  1. The best advice I ever got is “Never care more than the client does about their own life and case.”

    Next best “You did not get the client into this mess and you won’t be there after this case is over. We just work to make this rough patch of life less awful than it would have been without us and set folks up for future success as much as possible.”

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