How do you become a great trial lawyer?


The one thing they don't tell law students is your first year of practice, you're walking malpractice. You think you know what you're doing but you have no idea what you're doing.  By that end of that first year you've done things several times you start to build confidence. By your fifth year you're pretty good, I mean you're competent.  And it's at the fifty-year mark where most lawyers stop studying, where most lawyers stop improving and I had a mentor tell me that one time.  Now fast forward to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers" where the concept is you need 10,000 hours to be good anything--translated that's about 25 years of practice.  And I've told several young lawyers this and they're like "twenty-five years!"  But the upside is in five years you're going to be really competent.  And the great thing is--okay I always wanted to play professional football.  I didn't, but I'm now at the top of my game at fifty-five years old I would've been long since retired and that's because if you continue to work you can continue to get better into your seventies and eighties. You can still be really good.  And I credit that to Joe York, my first mentor



Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.

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