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A Lesson in Litigation, Basketball, and Preparation

By David Dreyer, Esq. Edited by Anana Harris Parris & Nadia Lowe Managing Partner Leadership takes many forms. As a father, I am more than a caretaker guiding my children. I am also a student of life’s lessons which constantly make me a better litigator. My son’s last AAU basketball game for the season was a few weeks ago. We had been working on free throws (for years, but in particular in the weeks and days leading up to that game). The game came down to my son at the free throw line with just a few seconds left. The gym was mostly quiet, except for a player on the opposing team, trying to intimidate my son by mocking my son’s coach’s reminders by saying, “Take your time, soft touch.” I knew my son. My son was prepared, and after a well-practiced pre-free-throw dribble and prep, he sank both free throws, winning the game for his team. Again, he was ready. In litigation, we must be prepared and do the work before we are in front of a client, judge, or jury. This is repeated consistently early in your legal career, but the experience is always the best teacher. A coach can preach the importance of free throws in practice, but it doesn’t compare to making the game-winning shot.  As a litigator, I cannot count the times I have listened to opposing counsel tell me my position was untenable or we could not win just before … we won. It wasn’t luck. The stars didn’t magically align during the trial to give me a win. I was prepared. Excellent preparation for a litigator includes more than knowing the law. Every potential argument was explored. Every bit of legal research and thorough trial prep procedure was executed. When we are prepared and know what we are supposed to do, there is a much greater chance our shots will go in and our arguments will succeed. Never forget that.
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