Bill Barton, the author of Recovering for Psychological Injuries, is a renowned attorney who has tried over 500 jury trials. Drawing from his decades of experience, Barton shares tactics to cope with and learn from the painful losses every trial lawyer faces, as well as the victories. In order to fight for your clients, their case has to become your cause. The emotional entanglement you can feel for your clients needs to be addressed appropriately for the sake of your practice and your emotional well-being.
To continuously better yourself, whether you win or lose, you need to examine the outcome of your cases. Barton focuses on not questioning what you did wrong, but rather how you could have done better. The emphasis should not be on losing, it should be on learning. Barton theorizes that once you have self-examined, the most important step in this process is to move on to the next client. Learning to compartmentalize and focus on what’s ahead will teach you discipline and save you from repetitive defeat.
Barton believes in a systematic model to work through your grief, to help you learn what you can from a ruling, and move on to the next challenge:
- Attach to your effort and not the result
- Do your best
- Be gracious whether you win or lose
Barton also delves into common attributes and personality types plaintiff attorneys share. He argues that awareness that comes from self-reflection and understanding your perspective will ultimately better your practice and help you market yourself.
After the interview, Barton takes on questions from listeners such as:
- How can you be present in the moment in order to maintain your emotional health?
- What is the best way to interview jurors after a trial loss?
- How can you compartmentalize the trauma trial lawyers take on?
- How can young lawyers get more trial experience?
- How can you continuously work to improve your craft?
- How do you deal with client stress?
Barton urges you to allow yourself to be creative with your emotional reflections. He suggests that opening your mind to different possibilities and pushing yourself to pursue them will improve your future trials and better your outcomes.
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*This interview was originally offered to customers as part of our Trial Guides LIVE Fireside Chat series. The content has been remastered and edited for brevity and clarity.