WADE LAW GROUP
THE LEGAL ISSUE 408-842-1688
PREPARATION MITIGATES NERVOUSNESS
The real-life exposure emboldened me. By the time I became a lawyer, it wasn’t new. I already had the jitters out in moot court and learned about the challenges I would face through my trial advocacy classes. I was ready. All your schooling and practice trials are put to the test when you have your first jury trial. You’re not just arguing to the judge. You’re convincing 12 people that your case is worth their vote. This was it — everything I’d been preparing for. It might sound strange, but when I entered the courtroom that day, instead of feeling intimidated, I was excited and eager to deliver my opening statement. I’d prepared so much for this day, from my first assignment to my last moot court trial. They say preparation mitigates nervousness, and they were right. I was prepared and ready to pull it off. Nevertheless, not even the most outrageous episodes of Court TV could’ve prepared me for the dramatic course my first case would take. My client was a teen who had been shot eight times by police. He was now a paraplegic. There was a lot of drama involved — least of which was my background as an ex-cop. It was a grueling case. We argued for two weeks, and in the end, we settled. It wasn’t the ending we’d hoped for. I felt exhilarated by the experience, but deflated by the outcome. Although I couldn’t have imagined fighting a case like this, it was an invaluable experience. I learned that there is a lot more to a case than preparing the perfect opening statement. Real people and real emotions are involved, and there are outcomes that you don’t expect. You learn how to deal with that, and most importantly, you learn how your defeats make you stronger Today, when I walk into the courtroom, I feel the same eagerness and anticipation I felt back then. My weeks of preparation before a case continue to mitigate nervousness. But after 20 years of practicing the law, I also have quite a bit more experience. Now, most cases I try end with the outcome my client is looking for. If preparation mitigates nervousness, then experience fosters success.
For most of my early adulthood, I religiously watched Court TV. Do you remember the station dedicated solely to broadcasting live footage from high-profile cases? It was huge phenomenon in the ‘90s, and I was fascinated with becoming a trial lawyer. So I saw this station as my chance to learn and see how it all went down. I attempted to watch it every day, from the Menendez brothers to the O.J. Simpson trial. Hollywood has put numerous spins on what it looks like to be a lawyer. While most focus on the dramatization, Court TV gave us a front-row view into how a real-life jury trial looked. They showed lawyers who are passionate about their work and the different personalities that came together to fight for a case. I watched it and dreamed of being one of those lawyers. When I got to law school, the real work began. I was no longer an observer; I was in it. I took trial advocacy classes to cultivate the legal dialect, and I was selected to be part of the moot court team at school. I practiced opening statements, cross-examination, and learned how to mold a strong closing argument. Ultimately, I learned how to advocate for my client.
“They say preparation mitigates nervousness, and they were right.”
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