Recently Brett Carter and I finished a two-week medical malpractice trial. After a long and hard-fought battle, the jury made the right decision and justice was done for our client. When I went home that evening, mentally and emotionally exhausted, I started to think about what we did. And what our client did. And together what we did – we persevered.
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines “perseverance” as the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult. As lawyers, we are the voice of our clients. We stand up for their rights and we persist in spite of obstacles, difficulties, and discouragement. Clients come to us during their greatest needs and most vulnerable times. So when obstacles, difficulties, and discouragement block their pathways, it is us, their lawyers, who persist and push through the challenges. But our clients, too, must persist.
Car crashes, work injuries, slip, and fall incidents, sometimes resulting in wrongful death can derail us physically, mentally, financially, emotionally. We have to find the strength within to pick up the pieces and move forward. When we are injured because another chose to disobey the law or made a bad decision, we have to persist in adhering to a course of action that leads us to health, healing, and well being. But not always is this the case. People do not always take responsibility or pay the consequences for their actions. These inactions present obstacles in our paths, and so enter the trial lawyer.
Our client endured the worst loss – she lost her husband because someone would not take responsibility and pay the consequence for her actions. So as a result our client pushed on through four years of seemingly endless litigation leading to trial. Just as with life, there is no certainty with trial. The defense threw everything they could to confuse or mislead the jury, insult the witnesses or convince the judge to see things through their dark glasses. And we as the plaintiffs’ lawyers had to fight through it all. Many late, late nights and early, early mornings were spent strategizing, analyzing, and anticipating their next move all the while questioning whether we made sure we diffused the confusion and did enough to show the jury the errors of their ways. It was moments like these where our client persevered – she just kept on keeping on, and that was enough motivation for us to power forward.
There’s an old adage that says you can’t defeat a man (or woman) who refuses to quit, and it’s as true today as when the words were first uttered. Not every trial is won, not every client overcomes the obstacles. But what is constant is our power of perseverance – our conviction to keep on keeping on in the face of difficulties and challenging circumstances and our resolve never to quit. That’s what makes a good lawyer a great lawyer.