It’s not like we sit around and say, “I wonder what our handbooks should look like?” We talk about it in great detail when we get together for the annual Legal Services Committee Meeting. But I don’t think that people would be surprised by my suggestion: If you want to do a good job and you want to keep clients happy, go out of your way to prepare your cases well. Don’t try just anything — or at least not too many things — on a case because then you can never really give 100 percent effort. People know whether they got everything they deserved from their lawyer; if they didn’t, no one cares how hard-working he was or how good she is at her job. A lot of the time people who leave me feel terrible about themselves after all these years; it doesn’t work out as well as they had hoped and thought it might have, but this is part of trial practice. Trial lawyers are supposed to put their client first and always work hard for them—and also make money while doing so!
What advice would you give young lawyers starting out today?
Just do it! You don’t have to hit any particular stage in life before starting out practicing law—it’s every year between now and 40 [when most attorneys retire]. It may be tough going through school right now because everyone knows what classes will help them get employed later on with big firms