Discovering the Story
This weekend I had the honor and privilege to join friends (both known to me, and soon to be known to me) up in Sleeping Lady resort to attend the Trial Lawyer's College regional seminar on discovering the story.
For me, emotion is hard. Through a series of events, I fear I have become blunted to what lies underneath. I know what I feel, I know what I am afraid to share, I know what others feel to a small extent. I often have a hard time with empathy or even sympathy.
If what you do isn't what I would do, I chalk it up to you being wrong. I would never have made that decision. I would never have reacted that way.
These don't sound like phrases from an advocate, but from the 2 or 3 jurors, or maybe all 12, who blame your client for not reacting quickly enough, for not going to the doctor within 10 minutes of getting hit, instead waiting until the next day when she was hurting, or waiting 3 days when she realized the pain wasn't going to go away.
I want to tell you that my experience was profound. I pulled off my lawyer shell, the armor of objectivity that we are bound to, the plating that is added layer by layer through three years of law school.
I learned to feel.
The phrase that best described what we do is the first I heard that weekend: This is about plucking out your eyes and putting them in another.
And when you do that, you feel the joys, the stress, the pain, the confusion, the pent up frustration...you feel the anger.
I saw my brother become his client....feel the anger in him from years of torment....punch the empty chair where the source of that anger was sitting....break the chair with the same anger that was deep inside this client, this anger that he didn't know existed in his client. This anger he didn't know existed in him.
Personally, I dealt with some of my own demons. Things I have held on to where I felt I didn't tell a story the way it deserved. The frustration I felt with feeling helpless to do so rightly, and not knowing any other way.
I learned to let things go.
I found my spirit animal: a Goldfish.
I bonded with my fellow warriors, learning what drove them, what they were at at their core.
I want to extend personal thanks to the Staff, who gave their all. I would name them all, but the this is long and distinguished.
"ZING! ZAP! KERPLOW! CHOMP!" coming from the fingertips right at me and 11 others. We got the message.
I owe them much.
Thank you, Karl, for sending me to this.