June 01, 2015

Opening Statement: How to Wow

Ten tips for becoming the litigator everyone listens to at meetings.

Nancy Scott Degan

I recently sat at a conference table in an informal meeting with seven firm colleagues, and I could not help noticing the one person who took command of the room when he spoke. He was not the most influential or most senior attorney there, and he said nothing particularly earth-shattering. Nevertheless, when he spoke, the other lawyers paid attention. He had the “wow” factor. We have all seen lawyers who have that special something, and many of us aspire to be such lawyers. I use this—my final column as chair of the Section of Litigation—to identify characteristics of lawyers who have the wow factor, and I include in this description information I have gathered from in-house counsel on what wows them.

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