I remember vividly the day I decided I wanted to be a trial lawyer. It was during a transitory phase of my life when I was exploring what I wanted to spend the rest of my days doing. I was sharing time and drinks with my brother during one of my sojourns back home in Tampa when I was living in Miami and exploring the idea of going to law school. My brother presented me with the idea of the lawyer that goes to court.
What my brother explained to me is so great about the lawyer that goes to court is that every day would be different. He did not quite frame it in the terms of trial lawyer. He simply said that the kind of lawyer I should try to be is the kind that goes to court. “Dom your life will always be interesting. No day will be same. You will never simply sit in an office and rot away. Your mind will stay active and every day will present new challenges.” At that moment, I had no idea how I would get from point A to point B. But I did know that a seed had been planted. Almost five years later, this seed would grow into the young tree that is becoming my life.
My brother could not have been more right. The life of a trial lawyer is different than most. Every day presents a different obstacle; a new adventure. And indeed, these past two months I have journeyed across the State of Florida for mediations, depositions, hearings, site inspections, and even a gun show. The traveling has given me time to develop as a young lawyer, to bond with colleagues I am truly blessed to work with, and visit with clients, family, friends and mentors I would not have otherwise seen but for the duties my career calls for. And in between traveling and weekends at home, indeed every day at the office is different.
The life of a trial lawyer also presents obstacles unique and alien to other areas of law. Oftentimes, there is no single solution. This can be frustrating to me as a young lawyer because I find that when I am faced with a problem, initially I cannot see the solution. It is only after hours of research, writing, thinking, and consulting with my elders that a solution does finally begin to present itself. But there is no greater feeling in the world than finally finding that solution. Analogously, there is no worse feeling than that initial anxiety of wandering: what if this is the one problem I cannot solve? What if there is no solution? What if the answer is the one that our client does not want to hear?
Luckily, I have yet to confront those queries. It does not make the process any easier. Every cycle of problem, research, and solution begins with the pep talk from my girlfriend Marcia: “Dom, do not worry! You feel like this every time but every time, you find a way. This time will be no different.”
As a young lawyer, I welcome the day when that initial anxiety is not paralyzing. But as the young lawyer, I also acknowledge that feeling is a big part of what makes this life so unique; so special. Thinking back to that day when I first learned about the lawyer that goes to court, I can honestly say, I love the life that has ensued. I love the life of a trial lawyer.