Practice Tips for Young Lawyers

Every Monday, my goal is to post a practice tip for young lawyers.  In my seven-plus years of practice, I have been blessed with excellent mentors at the partner and senior associate levels.  I want to use this forum to pass on many of the skills and concepts I have picked up as a way to give back to a profession that has been very good to me. 

Today I want to talk generally about the concept of proactive advocacy.  The primary goals for an inexperienced litigator are 1) developing key skills; 2) establishing confidence within your attorney-client relationships; and 3) meeting the output demands of your employer.  Those three goals can be significantly advanced through a single concept:  Be Proactive.  When litigating a case, hopefully you develop a theme to your claim or defense.  The theme’s imprint resonates through every pleading, motion and correspondence.  Being proactive should be the theme to your overall practice.

What does this mean?  Take an example.  Think of a random individual case that you are working on, preferably a case with which you have day-to-day management responsibility.  Think about the status of the case.  What was teh first thing that came to your mind?  Was it a deadline you have coming up such as discovery repsonses due or a proposed scheduling order due?  Or was it something you just did or have immediate plans to do that will help you win the case?  When you can successfully say the latter, you have reached a new level in your development. 

Next week, we will look at some specific examples of how to apply proactive advocacy to your practice.

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