Number 12 of 21 for 21 – Shepherding Turtles

turtle crossing

After I posted a neighbor’s photo of my recent turtle rescue, colleague Juliet Erickson commented, “Suann, it’s like court, I think. You are ‘shepherding turtles’ all the time. I love this. Much patience and wisdom.”

I wondered about the connection to our courtroom work and about the accuracy of her observation. When I first noticed the reptile about to cross a busy road, I realized that I would not be able to stop it (lacking tools to redirect it because their speed and strength when threatened are impressive and worthy of caution). So I stepped into the road to warn oncoming traffic. It made its way safely to the other side, while some neighbors passed, eyes wide with surprise at its size.

Thinking about it now, it is exactly what we do for attorneys. Rather than set out to change their course, my team and I excel at clearing a path, even when the path is not obvious or knowable. Our skills are tested and honed each time we shepherd teams to the podium amidst the predictable frenzy along the way. Perhaps with some increasing importance in a pandemic world, the ability to adapt quickly gives our elite attorney clients their best chance of success. Being deliberative in their trial preparation is at first glance when trial attorneys are most like the turtle. That motion is often misinterpreted as “slow” as in the well known Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” For many, it could be better described as a missed opportunity. But seizing the right moment to move quickly and decisively is one example of a turtle’s natural advantage, its secret weapon.

I love when our work adds wisdom and patience to this process in the courtroom.

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