Number 17 of 21 for 21 – 37 Minutes


During dinner with my sister-in-law recently, as we were catching up on life and ushering in the holiday season, something in her kitchen reminded me of a patent at issue in a case we are preparing for trial. I eagerly shared newly learned details about the appliance to the puzzled looks around the dinner table.

The work of helping experts explain their life’s work to jurors with little or no exposure to their corner of the discipline often leaves us feeling like we have the inside scoop on everyday items all around us. Enthusiasm often gets the best of me.

My wife of many years remarked (with love), “it only took you 37 minutes to tie something to a case.” Somewhere around the 22 year mark, she also gently informed me, “you know, not everyone thinks it’s all as interesting as you do.” I laughed, but mainly because I didn’t agree with her. She likes to tease that it is simply amazing that I always end up on the “right side of a case.” With this, I agree.

The fact is, that it is one of the enduring characteristics of the work we do in complex civil litigation: in addition to learning facts about little known industries, there’s never usually an angel and a demon in the stories we help tell. Parties share degrees of responsibility and righteousness that make it satisfying to help one side tease out, unpack and present their case. The nuances that demand sophisticated communications techniques and presentation science draw out a satisfying selection of skills acquired over the many years of different stories. It helps to nurture an appetite for newness, to exercise listening skills and to maintain skepticism that ultimately help you poke at your client’s case in ways that help them tell their story in the most accessible, persuasive way possible.

How could that be anything but interesting?

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