Words are tricky. They can get you in trouble or out of trouble. They can save your life or get you killed. They can save your relationship or end it. They can win your case or lose it. I think you get the idea. Words are everything in our profession. Words are the art of trial practice. If you asked ten attorneys what one word within a Judge’s Order or Opinion meant, you might get ten different opinions, depending on their frame of reference.
An attorney is called on to use their words with elegance and class, with grace and intelligence. Day in and day out our words are scrutinized to the nth degree. Whether it is an opposing party, opposing counsel, or judge, we are always on alert to make sure that our words are particular and to the point. This is because words can make or break a case for a client. This is why attorneys spend hours preparing for a hearing or trial, working to make sure they know every in and out, every fact, every potential outcome, so they can be prepared on how to respond to an argument or how to answer a question, using well crafted arguments full of well thought out words.
When an attorney walks into court, they have millions of words flying around in their head, taking shape into arguments, taking shape into explanations, taking shape into objections. Objections in particular are very important in a hearing or trial. They can stop a freight train from running over you.
In addition to words, attorneys must know rules upon rules regarding procedure within the courtroom. One of which is when to object and when not to object. An objection is a powerful tool. “I object” is a simple phrase, but one that must be understood and used at just the right time and in just the right place. Two simple words, “I object,” can change the outcome of an entire case. That is the significance of words within our profession. That is the importance of words.
Thus, when you are looking for an attorney, listen to their speech; listen to the thoughtfulness of their words. Listen to the class and grace in which the attorney crafts his or her answers to you when they are giving you advice. Why? Because this will give you an idea of how the attorney will craft their answers in court or to an opposing party or an opposing counsel. Because this will tell you just how good (or not) an attorney will be in his trial practice. And, if you are not happy with the answers, how they sound or the words the attorney is using to give those answers, remember to say, “I object.” (Well, not literally, maybe shout it in your head.) But, know that every word means something; every phrase has intention behind it, for words are our greatest resource and tool. Use yours wisely.
And, as an attorney I practice my words everyday. “I object!!”