Today, I submit to answer some hopefully softball questions about being a lawyer.
“Why did you become a Lawyer?”
My Dad was a lawyer but before law school I was teaching and I remember another teacher coming to me and telling me that she was going through a divorce and was afraid of losing her kids asked me to talk to my Dad if he could help her.
I think that was when I really decided to become a lawyer – because lawyers have the ability to help people. And that’s powerful.
“What surprised you about practicing law?”
It’s not all about the result. Sometimes it’s just giving your client a voice. A few years ago I took a case to trial – the insurance company had denied all liability for the accident, so we sued the insurance company. The case had many problems to begin with. I was the third lawyer on her case if that tells you anything. But my client looked me in the eye and told me she’s telling the truth about what happened.
So, after 2 years of litigation we had a 3 day jury trial, my client testified, expert witnesses, the responding police officer testified, AND we didn’t get a great result.
I put a lot of heart and time and work into cases and that for me is pretty devastating. But the client – she was so thankful to me afterwards. Her and her family shook my hand and thanked me for giving her, her day in Court. She’s even referred people to me since.
“What advice do you have for young attorneys?”
Don’t get old.
“Seriously, what advice do you have for young attorneys?”
The legal field is very adversarial. But don’t treat opposing counsel as an enemy – we are doing a job.
Last year I had a case where opposing counsel was flying into town to depose my client. He was going to take an Uber to the deposition. Instead, I offered and picked him up from his hotel and dropped him off at the airport afterwards. It helped with our ability to work together, to get the case settled, and he still went in there at the deposition and asked the tough questions and I still got my objections on the record. That is being professional.
“What was your most interesting case?”
Any lawyers most interesting case is the case you are currently working on. But I once, true story, received a phone call from a young man who wanted to sue his parents because he was ugly. I actually went through a negligence analysis in mind while he was talking: was it reasonably foreseeable that two ugly parents would conceive an ugly child? Yes… I didn’t take that case but it scares me in retrospect that I thought about it.
“What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer?”
Nowadays, I mostly represent people against insurance companies. I really enjoy protecting the people from these insurance companies – companies that often have almost unlimited resources to go after my clients. I enjoy leveling the playing field and making sure my clients stand a chance against the State Farms and Geicos of the world.
That sound like I’m making a commercial. But it’s true.