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A blog by members of the Wake County Bar Association/Tenth Judicial District Bar's Professionalism Committee members.

 

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Personal Care During a Pandemic

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 29, 2020

Judge Ashleigh P. Dunston

“I hope this message finds you well and healthy” or “stay safe and healthy.” These two phrases have now become a staple in my email messages. In the past two months, our lives have literally been turned upside down in the blink of an eye.  I would’ve never thought that Friday, March 13, 2020 would be the last time that court would be held at full capacity, my kids’ last day of school/daycare, or I could freely go to the grocery store or mall without a mask. Things rapidly changed and we had to learn to adapt to sheltering in place, homeschooling, Zoom meetings, Web-Ex court hearings, loss of income, and fear of illness or death for ourselves and loved ones.  This has raised our already stressful profession to new levels leading to even stronger feelings of loneliness, depression, moodiness, loss of control, anxiety and depression, just to name a few.

  

Our profession is one of service where we are constantly giving ourselves to help solve other people’s problems, but the fact of the matter is that we can’t help anyone, including our clients, if we’re not protecting our own mental health. If we’re overwhelmed, burned out or stressed then we’re more likely to lash out in ways that we typically wouldn’t. This is why self care is so important, and here are few ways that we can maintain it:

 

  • Create a new schedule/routine.

    • Write it down, place it somewhere that you can see it throughout the day, incorporate breaks, and stick to it as much as possible.  Try to schedule a special and fun activity on the weekend that gives you something to look forward to and that will help break up the monotony.  

    • Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.

  • Limit your work hours.

    • Try to work for 8 hours maximum.  Give yourself grace if your work hours are not consecutive and you are having to take frequent breaks.

    • Don’t feel bad if there are some days that you’re not as productive as you would have liked.

  • Unplug from the news, internet, phone, social media, etc. daily.

    • This will give you a much needed mental break and there are times when you need to be inaccessible.  Not every email or text message warrants an immediate response.

  • Exercise and get fresh air daily.

    • Exercise is not only necessary for your health, but is also a great stress reliever.  If you feel like you don’t have time during the day, try waking up a little earlier and incorporating 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine.

  • Focus on the good.  

    • Focus on the things that you can control and the things that you are grateful for. This can be as simple as the fact that you woke up to see another day.  A gratitude journal is a great way to document what you’re grateful for each day and is something that you can look back at whenever you’re feeling down.

  • Reach out to friends/family.

    • If you’re feeling lonely or a need to socialize, schedule a call, virtual happy hour, or game night.  If you need some face-to-face contact and if everyone feels comfortable, grab lunch and meet at a park so that you can social distance and socialize while outside.

 

Most importantly, if you find yourself feeling hopeless, depressed, anxious, or are turning to addictive behaviors to cope, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. BarCARES is a confidential short-term counseling, coaching and crisis intervention program created as a cost-free way of helping attorneys locate assistance to deal with the problems that might be causing stress. To speak to someone immediately, please call 919-929-1227 or visit https://www.wakecountybar.org/page/BarCARES. Another great resource is the Lawyer’s Assistance Program that helps legal professionals figure out what is not working in their lives and then provides guidance and on-going support for getting back on track. For more information, visit https://www.nclap.org/.

 

Nobody knows when or how this pandemic will end, but please remember that your feelings are valid, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to struggle in silence!  We’re here for you!

 

Stay safe and healthy!


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Pro Bono Matters - Especially Now

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sylvia Novinsky, Director, NC Pro Bono Resource Center

 

This is a time of uncertainty. As lawyers, we are accustomed to, and dare I say it enjoy, rules and process. For many of us, this pandemic has caused our work lives to be turned upside down—most likely our personal lives as well.  

I am watching friends who are medical professionals use their skills and training to serve on the front lines. As legal professionals, we may not view ourselves as front line workers in the same way—but we are. Legal problems are continuing to surface for our neighbors who might not have experience with the legal system. We are their front line access to the legal system!

These are uncertain times for our neighbors that we, as attorneys and paralegals, can help address. Your skills, training, and expertise can make a difference for the public. We can provide legal information and advice that will allow someone to keep their homes, to communicate end of life wishes, to stop abuse in the home, to explain legal options for a small business owner.

Here are some examples of how lawyers and paralegals can help:

  • Draft Advance Directives for Medical Personnel

  • Provide legal advice for small business owners

  • Provide legal advice for nonprofits

  • Provide legal advice through Legal Aid of NC’s Lawyer on the Line

  • Answer a question through the NC Bar Foundation’s Free Legal Answers

  • Provide notary services

The NC Pro Bono Resource Center encourages attorneys and paralegals to provide pro bono legal services—unmet legal needs will continue to arise as this pandemic unfolds.  Please consider sharing your time, training and experience with those dealing with the legal effects of COVID-19.  

Visit ncprobono.org to find out how you can help. Pro Bono Matters!


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Mentorship During A Global Pandemic

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 1, 2020

Megan West Sherron, Campbell Law School


When we started the Connections program six years ago, the goals were to expose students and new attorneys to real-world experiences and teach lessons and skills beyond the classroom.  Normally this is fairly straightforward -- taking a protégé to a hearing, a networking social, or a firm meeting.  Ending the program this spring with a global pandemic, however, may be the strangest experience of all.

We typically host a group event for all mentors and protégés to attend, but like most things in March, this was cancelled. Mentors and protégés improvised to get in activities and from that, we have gleaned lessons that no matter the scenario are always important.

 

1. We constantly have to adapt and evolve -- This particular challenge hit us all and required everyone to adjust. In an effort to stay healthy, most everyone is working from home, school has gone completely online, and people are juggling multiples roles as employees, teachers, and caretakers. This requires flexibility, which is a lesson that applies with or without a shutdown. Change is constant. How we handle it is really the test. As one protégé stated, “the last month and the weeks ahead are not how I imagined ending my final days of learning at Campbell Law. But as we learned on the first day of law school, this occupation is a marathon, not a sprint, so we must keep pushing forward.”

 

2. Preparation is golden -- With the Connections Program, mentors and protégés are asked to complete five activities during the course of their time together. I always advise protégés to be mindful and use this time wisely, being mindful of the fact that roadblocks occur and you never know what might take place. Clearly no one was expecting a nationwide shutdown, but many took this advice, found mentoring success early in the program, and were able to finish the mentorship cycle strong. It is always important to prepare and take advantage of the time you have.  In their last activity together, one protégé said that she took away the fact that her mentor was doing a lot of preparation for when she went back to court so “she would not waste time to prepare for the next big things.”  

 

3. Mentorship is always a good idea -- The legal profession is one that is best practiced in community. While we are currently physically isolated, we need community and a mentor is someone that, no matter the season, can provide that connection that keeps us grounded and pushing forward. One protégé said it best: “[A] pandemic will easily distract you from your goal…a pandemic will cause fear to cloud your thoughts and it will disrupt your game plan. Despite the uncertainty, [my mentor] has mentored me toward success. Thanks to him and this mentorship program, I will keep pushing forward.”

 

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Remembering Why We Love Being Lawyers

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 27, 2020

Andrew Whiteman, Whiteman Law Firm

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Thus begins Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, a collection of talks presented by Shunryu Suzuki, a Japanese monk who founded the San Francisco Zen Center in the 1950s and helped popularize Buddhist ideas in America. The book has become a modern classic of Zen thought.

The opening line’s simple teaching offers a profound commentary on the tendency of Zen students to become so caught up in the pursuit of spiritual development that they lose sight of what drew them to the Buddhist path in the first place. This idea has many applications to ordinary life. Remembering the magic we felt in the beginning of something can help us persevere when times get tough.

But can we use “beginner’s mind” to maintain a healthy and balanced outlook on law practice? Most definitely! Recalling our earliest experiences with the law reminds us of why we fell in love with it in the first place, before our lives became overtaken by the day-to-day challenges of competing deadlines, client expectations, civic duties and family responsibilities. To illustrate this point, I offer three remembrances that help me restore equanimity when things become chaotic.

I recall clearly the day I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. As a high school senior in Cincinnati, Ohio, I and another student interviewed two lawyers for a class project. The lawyers were on opposite sides of a social issue and agreed to meet with us to discuss their views. After listening to them expound on the merits of their respective positions, I quickly decided that what the lawyers were doing was fascinating. By the end of the second interview it dawned on me that I could do this too! I was just as smart as those lawyers. All I needed was a law school education, a job, and a cause! From this experience, I have always remembered how blessed it is just to be among the few who have the intellectual ability, character and work ethic needed to succeed in our challenging career.

After graduating from law school in 1980, I moved to North Carolina and began my first job with a small general practice firm in Raleigh. I remember vividly my first case in Wake County Superior Court. I was defending a woman who was sued for violating a covenant not to compete. Because I was scared, I thoroughly prepared! As it turned out, my client had the better argument on the facts, and the law was on her side. I presented the evidence and legal authorities to the judge and won the case! My takeaway from this small victory was very profound—our system of justice works! Not only that, it works really well most of the time. A lot of thought goes into the making of our laws, and for the most part they make sense. In the courtroom, evidence is presented according to rules of evidence. We have great judges in North Carolina who work very hard to be fair and make the right decisions. These are not small things! Every day, we should be very grateful for our system of justice.

Another thing I learned very early in my career is that lawyers are, by and large, tremendous people. Bright, earnest, friendly, helpful, capable, dedicated, and civic-minded! Our law licenses state that we were found by satisfactory evidence to possess the upright character and competent knowledge of the law necessary to be admitted to the practice. We live by an oath that states we will uphold the laws and faithfully discharge our duties as attorneys. We govern ourselves by a written code of ethics. It is awesome to be able to work with so many wonderful professional colleagues!

Truth to tell, I am not always this happy. Often, I find law practice to be a tedious grind, difficult and contentious, even on a good day. But I have learned that I am able to restore a joyful and grateful outlook by returning to my earliest experiences with the law. Maybe this technique can work for you, too.

 

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Mentor or Mentee: Reflections of a Former Protégé

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 28, 2020

Leanor Bailey Hodge, NC State Bar

The Creed of Professionalism of the Wake County/Tenth Judicial District Bar provides in part: “I will share my learning and experience so that we may all improve our skills and abilities.” At first blush, this portion of the creed seems to speak directly to the very important part of professionalism – mentoring. Ahh…mentoring…the opportunity for newly minted lawyers to sit at the feet of more experienced lawyers to learn all the intangibles of law practice. I am a great beneficiary of mentoring, with the gift being first bestowed upon me by a supervising Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. When this relationship began, I was in law school and eager to obtain any knowledge, experience, or information my mentor was willing to share. I never really thought about whether I had learning and experience to contribute in return. I believed it was my role to learn from my mentor with attentive interest and to glean from his experiences with hopes of bettering my own. 

Alas, it has been many years (more than 20 actually) since I was newly minted enough to be considered ripe for the picking as a protégé. I have now been practicing law long enough to find myself more likely to be assigned to the role of mentor rather than selected as a protégé. I now fit very nicely into the “I” part of the promise to share my learning and experience so that we may all improve our skills and abilities. There is just one issue though: it doesn’t say “I (who has learned from mentors and engaged in the practice of law for several years) will….” It simply states “I will.” This suggests that the I means everyone – you, me, the lawyer with 48 years of practice and the lawyer with 2 years of practice. I am sure most reading this post would nod in agreement with the proposition that mentoring in the legal profession is important and that learning at the feet of masters will have life-long value. However, how many of us who have graduated from protégé to mentor have given any thought to the importance of learning from and sharing in the experience of those to whom we are passing the torch? 

Mentoring is a two-way street. While the benefits of a mentor sharing with a protégé his or her learning and experience are likely obvious to most, by contrast, the advantage of the protégé sharing his or her learning and experience are not as apparent. For example, the advent of technology has society changing at record speed. For that reason alone, there is much I could learn about technology from those who have grown up with it that may improve my own skills and abilities. Also, when I listen to a younger lawyer share about his or her current experience, I am reminded of my early practice and how it shaped me into the lawyer I am today. Perhaps the drafters of our creed were intentional and onto something when they did not qualify the “I” in “I will share my learning and experience so that we may all improve our skills and abilities.”

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How (Not) to Make Your Professional Mark

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Melissa Dewey Brumback, Ragsdale Liggett PLLC

Professionalism comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the very same interaction with a professional colleague or opposing counsel can teach you both how to act, as well as how not to act. This is one such story. [Cue “dum-dum” music from Law & Order].

A few years back, I had a case with opposing counsel that I had never worked with before. Let’s call him “Mr. X.” Mr. X and I got along fairly well, and the case was moving along towards trial. And then the fateful day occurred. The Court Clerk emailed about a hearing date for some pending motions. No big deal, right? I responded to the Court Clerk about the matter, while also cc’ing Mr. X. 

During a break in a deposition later that day, I checked my emails. What did I find? Not one, but two very different missives from Mr. X. 

The first email from Mr. X was extremely nasty. He accused me of improper ex parte contact with the Court and stated that my behavior was reprehensible and sanctionable. I was shocked that Mr. X had made such an unfounded accusation.

Then I kept reading. I found Mr. X’s second email, time-stamped about 20 minutes later, which was very conciliatory.  Mr. X had realized that I was only responding to the Clerk, and that I had cc’d him in my communications. He apologized profusely for his initial outburst and the misunderstanding.

This incident has stayed with me over the past few years. Number one, it reminded me to never respond in the heat of the moment and, in any event, never until you’ve read all of your emails!

Number two, however, it made me appreciate Mr. X’s professionalism. Did he make a mistake in the first email? Yes, very much so. However, he owned up to his mistake, in writing, and offered a sincere apology. I’ve seen many folks try to “explain away” their mistakes. Mr. X did not do so. He simply and clearly apologized for going off on me without checking all the facts first. His honest and sincere apology made me respect him a lot more than any sorry excuse he could have come up with.

We managed to later resolve the case, and I had a great working relationship with Mr. X the rest of the case. I know that Mr. X was embarrassed by his initial outburst, but we both had a powerful reminder of the benefits of professionalism. Mr. X, thank you for your willingness to own up to your mistake!

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Notecards and Notebooks

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 1, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2019

Katherine Frye, Frye Law Offices

Our world is a rough one. We are all expected to help solve problems and help represent our clients. How often do we put all of our effort into items for our clients over our own or over those around us? I can only answer for myself by saying that I do that far too often.

I want to discuss self-care in a different way—our ability to offer care and kindness to others in our profession. The NC Chief Justice’s Commission has a Lawyer’s Professionalism Creed, and one of the tenants is the following: To the profession, I offer assistance. Each of us, as part of our professional duty, should strive to offer care to other lawyers and to be kind to other lawyers. These actions to others create a reciprocal response to the giver; it is called “The Caring Effect” according to Psychology Today. Our brains want to be social, and our reaching out to others creates a benefit to our brains.

Two years ago, I made a personal commitment to be kind. I decided I would first set aside one day a week to write one personal notecard to another lawyer. It is referred to as “Notecard Friday” on my calendar. I just take a few moments of the morning to think of one attorney I had interacted with that week and send the person a note. It could be a note of encouragement, thanks, congratulations, or a “just because.” I want attorneys that I interact with to know that I was listening and noticing. I want the attorney to know that someone cares.

This year I realized that I find peace when my mind has “dumped” all of its information somewhere, so I have a notebook to keep my random thoughts. In this notebook, I keep track of small comments attorneys make about themselves or other attorneys. I will then try to mention a nicety to the other attorney at some time in the future or make a note to follow up with an attorney if they mentioned someone was sick in their family. This notebook allows me another way to improve on my goal of being kind.

Admittedly I am twisting the language of the creed, but I suspect no one will be upset. We have a responsibility to our own—I contend a responsibility to be of assistance to our fellow attorneys. I use my notecards and notebook to be kind, but what one thing can you do today to be of assistance to a fellow lawyer?

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Phyllis B. Pickett Receives 2019 Joseph Branch Professionalism Award

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Maria M. Lynch, Lynch & Eatman LLP

The 2019 recipient of the Joseph Branch Professionalism Award is Phyllis B. Pickett. Phyllis is an outstanding lawyer, bar leader, community leader and occasional fountain pen surgeon. Phyllis started her legal career working for Legal Aid in southeastern and northeastern North Carolina. From Legal Aid she moved to Wake County and served as an assistant county attorney for four-and-a-half years. In 1991, Phyllis was recruited to join the staff of the General Assembly, in part because of her expertise in local government law and county issues. She has been a staff attorney at the General Assembly ever since. 

Phyllis serves as the principal legislative analyst and staff attorney for the Legislative Drafting Division. While her initial focus at the legislature was county law, today she primarily handles appropriations and information technology issues, as well as employment law. Employment law is the one constant throughout her legal career. As a legal services attorney she represented plaintiffs, as an assistant county attorney she represented the county as a defendant, and at the general assembly she drafts labor and employment laws. The Legislative Drafting Division is non-partisan, and as a staff attorney Phyllis deals with people from all walks of life with various political viewpoints. 

Phyllis is a double Tar Heel, having obtained her undergraduate degree in 1979 as a history major and James M. Johnson Scholar, then her law degree in 1982. Throughout her legal career, Phyllis has been involved with local, state and national bar associations. At our own Wake County and Tenth Judicial District Bars, Phyllis has served on the Leadership Development Committee, the Nominating Committee and the Grievance Committee. She also served as Secretary of the WCBA and Tenth for two years. 

Phyllis has also held a number of leadership positions at the North Carolina Bar Association.  She has Chaired the Endowment Committee, served on the Board of Governors, has Chaired the Membership Committee, the Administrative Law Section Counsel and served as Co-chair of the Committee on Women in the Profession. Phyllis has also been heavily involved with the American Bar Association where she has chaired the Judicial Division Lawyers Conference and the Perceptions of Justice Steering Committee.  She served on the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress and served as Section Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission Drafting Committee on the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. 

When asked what she does for fun, Phyllis says “I’m a baby boomer… work is my fun.” She does, however, enjoy traveling with her spouse LaVie. They are active at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, and Phyllis served four years as a delegate to the annual convention of the North Carolina Episcopal Diocese. 

In writing this piece, I learned a lot about her main hobby. She collects and uses mostly modern and some vintage fountain pens. She is especially fond of Japanese and Italian brands, but apparently there is an emerging brand based here called Franklin-Christoph. She has visited their factory in Wake Forest. She also repairs pens, including performing delicate ink bladder “surgery.” The Triangle has a very active fountain pen community and hosts an annual pen meets in Durham and Raleigh.

Phyllis believes one of the most important aspects of professionalism is mentoring, both being a mentor to others and having mentors your entire career. She cites among others who have been mentors to her, Lisbon Berry and Jim Wall, two civil rights lawyers she admired for their grit. In her mid-career, former Wake County Attorney Mike Ferrell and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Pat Timmons-Goodson gave her insight and calm in framing issues. Gerry Cohen at the Legislature was always a willing teacher. 

One aspect she loves about the law is working closely with diverse lawyers; not just in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and political views, but also generational diversity. Phyllis says she learns so much from her younger colleagues. They have affected her worldview and her perspective on issues and problems, but I believe she has had an even more profound effect on theirs. 

Tags:  Branch Award  Professionalism 

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Humility is the Highest Form of Professionalism

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 30, 2019
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Honorable Ashleigh Parker Dunston, Wake County District Court

If we took a moment to think of one of the attorneys that we admire the most who embodies professionalism, poise, and proficiency, there is typically one other word that we can always use to describe this person--humble. Merriam Webster defines humility as: "freedom from pride or arrogance." I love this definition because of the word freedom. Freedom indicates that you have broken away from a norm or that you have the autonomy, maturity, or self-governance to do something different. In this instance, doing something different is not being prideful.  

 

As attorneys, we all need have a healthy balance of confidence and swagger that makes us good at what we do. If we're honest, we know that there's no better feeling than successfully winning that trial, writing a brief, or mediating between difficult clients. The question is, when does it become unhealthy? When does our arrogance and egotistical attitude become a part of our character, instead of just the result of a circumstance? When do we allow it to dictate how we operate when interacting with our colleagues?  

 

C.S. Lewis said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." I've learned that humility is either something that you have or something that you'll be forced to have. I've personally had to swallow my pill of pride several times and been lowered to levels emotionally that I hope that I don't see again anytime soon. While serving on the bench, I try to constantly remind myself that my job is not to "judge" the individual, but to help them. We are all one decision away from ending up at the defense table or facing a jury of our peers. Humility means recognizing that we shouldn't be too proud to be transparent about our faults and shortcomings, seek help when necessary and have a heart of gratitude for the opportunities that we've been given. We can practice humility by making a conscious effort to thank our staff, celebrate the successes of others, ask for and accept feedback, and always be willing to learn new and better ways to do things.

 

No one is perfect and we all have room for growth in all areas of our lives. We must always remember that success is temporary, treating people with respect is free, and humility is one of the most important characteristics that we should strive for in professionalism.

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David and Goliath

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 12, 2019

Cody J. Davis

The story of David and Goliath tells of a military standoff between the Philistines and Israelites. The Philistines greatest warrior, a giant named Goliath, challenges the Israelites to send their greatest warrior to fight him in hand to hand combat. As the story goes, a small shepherd boy, David, inexperienced in battle, is the only volunteer. David prevails over Goliath by stunning Goliath with a strike from a single stone propelled by his sling. With Goliath incapacitated, David beheads the giant, defeating the Philistines.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book "David and Goliath: The Advantage of Disadvantage," illustrates how this biblical allegory reflects our habit of underestimating the value of people based on inaccurate assumptions about or misconceptions of the able and competent person. Goliath and the Israelite army underestimate David’s ability by relying on their understanding of a capable warrior. They assume David’s approach to combat would be similar to theirs, and they fail to consider how David’s skills could be utilized in this battle.

In a similar way, people may discount or fail to accurately perceive the capacity of individuals with disabilities as collaborators, adversaries, leaders, or in a variety of other roles. I believe this is not due to malice but to one’s failure to comprehend how a person with a disability can do what they cannot imagine doing themselves were they to be the one with the disability. This often stems from uninformed, false or harmful perceptions of disability that we rely on in assessing the aptitude and competency of persons with disabilities.

The legal profession is not immune to discrediting the abilities of persons with disabilities. Just as the Israelites and Goliath underestimated David based on their perceptions of a capable warrior, so might we underestimate our colleagues with disabilities based on our perceptions of the capable lawyer. One obvious impact this has on our profession arises in the employment context. When employers fail to understand the competencies of a candidate with a disability, they not only prejudice the candidate, they also deny themselves, their firm or their organization the value of the candidate’s contributions. In the aggregate this reality starves the legal profession of talented lawyers, judges and leaders, stifling the legal profession’s validity in the eyes of the public.

Perhaps less obvious is how a failure to recognize the capacity of persons with disabilities may affect a lawyer’s approach to her work with a colleague or adversary with a disability. In the context of collaboration, a lawyer who underestimates the competency and abilities of a colleague with a disability may fail to ask for contributions to a project. Similarly, a lawyer may believe they must overcompensate for what they think the colleague with disabilities is lacking. Further, a collaborating lawyer may inadvertently place arbitrary limitations on a colleague with a disability by denying them an opportunity to demonstrate their true aptitude.

As an adversary, it would be a great disservice to oneself and one’s client to discount the capacity of a lawyer with disabilities. To do so could result in being ill-prepared for a negotiation, hearing, or trial. This is Goliath’s fatal flaw. He underestimates David as a warrior; thus, he is ill-prepared to match David’s skill. The key to David’s success is his aptness to capitalize on his abilities rather than highlighting his weaknesses. David cannot defeat Goliath by the means the Israelites and Goliath expect him to use. Instead, David takes a different approach to battle, relying on his remarkable skills as a stone slinger.

To avoid the fault of Goliath and the Israelites, we as a profession must refrain from assessing colleagues with disabilities based on our own limited conception of a capable lawyer. In every interaction with a colleague with a disability, we must reach beyond our own understanding of legal practice and be open to learning about myriad  alternative techniques and approaches to practice that colleagues with disabilities offer. It very well may turn out that, through their efforts to conquer some barrier, they have developed more efficient or effective methods that you can use to your advantage.

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