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Those meant for trial work will feel invigorated rather than exhausted by the battle

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A recent online law firm article points out that a reason for lawyers to reject a potential litigation client is to weigh the potential benefits of the litigation against the exhaustion and the harm on a lawyer’s family relations that can come from the intense energy, resources and time invested into litigation.

If I needed a trial lawyer as a litigant, I would not hire that author. Yes, litigation can be expensive and very time consuming. What major worthy battle is not? Trial work and all litigation work invigorates me, particularly since I know I am on the side of the angels with the litigation cases I handle. Instead of feeling taxed by long hours in days-long jury trials — followed by needing each day to take care of my remaining clients whose trials are pending — each moment in trial battle invigorates and energizes me further, like self-perpetuating fuel created by the running of a magical car engine, or nuclear fission, or a snowball rolling downhill.

The author of the above-referenced article was particularly addressing civil contingency fee litigation for plaintiffs in discrimination and personal injury lawsuits. When I represented personal injury victims — which I have not done in years — I certainly carefully balanced the following considerations before agreeing to accept the potential client: Importance of the potential client’s cause; how I felt about the potential client, his or her cause, and the case; how I expected to get along with the client and our witnesses; how much money I might need to advance for the litigation; how much time I likely would have to spend on the work; how much attorney’s fees might be recovered; and the risks of losing in court and never recovering my advanced expenses.

Even though I take advance payment for my criminal defense work — except for pro bono work, which involves no payment — the times are inevitable when I realize in retrospect that my client’s defense requires much more work than reflected by the fee I billed. That is par for the course that is a learning experience without diminishing my delight and diligence at defending such a client in full battle mode.

As much as I am not crazy about team sports and am happy that I never entered the military, athletes and experienced soldiers have an advantage at being well poised and well experienced for litigation battle, at least if they loved the athletics and military activity. They already know the thrill of victory and agony of defeat in battle. I love practicing the taijiquan martial art and spending entire weekends hiking and biking with my son; that feeds into my energy for litigation battle.

Like Travis Bickle (omitting his having been a violent nut) in Taxi Driver, I am invigorated going "anytime, anywhere" to do litigation battle.