IN THIS SECTION:
practice management advice
taking the lead
arguments without much input from me. I was truly amazed.
My coworker gave me a double thumbs-up from the gallery. I
learned a valuable lesson that day: All I needed was a little bit
I have met countless young lawyers going through the same
thing. They are worried about trying their first case, worried
about drafting jury instructions, worried about taking a deposition. I try to explain that everyone has to have a “first time”
and that it could not possibly be as bad as they were envisioning it. My advice: Just have a little bit of
courage, and through practice, you will get
better at representing your clients.
PRACTICING LAW IS NOT FOR
THE FAINT OF HEART. A MODICUM
OF FEAR IS POSITIVE BECAUSE IT
CAN SPUR YOU TO WORK HARDER
TO BE WELL-PREPARED.
Eventually, I calmed a bit and called the office, and another
employee, who had been a county court judge, explained that
nothing in state court could not be undone, and that he would
help me prepare and attend the hearing with me. I called a former
lawyer-roommate who lived close to the courthouse, and she told
me to drop by and she would go over the matter with me. We met
and reviewed the motion to dismiss and the arguments for it. I felt
a bit better as I left, and I continued preparing most of that day
and into the night.
I was back at the courthouse the next morning. Turns
out, I did not have to say much because the defendant’s
attorney argued, and the judge rejected his
SEASONED LAWYERS NEED
While seasoned lawyers might not worry
about arguing in front of a judge, or about disputes with opposing counsel, they often have
to tell their clients news the client does not
want to hear. This requires a special kind of
courage; you have to figure out how to bite the hand that feeds
you. That’s a very scary thought. Regardless, it’s part of your
job, and it is a special skill that takes years to develop.
Contrary to popular belief, heaven has a special place for
lawyers. Lawyers are professionals. They attend continuing
education, are constantly expanding their knowledge and use
critical thinking skills to advance the causes of others. More
often than not, what lawyers do is challenging and uncomfortable. Yet even when it seems futile, they keep practicing.
So, it’s easy to understand how being a lawyer reminds me
of going to Bikram Yoga. It may never reach 105 degrees, but
it can certainly get hot under the collar! LP
BY JENNIFER ATOR
Jennifer Ator is an employment litigation attorney and mediator at Hankins & Ator PL in Miami Springs,
Fla. She often speaks and writes about practice management issues and is a member of the ABA LPM
Publishing Board and LPM Council.