Monday Practice Tip

Welcome back to my blog!  Hopefully it was a great weekend for all.  Mondays of course are where I provide a practice tip for young attorneys. 

Two weeks ago (I was on vacation last Monday) I started discussing the concept of being proactive in your overall practice, and promised some specific examples.  I highlighted that one of the three main areas of focus for a young attorney was developing key skills.  Below is a brief discussion on using proactive practice to accomplish this goal. 

We all want to learn how to take great depositions, make a concise and persuasive legal argument or get a great result for your client at a mediation.  How do you get there?  Through experience of course.  Learning by doing.  While opportunities to gain these experiences can never come fast enough, they can come a lot fast-er by being proactive, advancing your claim or defense as opposed to waiting.

All too often, we find ourselves overloaded on work and only able to do enough such that we are not missing hearings or blowing deadlines.  The result?  The case eventually gets set for trial, you have done nothing other than take the Plaintiff’s deposition and obtained unhelpful written discovery responses.  Suddenly, stress turns into panic.  You rush out more discovery, you hire experts based on their availability and turnaround time rather than their credentials and witness skills, and you live in regret at the fact that you may not be giving your client the best representation possible.    

This all too common scenario can be avoided.  No rules of civil procedure preclude you from sitting down with a case the moment it comes in.  Spot the issues immediately.  If you cannot do so, your first effort should be geared toward this.  This can take the form of a discussion with your client (or one or more employees), witnesses, or sometimes even your opposing counsel.  Once you know what the issues are, get to work!  Why would you wait until you have a due date to start retaining experts or using creative discovery tools such as surveillance, setting up an independent medical evaluation or subpoenaing third party discovery?  Stress is borne out of lack of control.  In this case, more work at the outset leads to more control, less stress and much fewer late nights once deadlines are set.  It also leads to faster development of key skills.

Explore posts in the same categories: Practice Tips for Young Attorneys

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