Advice to a young personal injury lawyer:
Hey there young fella. Look at me! Grey hair is creeping up the side of my scalp. I am within shouting distance of 60-years old. I am now a veteran New York personal injury litigator. My running stride is slower, and aches and pains sometimes plague me, but hey, I’m wiser, too. So listen up young whippersnapper! Here’s a few lessons I’ve learned about life in this high-stress, time-consuming job you’ve chosen.
(1) Keep learning. No matter how good you are, someone else is always better. So be humble. You need to keep learning this trade until the day you die. Never think you know too much.
(2) Keep caring. Try to keep on caring about those you serve. After you have represented a few hundred seriously injured clients, you can get jaded and stop feeling for them. There are two reasons not to let this happen to you: (1) you can’t effectively represent seriously injured people if you don’t “feel their pain”; (2) your humanity barometer will go crashing to the floor if you let it. Do you want to be a good human? Then care. Really care.
(3) Keep giving back. Even though our job is stressful-as-all-hell, and even though we sometimes have to put in ungodly hours, we are so damn lucky to have a job that pays well and is interesting and exciting at times. 95% of humans are stuck in a rut of boring, oppressive jobs, or worse, have no job at all and live in dire poverty. If you don’t think you need to give back, ask yourself where along the road you lost your humanity. Get on a few boards, give generously to not-for-profits, and go volunteer at something. Side benefit: You might get some clients that way, too.
(4) Keep a balanced life. Family and friends matter even more than your job, especially family. Being a good dad, or a good husband, wife or partner, will give you more satisfaction in the long run that just being a good lawyer.
(5) Keep outside interests. Read, travel, play the kazoo in a punk band – whatever floats your boat. But, geez, don’t just be lawyer.
(6) Keep in shape: It’s the best stress therapy besides sex and beer. Oops – did I just say that? Seriously, Ride a bike, jog, jazzercise – whatever. You and your heart really need this. Side benefit: I can’t tell you the number of brilliant case strategies that have occurred to me during those lonely runs.
See ya in Court, kiddo.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.