I have worked with some of the best attorneys and Judges in the nation. And I love watching them work. Sometimes I am lucky enough when on subsequent cases, they reflect back on a trial or a proceeding and they explain to me what they were doing and why. These lessons can be applied to any interaction, conversation or discussion you have .
1. The Value of Preparation
- Knowing the answer before you ask the question gives you the opportunity to observe and learn about the person you are questioning and allows you to stay on top of the conversation.
2. Poise Under Pressure
- People are more inclined to listen to you and believe you when you are calm and collected.
3. Integrating the rules into your standard routine.
- The rules governing a Q&A are inherently agreed upon when opposing sides are brought together. Therefore, no matter how much disagreement there is, basing your statements on that point of agreement maintains a reminder of a potential agreement on more contentious points.
- Never be impatient with a long-winded client or fact witness. If you wait long enough you will hear what you need to hear.
- Take the time to word critical questions and run them by someone before you put them on the record and the respondent hears them. Having to restate or deflect objections is a sloppy dance that shows you as unprepared and out of control.
5. Balance client representation with judicial ethics.
- Filter all the needs and requests of a client through the ethical rules that govern your work. It is only a matter of time before those rules will be the judge of your performance.