Lessons for trial lawyers from the bible
I’ve talked about the Bible and interpretations that apply to trial lawyersbefore, but I am impressed by the number of entries in Christian Scripture which can be applied to trial lawyers.Without being disrespectful, hereare a very few I’ve thought about as I read them:
"…be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Rom 12:2
"…to be made new in the attitude of your minds…" Eph 4:23 Trial lawyers should be continually searching for better ways of doing their professional job.We need to berenewed in our mind with fresh ways of accomplishing justice for our clients. Becoming transformed by the renewal of our mind through new ways of thinking or doing things is a worthwhile goal. As to attitude, life is what we perceive it to be. Our attitude determines our personal reality. We are what we think. Being made new in our attitudes is essential for us to grow and improve our skills. If we keep our same mind set and have the same attitudes about life and what happens to us, we are locked in time.
"If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle" 1 Cor 14:8 You must have a clear goal in mind and stick with it. You must make clear to the jury exactly what you expect them to do if you want success. A clear call for you and for the jury is essential for a good outcome. Sound a clear trumpet call if you want the jury to follow you.
"His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing." 2 Cor 10:
"Paul …kept on talking to midnight. Seated In a window was a young man Eutychus who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep he fell to the ground from the third story…"Acts 20: 7 I am always encouraged by these two passages. In the first we see that the great apostle to the gentiles. Paul, was regarded as a poor speaker. And in the second we see that he also talked too long to the point of putting a young man to sleep. From thesetwo passages it would appear that Paul became historically famous while lacking speaking skills. If anyone as powerful in word and deed as Paul and who accomplished so much had these shortcomings, then there is hope for all of us.
"Finally, brothers,… Aim for perfection" 2 Cor 13:11 Perfection should be our goal. As elusive and difficult as it is to achieve we must strive for perfect as a goal. Setting our goals for personal growth and improvement high enough is the only way we can hope to make improvements. Set your goals high. Reach for the moon, for it is only then, that a person may land in the stars.
"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load " Gal 6:4 For me this is one of the most important lessons a trial lawyer can learn. Comparing ourselves to others is a waste of time. We are individually unique and there are no two peoplein the whole world exactly alike. Each of us has a mission and purpose in life that is ours alone. . What we should be doing is measuring growth in ourselves instead of trying to be like somone else. We can’t all be exactly like some other great trial lawyer we know, but we can do the best we are capable of doing and measure our improvement by our our growth. How we improve is the issue and not wasting time in envy or jealously or wishful thinking about others. We certainly should watch, listen and learn from the great lawyers, but only for the purpose of improving ourselves. Use yourself to test how you are growing and improving.
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…" Phlip 3:13 How important this is. How many of us carry around a large sack of stones representing events from our past that we cannot set down, but continually carry around with us? So we made a mistake, even a huge mistake. So what? We must do what we can to acknowledge our mistake, and, if required, apologize as well as make up in any way we can for the harm we caused. After that, we need to move on. Never forgetting past failures and sorrows is like Marley, from Dicken’s Christmas Carol dragging his chain along with him through eternity. If it’s over, then it’s over. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on.
One body many parts: "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all parts are many, they form one body…if one part suffers, every part suffers with it" 1 Cor 12:14 I’ve used this passage over and over in damage cases explaining to the jury that you can’t just hurt one part of the body without it hurting one’s whole body and life. A sore neck or back, doesn’t limit itself to the neck or back. It sours t he whole day and everything you do. Your whole body is involved with that one area where the injury happened. The great plaintiff’s advocate, New York Lawyer Moe Levine, developed an entire argument around that concept based upon this passage. You should consider this in your damage cases.
Whoever has will be given more and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him Matt: 13:11 I call this passage "the law of abundance" because it is a principle of life that if you do not use & improve the talents you have you will lose them. Those of you who have been given the gift of intelligence and the skill of persuasion must continue to use as well as improve them or you will lose them. You don’t stay at neutral when you fail to use and improve talents. You go backwards. There is no resting on the oars and doing the same thing over and over because it’s easier then taking risks. You either continue to grow or you fall back to the point you lose the gifts you were given.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified.." Det 31:6 I have this written in my trial notebook where I will see it.This wonderful quote from Deuteronomy is inspiring to me. Moving ahead in spite of fear is called courage. Courage is not the the absence of fear. It is what we do when we are fearful. Suck it up. Stand up straight and do your job irrespective of what your fears and worries are. Be willing to take risks outside your comfort zonein the representation of your client. That’s your job.