Lessons Learned From Coaching
ince I’ve been coaching baseball, I’ve noticed some traits from coaching that I utilize every day as a lawyer. While the two disciplines are different, the lessons I am able to transfer from one to another improve not only my coaching but also my ability to represent our clients the best way possible. I’ve been coaching for 15 years since I moved back to Birmingham during my third year of law school. I grew up playing sports throughout high school, and each of my coaches made a big impact on my life, so it was important to me to pour back into these young men’s lives as others had done for me. Now I coach both of my boys and rotate from head coach to assistant coach. Part of the coaching responsibility is managing relationships between the players and the team. You need to recognize when to give them a pat on the back and when to give them valuable feedback. My approach to law is the same. You need to establish some element of trust between you and the client and manage those relationships within a case. Whether it’s maintaining the connection between you and your client, or the relationship with opposing counsel, the judge, or the jury, it’s on you to manage a positive relationship with all parties involved, regardless of the severity of the case. It’s not just the relationships though; it’s the level of dedication, hard work, and sincerity that is going to make all the difference on the field and in the courtroom. When a player is at-bat, it’s the
most critical time for them. In a way, the player is all alone, but I’m right there encouraging them. It’s the same with my clients: Their case at that moment is the most important case to them because it is their only case. They deserve to have their attorney treat it as such. If I’m working on several cases, I need to put in the dedication and sincerity toward my clients as if they’re my only client. With my players, I need to ensure they feel like they’re the only player I’m coaching when they’re up to bat or on the mound to pitch. All the pressure is on them when they go onto the field — just like when I enter the courtroom with my clients.
“I want our clients to know that we will always strive to be the most prepared lawyers involved in the litigation.”
Even when a client is struggling with something, through enough hard work and perseverance, we can work through it. The same is true on the baseball field. Baseball is a difficult sport, and all players struggle at some point. My sons have both overcome their struggles with hard work and perseverance. Passion for the game is a critical component of success. When I come home from work, I can usually find my boys with bats in their hands, practicing. They are never satisfied with the status quo, always looking to improve. Passion for the practice of law, and dedication to our clients, is critical to success in the legal arena. When I’m working on a case, I want to try to do everything I can to prepare that case for trial, no matter how long it takes — long hours, weekend prep, anything to give my clients the best experience and outcome I can. This includes looking through all the evidence and doing all the research needed. I want our clients to know that we will always strive to be the most prepared lawyers involved in the litigation. I don’t want anyone to work harder than me. When someone hires you to work their case, you must give 100% effort. When you coach Little League, you must provide every player your 100%.
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