Science! and Engineering! and Accounting! Oh My!

21 Jun

First order of business, when I was so proud of having over two hundred views in one day, I spoke too soon.  Yesterday I had over 1,200 views in one day alone! You like me! You really really like me!

Second order of business, now to the actual content of this post.  By sharing realistic stresses of the lawyer life, I feel like I’m always a negative Nancy.  Today I want to talk about one of my favorite parts of my job.

One of my absolute favorite things about my job is working with EXPERTS.  Maybe litigation is more of a skill than a substantive practice.  Litigation has its own rules and practices, but you have to plug in the substantive law, and often you have to plug in entirely different substantive disciplines.  Your job as an attorney is to work with the expert to learn the necessary components of whatever substantive discipline is at issue, and learn those things well enough to communicate them effectively to a jury.

When I was in high school and college, I loved SCIENCE.  For a stint, I planned to major in Chemistry, but then I took O-Chem and was literally bored to tears with having to write lab reports (in retrospect, they were just tedious, and I was a drama queen), and instead decided to spend my time reading stories and majored in German.  Working with experts is now how I get to play with SCIENCE at work.  I love working on products liability/design defect cases, because I love to learn how things work.  I’ve learned about everything from giant construction cranes to surgical  staplers to tree stands.  I like dealing with products I can see and manipulate, rather than with pharmaceuticals or chemicals.  A case is far less interesting to analyze when you cannot see, and possibly replicate, the problem that everyone is discussing.  I particularly love it when I’m dealing with some mundane product, like a frying pan, that I’ve never given thought to before, and suddenly the case I’m working on raises all these new and interesting questions I’ve never even considered about how the product is made, why it is made that way, how it operates, and all the decisions and calculations that went into the product.

I love the challenge of working with someone who has highly sophisticated knowledge, and talks about things that are way over my head.  I love the challenge of figuring out what the heck they’re talking about, interpreting it, and working with them to apply that knowledge to the necessary hypotheticals to be able to express the idea I need to get across. Some days I get to pretend I’m a civil engineer designing roads, some days I get to pretend I’m an accountant, some days I get to pretend I’m a doctor.  When you’re working with an expert, you get to dabble in all kinds of different interesting things.  Ok kids, I admit it, lawyering isn’t all that bad.

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