Friday, January 11, 2008

Leave Me Alone - I'm Thinking

Over at the Day On Torts blog, John Day tendered an installment of four posts about how great trial lawyer's work. Even though John's points were tailored for civil law practitioners, many of the arguments he made apply equally to the Texas criminal defense attorney. His posts on how to become a great trial lawyer are here, here, here, and here.

In his fourth installment, John insisted great trial lawyers take time to think. Time to plan long-term. It's obvious John has lived in the trenches for a long time as he expounded upon the tyranny of the urgent. Lawyers up against deadlines, stressed-out, scrambling for answers, all because they failed to plan long-term.

He says: "It is easy to fall into a reactive mode and then find yourself scrambling to do what you should have done long before." Procrastination is also the criminal defense lawyer's nemesis. The bottom line - the client suffers because the lawyer has not thought deeply about the case and used time efficiently.

John's suggestions?
Great trial lawyers avoid this by taking time to think. They identify issues early, and create an action plan to address those issues and reduce the likelihood of harm to their client’s case. They delegate work to other competent persons to ensure it is done in a timely fashion. And they use the action plan to cause their opponents to react. In other words, great trial lawyers stay on offense, whether they represent plaintiffs or defendants.
In practice, this means getting out of the office, turning off the cell-phone, delegating responsibilities to the staff. All to free the lawyer for time to think. By doing this, the great trial lawyer stays at least one step ahead of their opponent at all times, even if their opponent is a great trial lawyer, too. So simple, yet so profound.

I will spend more time on John's ideas in the coming weeks. Check out his blog. In the meantime, leave me alone - I'm thinking.

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