I hear it all the time – “I don’t know how you do it all.” Plainly, I don’t.
That bears some explanation. And in large part I feel like I am undertaking an exercise actors do when they rehearse which word or words they want to emphasize when they deliver a line. So, we’ll try it this way first.
I don’t do it all.
There is no way that I could, which is not to say that I don’t do an awful lot. Like any undertaking, there are choices. In large part, I believe that my experience provides me insight into which endeavors will bear fruit, and which will not. That was not the case my first year as a uniformed defense counsel. I filed every possible motion, without much analysis about how it would serve my client. I was practicing in fear. I think that remains true for many new counsel. But as with any craft, you get better with experience. I don’t file every motion that might possibly be raised (though doubtfully some government counsel who read this may respectfully disagree), but I file the ones that matter, whether for true relief or to preserve an issue in case there’s need for appeal.
I don’t do it all.
Maybe you’re asking how this emphasis is any different from the previous. But it is. Even when I undertake a given matter, I don’t do each task that I decide to explore past the point where I need to. There is a difference. It is a matter of degree, but I see a corollary to the above. And please do not confuse my message to imply that I do anything halfway. I finish endeavors completely but not to the point of absurdity. There was a time in my life when every word I would utter in court, every question I would pose was typed out. Not anymore. Most of them are, but not all. Which is not to say that I am not prepared. I am more prepared than anyone that I know, and that counts anyone who types out every word they utter. This is also not to suggest that I rest on my laurels, that I recycle material, or that I simply repeat old patterns. Every case is new, each cross is different, and I prepare fully. But I do not do it all. I have come to a place where I know what I need to do to be ready, to feel composed, and to do the best that I can. But fortunately, that does not require me to do it all.
I don’t do it all.
There is not a case that I undertake that does not involve a support team. That looks different for each case. It may be the court reporter who types verbatim transcripts of the law enforcement interview (I remember what I read, and it is vital to my preparation). It may be my paralegal who screened the character witnesses for me. Possibly, the uniformed paralegal who backed me up by taking notes when I interviewed government witnesses. Or the military counsel who supervised the assimilation of written materials in case of sentencing. I would not be in the path to receive the blessing of the cases I do without the folks who put my best foot forward on google and my website. And every case involves the support team of my family. So, you see, I don’t do it all.
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