Steve Martin starred in The Jerk (1979) but
didn’t turn into one.

Blawgletter’s 22 years of practicing bidness trial law have included a great many surprises.  One of the most surprising surprises?  That success doesn’t require — or even benefit from — becoming a jerk.

Sure, you mutter to yourself, plenty of jerks do great in law practice.  Blawgletter will not contest your point (or name the many examples that come to mind).  But Blawgletter does believe that jerkiness hinders rather than helps.

Think about it.  Who would you rather deal with — a smart jerk or an intelligent gentleperson?  Who would you listen to on a matter of importance?  Who would you want to believe?

The best trials resolve into a split second when the truth comes out.  That instant often determines the outcome.  Yes, Blawgletter concedes, a jerk lawyer can conceivably make the moment happen.  But it will seldom occur except by accident or error by the opposing counsel. 

Why?  Because the jerk lawyer puts himself first.  He wants to win more than he wants justice for his client.  And — happy to say — he usually gets for himself the only just result.  You reap what you sow.

Barry Barnett

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