Monday, October 18, 2010

Trial By Jury

I never talk about work because it's stressful and I try to escape it when I leave work. Today, however, is an exception.
I just conducted a jury trial and am proud of how I performed. It isn't merely that I won the case but the manner in which I accomplished that outcome that pleases me.
In addition to crafting an approach, I persuaded the jury with a lucid story and cogent argument. Those efforts contrasted sharply with my adversary who lost the jurors by rambling and bumbling through his presentation.
What makes me feel really good is that I stood in front of six strangers, spoke to them with confidence and poise, and delivered a compelling narrative that they accepted as true.
I grabbed their attention with my Opening Statement at the beginning of the trial. Later, my Closing Argument had them absolutely transfixed. I had every eye upon me and, rather than flinch from that attention, I seized it to serve my client's interests. My verbal communication was calm, strong and as graceful as I've ever mustered. The experience was supremely rewarding.
You probably don't know this but, as a child, I was very shy. Public speaking terrified me and dealing with strangers was excruciating. I've spent decades overcoming that with hard work and practice. Experience helped me get better, less nervous and more poised. Having and transcending that background is why today's performance means so much to me.
I'm feeling good. :)


  1. YAY!!!!!! :) I'm proud of you! So many lawyers can write a hell of a brief, but can't make it through a sentence when the spotlight is on. GOOD FOR YOU!!

  2. Thanks, buddy. I appreciate your support.

  3. High five! I bet that was an incredibly rewarding feeling to know that you nailed it!

  4. That's awesome! What a great accomplishment for you!

    I was also terribly shy as a child - I remember crying when my mom tried to make me phone my beloved grandfather! I got over the bulk of that much later in life, when I worked in retail (nothing like customer service to force you to talk to people).

    I joined Toastmasters a few years ago and got a LOT of really good information and feedback from that, as well as getting to practice speaking out loud and doing speeches. I know that it's made a huge difference to my own confidence, especially as I go through the job interview process.

    I'm so proud of you! :) Well done!

  5. That's fantastic, I'm so chuffed for you! I bet you floated out of the courtroom you were so happy!
    Well done Ralph, I'm dead proud of you. =]

  6. Well done :) you'll be stoked, its always wonderful when you have a really sucessful day at work, especially in a job as stressful as law. As Poppy said, I'm proud of you :)

    What made you decided to go into law?

  7. yaay well done! thats awesome. You should be proud of yourself! xx

  8. Congrats!! I am always practicing public speaking ... I don't have a history for being terribly good at it either, so I can never get enough practice. It's always an amazing feeling to feel like you've overcome something.

  9. Thank you guys. That's really sweet of you to say.

    Shyness inhibited me a lot during my childhood so, starting in high school, I realized I needed to overcome it if I was going to succeed in most professions. I took public-speaking courses and, like Sheila, joined Toastmasters for a while. Both pushed me out into the spotlight and forced me to confront my fears. Their belief is that practicing public-speaking is the best way to get better at it, and that's true.

    I went into law, Stel, simply because my immigrant-parents wanted me to do the best I could in life. Nobody in my family had ever been to college so, after I achieved that, my parents wanted me to become a professional of some sort.

    I went into law without knowing what it would be like. That was a mistake because the adversarial nature of my work is horribly contrary to my nature: I'm nurturing, gentle and kind -- and yet, on a daily basis, I battle nasty, selfish men in heated controversies. It's rare that I enjoy my work so yesterday really stands out as a pleasant exception.

    I'm greatly pleased that I can share my feelings with you guys -- and that you've responded so sweetly.

  10. I was terribly shy as a child, myself.
    I used to look away from people when they talked to me, unable to look them in the eye. It wasn't until I got my first job and my boss actually threatened to fire me unless I looked at people and greeted them that I started to break out of it.

    Congrats on finding your calling, despite your hardships. Hopefully you'll never have to defend something that you morally oppose, that would make things difficult.

  11. Erica, I still struggle with that! I have to consciously force myself to look people in the eye when talking to them because I'm so inclined to look away. I can do it now but only by deliberately trying.

    I'll never face the conundrum you cite because I work for myself and can decline to represent people I don't like. (Plus, I don't do any criminal work.) I often turn away potential-clients because I don't want to devote my efforts to their ignoble cause.

  12. Congrats !
    I can totally relate as I am shy too.
    I try to push myself and its so upsetting for me to have my body NOT back me up !
    For example I will stand up to make a point in a meeting and I will find my legs shaking or my words breaking.
    It's so frustrating. My brain wants something and the body delivers something else :(
    I push myself. I have to. I will someday get it all to work the way I want to.
    But stories like yours just remind me that IT CAN BE DONE-

  13. Thanks, Lorena.

    When I started the trial, I was drinking water at the counsel-table and realized my hands were shaking. They often do that when I'm nervous. I made an extra-effort to steady them. So I relate closely to what you're saying.

  14. I think this says a LOT about your growing sense of confidence in yourself in general!! I'm sure a lot of that has to do with your growing network of support, which makes me incredibly happy for you. You are getting a taste of how good it feels to start being true to who you are more outwardly, and it is spilling over into other areas of your life even when you're presenting as a male. The sky's the limit now!!

  15. Thanks, Sweetheart. Your support is so compassionate. I really appreciate it.