The Daily

Why I’m A Trial Lawyer (No. 1)

The Lincoln Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

“I am not an accomplished lawyer” Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln was a famously small town lawyer. For the bulk of his career, he practiced solo with the help of a junior lawyer named Herndon – who functioned more as a paralegal – doing office organizing and paperwork.

Lincoln was a circuit rider, traveling around the State of Illinois to all of its courtrooms, where he was known to “split hairs as well as rails”.

There is a story about a land owner who visited Lincoln in his office about a boundary dispute with a neighbor. As they were meeting, that same neighbor came into the office to hire Lincoln. In the presence of both men, Lincoln is said to have given a short review about how the case was likely to proceed and then announced it was his lunchtime and that he would be back in an hour. He locked the door behind him. On his return, the two neighbors had settled the dispute.

In modern life, there isn’t a lot of incentive paid for humility. Or, subtlety for that matter. Still, the qualities exemplified by Lincoln’s trial practice – hard work, detailed knowledge, unfailing expertise, honesty and fair dealing – are enduring American values.

One quote that Lincoln is often remembered for celebrates this love of reason and the rule of law.

“I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast for malicious dealings.”

One of the lessons I learned from my Father is that strength in a case is often quiet. A trial lawyer carries into a room – or not – his reputation for seriousness, diligence and comprehensive understanding of the law and how to achieve success for the client within it. When your lawyer brings that kind of reputation to your case, the successful resolution of your matter becomes much simpler. This is the legacy my family left me and what I bring to YOUR case.