Looking at the World Through Other People's Eyes

Jeff Tolman, Looking at the World Through Other People’s Eyes, 66 Wash. Bar News 3, (Mar. 2011)
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Lawyers must be able to see from variety of perspectives including those of the judge, the client, the opponent, the witness, and Father Time. They must consider the case through the judge’s perspective and ensure that the argument is legally sound, makes sense, and furthers the cause of justice.

Lawyers must not only be able to understand clients, but they must also be able to tell clients’ stories in a human, personal way in order to “bring life to their argument.” Mr. Tolman writes about a colleague who had a client who was in a nursing home. To better understand his client’s situation and to better convey the client’s story, this colleague spent two days in bed in the nursing home next to his client’s bed.

Lawyers must consider the case through their opponent’s perspective and anticipate their defenses, arguments, and strategies.

The perspective of witnesses is critical, as well. Lawyers must turn “their place in the case into a puzzle piece that fits nicely, and favorably to the client.”

Finally, lawyers must view the world from the perspective of Father Time – i.e., “the best result does not [necessarily] give immediate gratification, but over time is a wise, practical solution.”