Learning from Malcolm Gladwell

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book What the Dog Saw we learn:

Interior Life. “We want to know what it feels like to be a doctor,” rather than what doctors do every day. “Curiosity about the interior life of other people’s day-to-day work is one of the most fundamental of human impulses.”

Belief in Product. Gladwell  discuses famous “pitchmen” by distinguishing between an athlete who sells a product by pitching himself and a true salesman who sells a product by pitching the product. The great pitchman has an internal belief in his product. The great pitchmen in Gladwell’s book have internalized their product by inventing a better mousetrap so to speak. Thus, they have the enthusiasm that comes from a knowing understanding of the superior nature of their product.

Client’s Skin. Listening to Gladwell makes me think the same is true for a lawyer who is selling his client’s case. The lawyer has a story to tell and the story is not about himself. The story is the story of his client. The story can be told with full conviction only when the lawyer has taken the time to climb into the skin of his client. The lawyer must internalize the facts of his client’s story at the same emotional level his client has lived the events of his case.

Total Belief. When this has been done and only when this has been done is the lawyer ready to present his client’s case. At this point the lawyer can talk to the judge or jury on a personal and intimate level. Notes are not necessary, just as when Gladwell’s pitchman naturally discusses the product he  invents and in which he has total belief. Although the lawyer has not invented the case, he knows the case internally so he relates to his client’s story as his story. The effect on the judge or the jury is to internalize “what it feels like” to be the injured plaintiff.

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2 Responses to “Learning from Malcolm Gladwell”

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