True Trial Lawyering

In this year's edition of Texas Super Lawyers, Attorney Robin Gibbs was interviewed about his 40 year life as a commercial litigator. Gibbs answered a question about the volume of work required to be a successful trial lawyer and how he achieved a work-life balance. Gibbs said, "One of the happily and sadly inexorable truths about being a trial lawyer is you have to work enormous hours. It is a very interventionist lifestyle and there is just no way around it. If you're not prepared, it's going to show, and it's not going to go well for you. There's just no way I've ever seen to avoid that aspect of it; and that's a lifestyle choice because it ripples through your entire life." His answer struck a chord with me since my experience as a criminal defense lawyer was the same. The fresh-faced, aspiring young people who cross my path are taught this lesson. I don't know if they learn, but I try my best to teach them the life of a trial lawyer is very difficult. It's often thankless. It often feels like failure. Not many people truly understand the sacrifice we make to perform at our best. And Gibbs was right. If we don't invest the hours our performance will show. The jury might not know. Our client might not know. But the judge will and so will our opponent. It's embarrassing to come up short, looking like an idiot, because we didn't prepare. But that won't be happening around these parts. Nope, it never will.

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