I was just reading the latest edition of AAJ’s Trial Magazine, which covers a lot of psychological territory. One of the articles is by Rick Friedman, a very successful trial lawyer who’s written books on trying cases and often lectures to other lawyers about trying cases. He isolates one factor as the one that seems to keep lawyers from trying more cases – ego. He calls it the fear of losing, but that fear is driven by ego. Every trial lawyer is afraid of losing because losing would not only hurt his or her client, but it would also diminish that lawyer in the eyes of his peers. Friedman also refers to this fear as the cancer of comparison – the comparisons that every lawyer makes to his or her peers. It is the same human problem that has always been with us. All of us want to appear smarter, stronger, better than those around us. Lawyers are not immune to this.
But we must fight the tendency to let our egos and fears keep us from trying cases, even cases where the odds seem insurmountable. Friedman says “Corporate America is not afraid of the handful of lawyers who appear to “never lose.’ What would cause fear in corporate boardrooms is a generation of lawyers willing to risk losing – willing to set their own egos aside and fight for their clients in court, even when the odds are against them.”
Good stuff, and worth a careful read. Then, once read, thrown it away and go try some cases!