Blawgletter got back last night from a trip, to Philadelphia and New York, that put us in touch with long-time lawyer friends we don't see often enough.  We enjoyed our visits. 

But one of the friends told us about something that disturbed us, even seemed bizarre.  Big firms, the friend said, don't value trial lawyers very much.  Because they don't value trials.

My friend said, among other things, that many colleagues don't get cases ready for trial.  They don't know how.  They've never tried a case!  My friend added that many don't want associates to get trial experience for fear that it would get others' hopes up!  And that some partners who call themselves litigators have never taken a deposition!


The surprising news stayed on our mind this morning.  But then John Fogerty's Centerfield came on.  It cheered us right up.

The song tells of a baseball enthusiast.  The chorus says:

Put me in, coach.

I'm ready to play, today.

Put me in, coach.

I'm ready to play, today.

Look at me, I can be, center field.

We've found over the years that the associates who become partners have the same attitude (towards trial work) that Mr. Fogerty sings about (towards baseball).  Some of them even say the same thing — put me in, coach.  That never fails to impress us.  Even if we have doubts, the request — and the desire behind it — overcomes them.  We can't remember saying no.

So, all you new and newish lawyers out there, don't shrink from asking for a chance to do something that goes beyond your experience.  Tell the partner you can take that key deposition, cross-examine a trial witness, argue the jury charge.  Explain why the partner should believe you'll do a great job — and bring the partner and client glory.  Say put me in, coach.  I'm ready.

As the Great One said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.