I’ve just finished a book written by Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax. I had admired Sandy for his good character and his amazing pitching skill. He became famous when he refused to pitch in the opening game of the 1965 World Series because it was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. One passage in the book struck me as great advice to lawyers, especially young lawyers. When a young Dodger struck out he was in the locker room holding his head and feeling sorry for himself. Koufax tapped him on the shoulder and when he looked up Kofaux said to him:
"Kid, if you can’t take it, get out of here. We don’t want people in here that feel sorry for themselves. You’ve earned the right to wear this uniform…You’re a Dodger. Dodgers don’t hang their heads. They don’t feel sorry for themselves and they don’t point fingers."
That’s the advice I would like to give trial lawyers. Too often I hear them blaming everyone for their failings except themselves. They cry about biased juries, gender discrimination, judicial bias, unethical conduct and every other excuse except their own failings. Trial work is very punishing and difficult work. A lawyer, male or female, should not go into trial work if they are not prepared to take all the pain, unfairness and sacrifice it involves. I used to keep a copy on my deskof the old cartoon of the two Roman soldiers standing in front a high wall of a fort the army is attacking. The defenders are pouring boiling oil down on the soldiers. The one soldier says to the other: "Look, you knew about the boiling oil when you joined up."That’s what I want to say to young lawyers when they whine and complain about unfairness or ill treatment or losses.