Sunday, January 08, 2006

What he learned at MIT

There's some lasting truth in what this guy learned at MIT - including, among other things:

"Don't work with anyone else if you don't need to." Well, I work with others whenever I can, but as a related principle, even when you work with others, you're still responsible. The lawyer who blames another lawyer or some non-lawyer for anything only makes himself look bad.

"Trying to learn everything from scratch is a loser's game - take advantage of available literature." I'm looking for lawyering ideas to steal every day.

"Keep the design as simple as possible." The whole point of lawyering is communication, with simplicity as the eternal goal.

"I noticed the students who had perfect grade points weren't the whiz-bang smartest - they were the ones who kept regular schedules and maintained discipline, closing their dorm room doors to study, eating regular meals and going to sleep at midnight." The lawyers who take all the money have both discipline and whiz-bang. The ones with neither are not long for the profession.

"Even when your expectations are low (and to be pragmatic and realistic, they often have to be), maintain high standards." Other lawyers, the clients, and the judges are always keeping score, whether you win or lose.

"So when I join a company and hear how smart the people there are - I'm not impressed. Unless they're also good people to work with. That's a lot harder to find." The difference between the best and the worst lawyers I've met has more to do with character and discipline than smarts. Everyone I met in college and in law school was smart.

"You can have smart people, lots of money and the latest technology, but your execution can still suck." See all the above.

"Don't trust politicians." At the University, the self-promoting student government types were called "politicos." Within the profession, I read about lawyer politicos, but I am unaware of many around here. Perhaps the local ones have no use for me.

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