I’ve Been a Lawyer for33 Years. I vividly remember the early years working at a large San Francisco law firm with many amazingly bright attorneys. Back then, I enjoyed the constant challenges, the new things I learned seemingly daily, and the high energy of the legal world. In my early years, I was reticent to trust my intuition on judgment calls, such as which evidence would be most persuasive to the judge or jury or what would be the best strategy for litigating the case or prosecuting the trial. I always looked to the more senior attorneys to make those calls.
Young lawyers in large law firms almost never get to try the cases; the partners and senior lawyers do. But, I was lucky enough to be given much responsibility early in my career, and by my fifth year, I was trying cases. After practicing for about 10 or 11 years, I had tried 10 cases – and won every one of them.
With my successes came confidence in my judgment. I started to realize that my decisions were excellent regarding what was the most convincing evidence, how to best impeach the bad guys, in what order to call witnesses, how to proceed with jury selection and all other aspects of trial. Over the years, I continued winning almost all of my trials . . . I’ve now won 39 of 42 cases, 93%.
Why Do I Love Practicing Law? First and foremost, I like helping people solve their problems. I can’t fix a broken faucet or install a water pump, but I can fight legal battles really well. And, I’ve noticed that, during the heat and stress of litigation, I develop close and meaningful relationships with my clients. I think they see how committed I am to protecting them and winning their legal battles, and they appreciate my devotion to them. We work very hard together, and we go to battle together in the courtroom. And, when we win, we both feel indescribable satisfaction. In fact, several of my very closest friends started out as clients.
Second, I’ve always lived for competition – whether it was sports, scholastics or a friendly game of chess. Trials are the ultimate competition: very smart adversaries, difficult legal battles with surprises coming every week, and very high stakes. The thrill of victory is spectacular.
Finally, I think we all enjoy things at which we excel – especially if it’s a specialized subject in which few people are able to achieve results. After 33 years, I know litigation and trial work is my calling, my special gift, and my best avenue for helping others.