September 01, 2013

Trial Practice: The Next Step?

Chip Babcock

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The lawyer considered his next step but hesitated. It was dark, his eyesight was failing, and he feared there was a curb hidden beneath the snow. If he stumbled and fell, he wondered, could he get an ankle replacement to go with his hips and (left) knee? Plus his hearing was failing. “I might not hear the snowplow and might get run over,” he thought.

It occurred to him, and not for the first time: “Should I still be trying lawsuits?”

He weighed the pluses and minuses. First of all he loved it! Simply loved it. He never felt more alive than when he was in the courtroom. And so far, judging by results, he was still at the top of his game. Jurors loved him, and his cross was still sharp—at least it felt that way to him.

But there was the time commitment. He had always prepared, prepared, prepared. Was there more to life than 2,400 billable hours a year? What was he missing? And sometimes in the courtroom, he missed words because of his hearing and had to squint to see demonstratives on the screen. Was he hurting his clients?

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