There are countless qualities that great lawyers have in common. The one that is loudly touted, but incredibly hard to achieve, is objectivity. Putting aside whether true objectivity is possible (or desirable, for that matter), I have found that staying focused and above the fray is easier said than done.
To understand where I’m coming from, you should know a little about me. I am a true competitor. I enjoy difficult tasks and underdog odds. I know my voice and use it—often. And I love—and I mean love—that moment when you know you’ve out maneuvered your opponent and victory is in your grasp. These qualities are what make me a great advocate. The problem with all us competitors—and you know you’re one, too—is that we are susceptible of losing sight of our role to be objective.
As competitors, we easily transform our cases into battles that end in complete victory (or loss). Unfortunately, the hallowed halls of justice rarely allow for such satisfying absolutes. Even when you have both the facts and the law on your side, the path to victory is peppered with obstacles and defeats—whether inflicted by opposing counsel or the court. When you’ve lost sight of the boundary between you and your client or a legal position and your value as an advocate, those setbacks can be demoralizing.