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When Phil Collins no longer fazes me

Jul 29, 2010 When Phil Collins no longer fazes me

For years, I would escape Phil Collins’s singing.

For around two decades I would experience such a viscerally negative response to Phil Collins that I would switch the radio channel as quickly as possible before Phil had reached his third note. This arose from my seeing Collins being interviewed one weekend morning when he seemed to have a very dry mouth, reminding me of the numerous Sunday mornings in college after drinking too much the night before, accompanied by a queasy, seasick stomach. Thereafter, my stomach started feeling queasy when I would heard Phil Collins. 

Let alone in the practice of life, but in the practice of law, too, it is critical to reach a level of compassion and tolerance for everyone the trial lawyer encounters, including clients, jurors, judges, opposing witnesses, prosecutors, courthouse personnel, and jailers. At the Trial Lawyers College in 1995 the compassion and empathy concept was presented -— overhyped in my view at the time, complete with hugfests without warning, even with men hugging men (which at the time was very alien to me) —- as the importance of brotherly and sisterly love. 

As with t’ai chi and dieting, most of the lessons of the Trial Lawyers College are easy to understand, but profound and demanding to put into practice. In some ways, just as I have battled the flows and ebbs of stomach bulge to little or no bulge to bulge again for nearly a quarter century (recently returning to being ten pounds away from top physical shape), I have steadily progressed towards being more compassionate and seeing nobody as below nor above me, but with various short time periods -— sometimes as short as a few seconds —- of being so wrapped up in my own gig as to have to clamor to regain my compassion.

Perhaps going hand-in-hand with compassion is eliminating being judgmental. I have been judgmental about Shriners wearing silly fezzes, tourists getting excited about sending jelly gift jars at the Knotts Berry Farm amusement park, people who love spending a day at outlet malls, and certainly about Phil Collins’s voice. 

Particularly seeing that I am still trying to find the appropriate time to urge a judge to judge not so that ye not be judged, I need to eliminate my judgmentalism. Behind the Shriners’ silly hats and sexism of their membership policies, their work includes some very beneficial charity. The people loving finding the Knotts Berry jelly may have been sending the stuff to a relative or friend without much joy in life. As to those loving outlet malls, I still need to figure that one out. 

Through doing t’ai chi, I have learned of the concept of taking what is good or beneficial from a lesson and leaving the rest, kind of like sifting worms out of flour before making bread. 

In that context, when Youtubing for some of my own YouTube channel’s keywords, I came across criminal defense colleague Bob Battle’s praising a purported marketing guru and lawyer Dave Frees. As I started googling for him, I was skeptical at first about whether Mr. Frees is more hype than help and how much he is about merely making money versus truly helping people and society.

Then I remembered to try to take what works and to leave the rest. Bob Battle talks about Frees’s lessons helping him to persuade Battle’s seven-year-old son to overcome his fear of learning to ride a bike. Virginia lawyer Ben Glass praises Frees. I found only one book online by Frees, The Language of Parenting,  although it seems he has some audios or videos available for sale. I gave it a shot and ordered the book, which is on its way. 

Removing the marketing hype in this Frees video, he makes the critical point about how important it is to deeply listen to our clients and potential clients and to use their own language with them. 

I then went to my four-year-old son that evening to spend some time with him, and out of thin air we created a new game together using his small toy-holding spring-action baskets, and spent the next half hour to an hour playing this new game. My son and I were having fun together through overlapping our mutual language of spending time together, play, and inventiveness. 

Many people choose work that removes them from sales and marketing roles. However, all sales is persuasion. Everyone needs to learn how to persuade. Trial law practice is persuasion. Therefore, trial lawyers have much to learn from successful marketers, even when that requires taking what works and leaving the rest. 

I heard Phil Collins not too long thereafter. For the first time in a long time, his singing did not faze me.

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