Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How a Terrible Law Student Became a Successful Lawyer

How a Terrible Law Student Became a Successful Lawyer

Man in SuitI have a friend who will, for reasons that will become obvious, remain nameless. For purposes of this story, let's call him "Ted."

Ted wasn't a very good law student. He didn't pay much attention. He didn't study very hard for exams, and he was solidly at the bottom of his class.

Years after graduation, his classmates remembered him as the "guy who kept falling asleep in class."

Ted passed the bar exam—on the second try.

He was fortunate to get a job in a small firm and was pretty horrible doing the research and drafting assignments the partners gave him.

After a few years, Ted and the firm came to a mutual agreement regarding the need for Ted to go. He moved on to a position at the county attorney's office.

Ted was responsible for the legal issues arising in several departments of the county government. Thankfully, the department heads kept coming and going, and it took some time for the head of the county attorney's office to figure out that Ted was a pretty terrible assistant. After a few years, Ted and the county attorney came to a mutual agreement regarding the need for Ted to go.

Ted, now facing some pretty difficult career challenges, decided to open his own office.

He rented a small space and took on some family law cases, some misdemeanor criminal matters, and a few automobile accident cases.

Ted did his thing and stumbled through the legal issues. Within a few years, most of his fellow attorneys practicing in the same courts as Ted had figured out that Ted didn't really know what he was doing. Everyone came to understand that Ted was ill prepared most of the time and lacked a basic understanding of the law.

Ted kept going.

And Ted's practice started to grow.

Ted is a nice guy. He treats his clients well. He spends an inordinate amount of time chatting with his clients and learning about their lives, and he is truly interested in how things are going for them. Ted has time to chat—it's not like he's doing legal research or anything. He enjoys hanging out with the people he represents.

And Ted's practice continues to grow.

Ted gets sued for malpractice for missing a statute of limitations in a personal injury case. The lawyers and the judges weren't surprised. They were kind of amazed it hadn't happened sooner.

And Ted's practice is booming. He's having trouble finding the time to shoot the breeze with all of his clients because there are so many of them.

I talked to Ted last week. He had just come back from two weeks at his lake house. He spent most of the time on the boat. He mentioned his trip to Chile. He was proud to tell me about the Ivy League school his daughter will be attending. He's driving a great, big Lexus.

While Ted was up at the lake, he had a party and had more than 100 clients and former clients spend the day playing in the water.

Things are working out okay for Ted, and he still doesn't understand much about the law. He does, however, enjoy being with his clients, and they enjoy being with him.

Brought to you by: Lawyer Asad

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