How Many Of Your Clients Are Aware Of Your Professional Football Career?
Although new clients may not have known about it when they first called me or met me, it inevitably comes out at some point. If you come into my office, you can see a bunch of football memorabilia around the office. I think it possibly opens some doors for me that would not otherwise be opened, but at the end of the day, people don’t hire me because I was a football player. They hire me because I’m a good lawyer, who is very competitive and who can and will, try their case before a jury if necessary.
How Would You Say Your Background Sets You Apart From Other Attorneys In The Country?
There are very few attorneys who played on the defensive line in the NFL. I made my living putting my hand on the ground, staring at the player across me eye to eye, knowing that we were going to hit each other as hard as we could, and whoever was the toughest or the strongest over 65 or 75 plays was going to get the better of the other player. That type of intensity and competition certainly is unique in my preparation as a lawyer. I’m not easily intimidated.
What Have You Learned From Football That Has Specifically Helped You In The Courtroom?
There are several sayings from my old coaches that I use all the time. One of my favorites is from Chuck Knox, my coach at the Seahawks: “Remember the 6 P’s.” The six Ps stood for “Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.” When you step into the courtroom, you have to be prepared. You have to know the facts, the law and how they apply to each other. You have to be prepared for what the witness is expected to say and be prepared for when they throw you a curve ball and you get an unexpected answer. Preparation is key.
What Are The Similarities Between A Football Game And A Lawsuit Or Going To Trial?
There are several similar stages between a football game and going to trial. First, you have the pretrial phase, which is like the preseason training camp. That’s where you learn the facts of the case and you figure out the applicable laws. You put together your game plan, you prepare for the direct and cross-examination of the various witnesses and get your exhibits organized. You decide who you will put in the game, meaning the witnesses you will call, and which lawyer will handle each witness.
You have football practice, which is long and hard, and you also have a type of practice for a lawsuit, which is taking depositions. A deposition is where you get to put the other side’s witnesses under oath and ask them questions and see what they have to say and how they perform. Your witnesses are also going to be deposed. You practice with them to get them prepared. You and the other side both get to see how the witnesses perform and how they stand up to cross-examination.
Of course, the biggest similarity is when you actually get to go to court and try your case. That is game day. You have the same nervous jitters before a trial and you do before a game. But once the game or the trial starts, those go away and you are in your zone. As Chuck Knox said, you have a “fine focus on the task at hand.”
One big difference, of course, is there is no scoreboard to look at. You don’t know if you are ahead or behind, or by how much. You may have your thoughts, but don’t really know until the end of the case when you hear “we, the find in favor of….” Those few minutes are the most stressful part of trying a case. If you don’t like competition, and if you don’t like standing up in front of a courtroom full of people and presenting your case to them for them to decide, you need to find something else to do
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