I have often thought that some insight into the personality of a lawyer
is as helpful to a potential client in deciding whether to retain that
lawyer as the dry facts, however appealingly presented, of a resume.
Make no mistake, I am proud of my resume and do not mean to detract
in any way from it. But there is far more to a lawyer than a list
of degrees, school honors, professional activities, and so on.
"There is far more to a lawyer than a list of degrees, school honors, professional activities, and so on."
Through the years I have come to believe that an observation I made as a youthful attorney - what I then thought must be erroneous or at best coincidental - is usually true: attorneys and clients in litigation share the same dominant personality characteristic. Nasty and dishonest find nasty and dishonest. Vague and confused find vague and confused. Honest and straightforward find honest and straightforward. And so on. I cannot isolate the process by which these similarities result; but it seems true vastly more often than not. So, I think it may be useful to you for me to tell you who I am.
I am tall and athletic. Joey, my stunning wife of 22 years, and I still ride
bicycles nearly every weekend.
We do not race but we have toured throughout the western United States (including the Pacific Northwest, Northern California wine country, the central coast of California, a bit in the Sierras, and extensively in Southern California) and several times in Western and Central Europe. Obviously, I think that it is worthwhile to ride a bicycle to interesting places. I think that being married is a wonderful thing. I think that it is important for a married couple to do things together. Travel and marriage give a person a breadth and stability and a resiliency that cannot be secured in other ways.
I also enjoy reading, primarily history, art and biography. I think that it is worthwhile to read Milton's "Paradise Lost" even - indeed, especially - when not required to do so. I have found that reading John Ciardi's "How Does a Poem Mean" to be helpful, indeed essential, in understanding the structure and technique of that poem and, of course, poetry in general. I thoroughly enjoyed Ciardi's translation of Dante's "Divine Comedy", particularly the "Inferno". I have found rereading Eric Hoffer's "True Believer" to be useful in trying to sort out the causes and motives of recent events. But I do not want you to think that everything I read is heavy and serious. A friend of mine introduced me to Arturo Perez-Reverte's work shortly after "The Club Dumas". I have read each of his novels as soon as they have been published. In my opinion "The Nautical Chart", his latest, is his best. And I confess that I have often laughed out loud when reading Dan Jenkins' stories of football players, professional golfers and, of course, sportswriters.
My values are surely a part of my law practice. As I said on the Home Page, I deplore "scorched earth" litigation. There is, in my view, something wrong with adults who still find excitement, and think they find honor and respect, in pretending to be the "Rambos" of the courtroom. However, I do not believe that the field should be conceded to such practitioners. Firmness and strength, achieved in the legal profession by competence and study, ultimately prevail over obnoxiousness. Of course, the key word is "ultimately". Whenever beginning litigation the lawyer and the client must understand that they must be ready to go the distance, all the way through trial and, if necessary, appeal. I also recognize that every trial represents a failure. In business practice litigation is merely a continuation of the negotiation process and trial is the conclusion of that process. Thus, each trial represents a failure of negotiation. I believe that we must be flexible and creative in that process. I believe that a marginal settlement is usually better than victory at trial (something I heard, but did not believe, when I was younger). But I also believe that if at least a marginally satisfactory settlement cannot be achieved by negotiation during litigation that trial is required. And I am good at them.