I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that having a law degree would allow me – or I thought it would – the possibility to do a number of different things. Out of law school, I became a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. As a prosecutor, you get to be in court and gain experience learning your way around a courtroom. From there, it was a natural progression into civil litigation.
From a professional standpoint, you have to be prepared as a prosecutor because you have a number of cases and it’s challenging to know them all. But that doesn’t matter when you stand up before the judge and the judge asks you a question. You need to be able to answer it, and the only way to answer it directly without having to tap dance or beat around the bush is to know what you’re talking about. In court, being prepared is the single most important thing.
When I went to law school, I really didn’t have any expectations. I don’t think I had a clear idea of what a lawyer did. I mean, everyone’s read the books and seen the movies and all that stuff, but the reality of the day-to- day job of a lawyer is quite different.
At the end of the day, if you go to trial and you win, that’s a benchmark . . .that’s a measure, and that is the ultimate “job well done” for a client. I think, though, that you’re always learning, evaluating and trying to improve. I sit down after every trial – even every hearing – and reflect on how things went, how I interacted with the judge, and my level of preparation. I try to learn from each experience.
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