As a trial attorney, I know that things can change quickly in the courtroom. It took me some time to get used to the idea that there is no such thing as a perfect opening statement, witness, or closing argument. I hate to draw analogies from sports due to the cliché factor, but there were a couple of lessons to be learned from last weekend that can help any attorney.
First, let’s talk about the Phoenix Open. Obviously the Super Bowl was the big story yesterday, but I was inspired by the come from behind–back from the dead–play of Kyle Stanley. If anybody was paying attention, Mr. Stanley won the tournament by a stroke. Last week he completely choked, and lost a tournament by triple-bogeying the last hole and then losing in a playoff. Commentators opined that it would take Stanley months or years to deal with the emotional trauma. It took him six days.
Speaking from the perspective of a criminal defense attorney, there is much to admire in Stanley’s victory. When you defend people who are charged with crimes, there are going to be some tough moments in trial. It isn’t possible to be perfect and you are going to make mistakes. How you learn from them and come back is what is important.
Second, let’s discuss the Superbowl. Was it the best Super Bowl ever? I would say no because the T.V. ads were so bad. In any case, the game was won during the last few minutes when Manning connected to Manningham for a huge first down. Any other coach would probably been more conservative and careful. But in order to win, sometimes you have to take big chances. That pass could have been an interception. But it wasn’t, and that’s what separates the good from the great.
I truly dislike the scene in “A Few Good Men” where Tom Cruise bets his career that he can get Colonel Markinson to admit that he ordered the “Code Red.” That is a stupid risk that no lawyer would ever take in real life. But there are times when you have to take a big chance in order to win. I love to look for those smart opportunities. So, I guess I’m just throwing out clichés. Sorry. Don’t quit, take smart chances and you can win it all.
Attorney Nick Alcock is the owner of Alcock & Associates Law firm in Phoenix, Arizona
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