CBA Record March-April 2021
S TRONGER TOGE THER , 50 YEARS AND COUNT I NG So, one of the things the CBA taught me was how to lead people. Another opportunity is that the CBA helped me broaden my horizons, both personally and professionally. I have also been given the opportunity to travel around the world through being a leader in the YLS. Besides travel, leadership, camaraderie, professional development, and of course substantive information and practice knowledge, I’ve also gained valuable connections from the CBA. A lot of times I walk into a room and I’ll know a number of people there.” it. I took a Zoom deposition on Tuesday and I have got another next week. Unfor- tunately, being a trial attorney, it is very hard to read a witness and gain rapport with that person when you’re not in the room with them. There are too many things that you miss; there is a certain vibe that you get out of people that can only be achieved in person. So, I am not a big advocate of Zoom court. I don’t think that it’s technologically at the point where it is a reasonable substitute for being in the same room with a person. We’re social beings, and I’m grateful that the pandemic has reminded us of this.” it all, and I’m confident I never will. Attor- neys sometimes can suffer from a lack of humility. In the young attorney’s defense, you have engaged in a very intense and rigorous curriculum—there is no doubt that you are one of the sharpest people out there academically—but you lose sight of the fact that it doesn’t mean you’re neces- sarily the smartest person in the room. That is one of the biggest things that is important to understand: you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but you have to listen to that person, and that can be hard to accept as a young attorney.”
How has the practice of law has changed since you started? “It’s changed dramatically. I think it is the exponential effect of technology that has made it so much more challenging. When I first started in the office, the internet did not exist. Computers were still in their infancy. We had one Westlaw computer for 25 or so attorneys. At that time, many attorneys didn’t even really do the research. They would basically take everything off their old briefs. The practice was much slower—we didn’t have email! And at that time, many attorneys didn’t know how to type, so they relied heavily on legal assis- tants. The practice of law was much, much slower. The number of hours that you had to put in to satisfy the requirements were much lower, and the complexity of cases was much different. As time has progressed, the internet came into play, which has changed the dynamic. Technology has had a significant difference in terms of how we practice law. What I’m talking to you on right now, my phone, is a small computer that has more computing capacity than five or six generations of computers I started with combined! That speed has translated to the profession becoming more advanced, but on the other hand, a change that is a detriment to the profession, is that civility has been harmed to a great degree.” Another question in line with the change of lawand technology: Zoom court – do you like it? “I don’t like Zoom court at all! I have used
My final question for you is, what advice would you give to young law- yers out there? “The most important thing is to have a plan. I know no one wants to create a plan. I tell people this all the time. But in all hon- esty, if I told you right now to pick a place to go and you choose Omaha, Nebraska. The first thing you are going to do is open MapQuest or Google Maps and enter the location. You are not just going to jump in the car and go, you are going to come up with a plan. And that is so important to do. Identify your goals and then write them down so that you can check in with yourself. When you write down your goals and check in with them periodically, it makes it easier to measure how far you have progressed. And maybe your goal changes and you need to shift your plan. But that is the key, to have a plan. You’ll be able to achieve so much more if you have a goal and plan.”
What can young lawyers do now that will help advance their careers in the future? “It’s important to get involved with dif- ferent organizations. Your personal and professional development is critical. The more perspectives you gain, the better off you will be. A lot of things I have learned over time are because of my interactions with other people in different settings. I encourage young attorneys to get involved in an organization. Set aside time to be more than just an attorney, a brother, a sib- ling, or cousin. If you want to expand your horizons, you need to have interactions to help you personally and professionally grow, and that is one of the keys that we focus on. I’m a big advocate of the more people you interact with and the more settings, the better off you’re going to be, especially in more professional settings or organized settings.” What is a common mistake you see young lawyers making in their early careers? “Some people get too focused – or they are not focused enough. Nietzsche once said that we are too focused on running; but before you run, you must learn how to crawl and walk first. That is the challenge that young attorneys have, and I suffered from the same problem. You come out of law school and you are all gung-ho and you think you know it all. But one thing the law has taught me is that I still don’t know
Kaitlin King is an asso- ciate at Hart David Carson LLP and YLS Co-Editor of the YLS Journal in the CBA Record.
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