In Neil Gaiman’s novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, he writes: “Adults follow paths. Children explore.” When facing a problem, it is easier for us to follow in the steps of those who have come before us than to explore and seek out creative solutions. But it’s not uncommon that the “tried and […]
Every day you have tasks that have to be completed. Most of them are not charming or glamorous, but carry some importance nonetheless. There are going to be times when you can barely stomach the idea of writing another report or making another phone call. It can be helpful to reframe those tasks in a […]
There may be no group of people more acutely sensitive to language usage than attorneys. And for good reason. Words are slippery creatures full of connotations and pitfalls. Choosing the correct verbiage can be the difference between convincing and offending, between a point made or missed. Mark Twain once commented on the significance of word […]
“Cognitive space is precious” – when I heard someone use this line the other day, I almost burst out laughing. Note: Random bursts of laughter almost always draw suspicion in a law firm. Nevertheless, it struck me funny, mostly because it’s true. There is only so much critical thinking you can do in a day. […]
For my inaugural appearance on what I expect to be a monthly piece for the ABA Journal, I wrote about the propriety and wisdom of arguing with a judge. I posed this question to several lawyers: “When does something matter enough to argue with a judge about it?” As with all the other times I’ve interviewed […]
Failures and losing are really unpleasant experiences – is that enough an understatement? In my mind, there are only a few things worse than the failure itself, one of which is dwelling on it and mulling it over. But perhaps even more regrettable than either of those is walking away from the failure without having […]
Trials are stressful. They can be made less stressful by having someone at your side who is going to make it easier for you. A good second chair is an invaluable asset. Being second chair at trial is like being a relief pitcher. You’re not going to get credit for the win or the loss, […]
About a year into practice, I was being sent to my first solo district court trial. For those of you not practicing in Alabama, district court trials are bench trials with damages capped at $10,000.00. There is no discovery permitted. The Rules of Evidence usually get a little loosy-goosy. It’s basically the wild West. Well, […]
Westlaw, Lexis, FastCase – in many legal circles these are the only acceptable avenues of legal research. Anything else is not only pedestrian but sometimes even villified. There are plenty of good lawyers who (secretly, for risk of being shamed) start many legal research projects with a simple Google search. There are several good reasons […]
We were recently interviewing a pool of candidates for an associate position at our firm. After all the interviews, we discussed the various interviewees. For one of them, one of the first concerns was this: “I’m not sure they’d know when to stop arguing in front of the judge.” And you know what, that can […]
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