I had one night to come up with a speech. it was our trial lawyer’s annual convention. And I needed to fill in for a sick speaker. That evening on the treadmill the speech came together. Now a decade or so later, here is a blog version of The “P”s.
OFFICIAL TITLE: THE ART OF ADVOCACY
Passion – The ability to throw oneself headfirst into a cause with heart, mind, body and soul.
Perspective – There are many different perspectives involved in having perspective. Make sure you truly see what is there to be seen.
Principle – A wise older lawyer once said – “you should never sue just as a matter of principle…the court system is expensive, the process tough, and ultimately it could cost you a lot of money that you will never recoup.” On the other hand, sometimes the right thing to do is to sue just for the principle of the matter.
Preparation – There is no substitute for preparation. But you can’t be prepared enough for everything.
Personality – We all had personality before we went to law school and were taught to think and act like boring lawyers. Stop talking so much. Listen. Feel life through your client’s eyes. Wear something pretty. Write like a journalist. Smile inside and out. Video yourself talking and ask – if I was listening to this person, how long could I bear it before I tuned out.
Professionalism – Litigation is often by its very nature, a battle. We should strive to fight with respect, grace and dignity. On the other hand, trial lawyers must be aggressive, effective and tireless advocates for the sake of our clients and the cause of justice. Our politeness comes with teeth.
Persuasion – The key to being able to persuade is knowing you are on the right side.
Parenthood – Spending “quality time” with your kids is not as good as spending enough time. Figure this out – somehow, someway. You can do it.
PowerPoint – Technology has revolutionized the way we conceptualize and present cases. Now we can show and tell within a tight budget. Attend a local workshop, enlist a child aged eight on up, or get a “dummies” guide. But learn how to do this.
Perseverance – It’s not over until it’s over. And even then, tomorrow’s a brand new day
Photo: Okay, so there is no photo of me giving the P speech. But this one is kind of close. Am in the audience at my partner Paul Stritmatter’s fantastic seminar.