The Importance of Being Concise

By Rice Divorce Team | September 10, 2015

The last clerk blog focused on learning to “think like a lawyer.” Learning to reshape the way you think is very important for aspiring attorneys, however, another important piece of advice that I have been given is not to completely alter your persona for the courtroom or the deposition room. If you try to imitate someone else or adopt a certain style that you perceive to be “more like a lawyer,” you may end up cheating yourself out of developing your own unique style.

Last Friday, I got to go to court with Memphis Divorce and Family Law Attorney, Nick Rice to watch a motion hearing. It was so exciting to be back in the Tennessee courtroom, but since it was a motion hearing, it was over quickly. Nick won (of course.) The judge only wanted the facts and what kind of relief each side wanted and then made his ruling based on the short and to the point facts. Afterward, Nick gave me the sound advice to always try to keep your arguments simple and sharp.
Lawyers and law students LOVE sounding smart (or at least attempting to) and using their expansive vocabulary, filled with legalese. This happens all the time in class, when it’s obvious that a classmate did not read a case and when they’re called on they just use big words and completely talk around the question they’re asked. Professors, like judges, can see right through it. Perhaps this stems from watching experienced attorneys (or actors) talk this way. However, from what I have observed, when you are asked a question, the best thing to do is simply answer it, in the most straightforward way possible.
While talking and presenting yourself in a professional manner is certainly important, sometimes, true competence shows through when you are better adept at explaining things in simpler terms. When judges and clients understand exactly what you want from them, the results tend to be more favorable.

This blog is written by the law clerks and interns of the Rice Divorce Law. We document our experience working with Memphis Divorce Lawyer Larry Rice and Memphis Divorce Lawyer Nick Rice, as well as other members of the Rice Divorce Law. The Rice Law represents clients in Tennessee, including Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Columbia, Johnson City, and Knoxville. We hope these blog posts will be interesting and show the evolution of students as they move towards being divorce and family lawyers and paralegals. The statements in these posts should not be used as legal advice about divorce or family law.

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