HOW WE LEARN TO BE HUMAN MY UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
I’m a pretty well-rounded person.
And I don’t say this to brag. I only mention it because it’s so surprising to me. I, like many others, grew up in a generation where we were expected to be very good at just one thing. In school, we were expected to be either intelligent, creative, or athletic, and focus on what we were good at. Then, as adults, we were told to either be really good at our jobs or really good at caring for our family, but we couldn’t be both. The idea was, if you were good at one thing everything else would fall into place. But that place was usually last. Lawyers are especially guilty of this. Too frequently, we get so caught up in the law and the little details that we forget what it’s like to be human. Over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s possible to live a more balanced life. We don’t have to sacrifice everything else in order to be good at one thing. In fact, the more well rounded you become, the better you are at everything. This isn’t to suggest we have to be “perfect” in everything. Life is a journey, and everything is a learning process. But when we make a point to be more attentive to our families, for example, it translates to being more attentive with our clients or coworkers. In high school, I took an ethics class where we discussed the idea of authentic human development. What does it mean to be truly human? Being human isn’t about putting all our attention into one area of our life because to paraphrase Walt Whitman, we contain multitudes. The journey I’m on doesn’t just help me as a person. I can see how it helps us at the law firm. Attorneys are responsible for relaying their clients’ stories of tragedy, triumph, and suffering. How well we tell these stories to a judge and jury will impact the outcome of the case for our clients. Understanding the human condition helps us better represent our clients, especially if we are telling stories that are completely different than our own experiences.
At the Indio Courthouse on a recent work trip. Case had a court appearance, signed up a new client and met with an existing client. We made a long weekend of it
by having Nicole and the kids tag along!
experienced real suffering that I know nothing about. It’s difficult to tell stories you can’t relate to, which is why attorneys need to be well-rounded people who don’t forget how to be human.
Empathy is a powerful force. It can help us understand people no matter who they are or how different our personal experiences may be. Being well
rounded means connecting with ourselves and being honest about our own needs as people. When we achieve this, we’re able to better relate to others.
I don’t know what it’s like to lose a cherished family member, suffer a traumatic brain injury, or be betrayed by a nursing home. My clients have
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