Sam Houston 2016-05-28 19:46:01
Your View Don’t lose perspective. At a CLE presentation last week, a panelist reminded the audience that an effective trial lawyer should be mindful of the big picture when approaching his or her case. The panelist asserted that too often lawyers get caught up in details that have nothing to do with proving the essential elements of a claim or defense. As an appellate lawyer, I could not agree more. My former supervisors always cautioned me to “stay out of the weeds.” Perspective is also important outside of the courtroom. Several years ago as part of its outreach efforts, the Texas Young Lawyers Association initiated How to Get a Job After Law School: The Unclassified Story, a project that provided practical advice to students seeking permanent employment after law school. I encouraged those law students— even those who had landed a first job—to develop an identity outside of the four walls of their employers. In a civil law firm, billable hours and meeting expectations are important, but you cannot allow them to make you neglect other aspects of your professional development. If you never develop an identity outside of the firm, how will you ever be considered by a new client or approached with a new employment opportunity? You simply cannot lose by getting involved with a bar association or other trade association relating to your practice. Perspective is also important to worklife balance. Yes, we are lawyers. But, more importantly, we are also people. There are many resources that highlight the significance of physical and mental health. In fact, TYLA has dusted off a project from a few years ago—Breaking the Silence: A Path to Mental Health—in an effort to highlight issues that our members may be facing and to discuss resources aimed at coping with them. TYLA has held several panel discussions around the state that address substance abuse and depression. The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program has also received a great deal of attention this year thanks to the efforts of 2015-2016 State Bar President Allan K. DuBois. If you have not seen the Courage, Hope, Help— TLAP Is There video that was produced under his leadership, I encourage you to check it out at texasbar.com/tlap. Our friends at the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division have also started a #Fit2Practice health and wellness initiative, which focuses on physical fitness, mental health, nutrition, and sleep. And the Texas Bar Journal has begun running a Work/Life column in this issue (see page 422). I encourage you to check out these resources for practical information on how to keep things in perspective. SAM HOUSTON TYLA President
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