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What Kind of Lawyer do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?. Judge Mary Thornton House San Gabriel Valley Bar Association. IDEA FOR THIS TOPIC. THERE WAS THAT LAW OF LIFE, SO CRUEL AND SO JUST, THAT ONE MUST GROW OR ELSE PAY MORE FOR REMAINING THE SAME. NORMAN MAILER.

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what kind of lawyer do you want to be when you grow up

What Kind of Lawyer do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Judge Mary Thornton House

San Gabriel Valley Bar Association

slide3
THERE WAS THAT LAW OF LIFE, SO CRUEL AND SO JUST, THAT ONE MUST GROW OR ELSE PAY MORE FOR REMAINING THE SAME.

NORMAN MAILER

slide4

Unhappy clients, crazy jurors, uptight judges, billable hours – I became a lawyer because…????

judge s observations
Judge’s Observations

Attorneys are NOT Prepared in Court

Attorneys do NOT Know the Evidence Code

Attorneys FAIL to file Succinct, On-Point Pleadings………..

biggest frustration
BIGGEST FRUSTRATION

At least I get paid more than a 5th grade teacher……

Attorneys are Not Civil with each other and the Court

epic method
EPICMETHOD

ETHICS + EVIDENCE

PREPARATION + PASSION

INTEGRITY + IMAGINATION

COMPASSION + CIVILITY

evidence
EVIDENCE
  • Read the Code Every January
  • Think Foundation, Foundation, Foundation
  • Think Presentation, Presentation
preparation
PREPARATION
  • Regardless of the Type of Lawyer You, Think: COURTROOM
  • Before send/answer demand letter, file/answer complaint, set up discovery plan/respond to discovery –

READ JURY INSTRUCTIONS

preparation1
PREPARATION
  • Court Appearances: Think FACE

FACTS – Know them.

APPEARANCE – Respectful

CITATIONS – If cite a case, know it.

EYES OPEN – Observe.

integrity
INTEGRITY

The cover-up is always worse than the crime in matters dealing with integrity.

Mary Thornton House, 1953-

imagination
IMAGINATION

Cultivate relationships outside of the law community

Read a variety of books.

Watch cartoons, see a “G” movie, talk to a five year old.

compassion
COMPASSION

EMPATHY WITH REASON

a plea for plain language
A PLEA FOR PLAIN LANGUAGE
  • WE NEED TO GET OVER OURSELVES
  • ‘LEGAL SPEAK’ TURNS OFF JURORS
  • IMPEDES YOUR COMMUNICATION WITH THEM
examples
EXAMPLES
  • Plaintiff Legal Speak: if we prove, by the preponderance of the evidence, that my client’s injuries are the proximate cause of the negligence of the defendant, will you be able to compensate him for those injuries?
slide21

Plaintiff Plain Language: If my client got his broken leg because of Mr. Defendant’s driving, can you determine an amount of money that will help him get back on his feet?

more examples
More Examples….
  • Defendant Legal Speak: If the plaintiff fails to prove that my client was negligent by a preponderance of the evidence, will you be able to put aside any prejudice or sympathy for the plaintiff who may have sustained substantial injuries?
slide23

Defendant Plain Speak: If you feel concerned and are worried about Ms. Smith’s injuries, can you still require her to show that my client was responsible for those injuries, as the rules in these cases require?

Follow-Up: Ms. Smith’s injuries sadden us, but, we believe we’ll show you that we aren’t responsible for them; if we do show you, can you put aside any feelings you have by agreeing with our belief?

more examples1
MORE EXAMPLES…….
  • LEGAL SPEAK:

How do you feel about tort reform?

slide25

Plaintiff Plain Speak: Do you think that rules about getting compensation for accident victims should be changed?

Defendant Plain Speak: Is a jury trial the best way to handle these automobile [accident cases] [fender-benders] or should our legislators change things?

slide27

POINT

FACTS IN SUPPORT

ACTIVE VOICE

TOPIC SENTENCE OF YOUR CASE

civility
CIVILITY

TRY THE CASE, NOT THE ATTORNEY.

MARY THORNTON HOUSE, 1953-

success
SUCCESS
  • To Laugh Often and Much,
  • To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,
  • To earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends,
  • To appreciate beauty,
  • To find the best in others,
  • To leave the world a little bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition,
  • To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
  • This is to have success.