Saturday, September 06, 2008

Live like a Lawyer

Throughout law school everyone tells you to think like a lawyer. When I got to clinic this year, the professors told us to act like a lawyer. Now I realize that you just should live like one; at least a good lawyer. At their worst, lawyers are seen as argumentative and arrogant bullies. But at their best, lawyers as advocates for a cause and the most just outcome.

The past two days I have been dealing with resolving a dispute about my summer sublet deposit, trying to get Dell to fix my computer, and negotiating the price of seven layer bean dip for one of my events (they tried to charge me $45 for bean dip for 8 people!)

Normally I would find the quickest solution possible because I hate confrontation and negotiation . . . yeah, do not ask me why I decided to become a lawyer. But I fought, and used some "lawyering skills," which are common sense for many people but not intuitive for non-confrontational people like me. Clearly articulating what I want, keeping records of everything, staying poised, not getting emotional and feel bad for people even if they are in the wrong, not backing down, not taking attacks personally, getting your ducks all lined up before entering into the ring, etc.

And I got exactly what I wanted in two of the three situations (there is nothing I can do about my computer because they need to reship my part). Let's just hope I can apply the skills I used to fend off a bratty undergraduate girl to helping my own clients. Anyway, I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders so I can enjoy the rest of my weekend. Yay!

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