Denver Bar Association
July 2003
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From the Headlands

by Paul Gordon

By Paul Gordon, reprinted from the YLD’s e-newsletter

I have lost my unfair share of arguments. Looking back, I see an obvious common denominator to my losing arguments. They all had a good faith basis. I have started to wince at the sight of a young lawyer about to take my client’s deposition. I can generally predict that the deposition will take too long and that I would make matters worse by complaining. As a practical matter, young lawyers should take too long and should not be apologetic about it. Charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, a defendant representing himself at trial asked one of his intended victims the following question: "After you were hit by a bullet and fell to the ground and you looked up, who did you see?" The witness said, "You." The art of lawyering is knowing what not to ask, knowing what not to say, and ultimately, knowing who not to represent. But these are lessons learned no way other than the hard way, so don’t apologize for being young. Just try to remember that the practice of law is not the tyranny of the possible.

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