August 3, 2012

You will probably spend more than 90% of your professional time in pretrial practice.  How you handle the pretrial phase of your practice will likely dictate how you live your life. Start with this idea – If you do not manage the pretrial process it will manage you.  Many young lawyers lack focus.  This lack of focus creates a maelstrom of spurious activity that makes you look busy and  racks up the billable hours (until the client reviews them), but it ultimately does not move the litigation forward.

How you approach the process determines the quality of your work, and your life.  Will you constantly be in a reactive mode bouncing from one situation to the next?  Will you be disorganized and in a frenzied state of worry?  Will you procrastinate from indecision and suffer from the stress of potentially missing deadlines?  Will your apprehensions about exercising judgment in difficult and new situations impair your ability to confidently represent your clients’ best interests?  Or will you act with the confidence of someone who knows how to prepare a case and actually follow through on that knowledge by implementing into practice these valuable skills – taking charge of your case?

Practicing law is a demanding profession and being an advocate is the most stressful form of law practice.  The civil advocate has the potential to suffer much grief from a rather unique potential conspiracy of three sources–opposing counsel, courts and clients–the triangle of despair.  You must develop ways to deal with the triangle.