Tao te ching and the art of being a plaintiff trial lawyer

According to tradition, Tao Te Ching was written around the 6th century BC by a Taoist master. The true author and the actual date is not known. The philosophy is from the Taoist school and the writing has been translated into over 250 Western languages. Since it was written in classical Chinese and no pronunciation marks were used the translation is subject to interpretation. Some of the ideas in the Tao Te Ching seem to me to be worth reviewing by trial lawyers. Here is a passage about living:

In dwelling, live close to the ground

In thinking, keep to the simple

In conflict, be fair and generous

In governing, don’t try to control

In work, do what you enjoy

In family life, be completely present

The passage about knowing yourself is worth meditating about. It reads:

Knowing others is intelligence

Knowing yourself is true wisdom

Mastering others is strength

Mastering yourself is true power

The advice about dealing with problems seems simplistic, but on reflection is strong advice:

Act without doing

Work without effort

Think of the small as large

and the few as many

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy

accomplish the great task

by a series of small acts

The advice about simplicity, patience and compassion was written for trial lawyers. It says:

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity, patience, compassion

These three are your greatest treasurers

Simple in actions and in thoughts

you return to the source of being

Patient with both friends and enemies

you accord with the way things are

Compassionate towards yourself

you reconcile all beings in the world.

So there you have it. Chinese philosophy from six centuries before Christ that has meaning for plaintiff trial lawyers in 2008. Full translations of the Tao Te Ching are avaiable on the internet.

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