Did you ever go to a restaurant, look at the menu, but after several minutes you still don’t know what you want to eat? Sometimes a really talented server will recommend an entree with such descriptive and persuasive articulation that your mouth waters, so you order it and sure enough it’s delicious! Servers that good should consider going to law school because an important skill for successful attorneys is the power of persuasion.
Successful lawyers have many skills and abilities, but one of the most important is the ability to communicate, inform, explain, and persuade people. The ability to persuade goes beyond the courtroom theatrics we see on television, when an impassioned plea is made to a jury to spare the life of a defendant or something along those lines. In real life attorneys make phone calls, write emails, write motions to the court, and meet personally with other lawyers to obtain the best possible outcome for their client, often relying on their power of persuasion.
If you’re an iPhone or other Apple product user you probably look forward to the release of the next new computer or phone with great anticipation, and founder Steve Jobs introduced his latest and greatest gizmos with great fanfare. Many people believe Jobs was the greatest persuader of our time, and today the company continues the tradition he started with spectacular launch events. Enough people are persuaded to make Apple one of the top 10 richest companies in the world.
In the legal profession, we don’t have big publicity events to make our case. The courts have a very strict set of rules and guidelines to follow so our system retains the integrity that inspired the phrase engraved on the front of our United States Supreme Court building, “Equal Justice Under Law.” We’re not selling cell phones or cars, we are working to see that justice is done and that our clients receive the best possible outcomes while protecting their rights. In addition to being persuasive, attorneys must have the education, license, skills, and character to execute their duties according to the law and, in Florida, the rules and ethics established by the Florida Bar.
In addition to the ability to persuade, attorneys must have many other attributes and qualities, including compassion. We’ll write about more in the near future.
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