Practice Law Like a Duck

Being a quality lawyer is like being a duck. This post discusses how to practice law like a duck.

Calm on the Surface. A duck is calm on the surface of the water but underneath the duck is paddling furiously to keep up. Calm on the surface is the key. The quality lawyer remains cool and collected in adversity. For instance in a jury trial when a witness’s testimony is damaging the quality lawyer shows a calm reaction. The jury looking at the lawyer’s body language for cues on the significance of the testimony sees the body language of a non event as in this is nothing to be concerned about.

Active Underneath the Surface. The duck’s work is underneath the surface in the form of furious paddling.  This allows the duck to stay calmly afloat while making progress. This is the trait of a quality trial lawyer. Thinking calmly on his feet he rapidly calculates his next move and goes there ready for his next move forward. In the office the quality lawyer works the amount of time it takes to draft high level pleadings that show a well thought, organized argument.

Loyal. Ducks are loyal. They are said to mate for life. The female is fiercely protective of her young showing them how to get to water and how to grow to a mature duck. The quality lawyer bonds with his client. The quality lawyer protects his client. The quality lawyer leads the way for his client to progress successfully through her case.

Know When to Migrate. Ducks instinctively know when to migrate. This means they know when to move. The quality lawyer has an instinctive ability to move the proper direction in a case. This means when to settle, when to file a case, when to interview witnesses, when to schedule depositions, when to schedule witnesses,  and when to move into positions and arguments in trial.

Let the Water Roll Off. In a rain storm when humans and animals seek cover the duck stays in the rain and lets the water run off. The duck is unfazed by the adverse element of rain. The quality lawyer weathers adversity in the same way. Adversity is part of the job. Sometimes it rains. So what. The quality lawyer does not run for cover. The quality lawyer weathers the adversity, unfazed, and continues to move forward.

Duck Looks Like a Duck.  As the saying goes: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” When a person is accepting, looks like a lawyer, moves like a lawyer, and speaks in concrete terms using nouns and verbs, then the person is probably a quality lawyer.

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