What do you get when you cross Clarence Darrow, Groucho Marx, and Vlad the Impaler? The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, a book authored by Mark Hermann, Vice President and Chief Counsel, Litigation at Aon Corporation and former litigation partner at Jones Day. The “Curmudgeon” has practiced law long enough to know what it takes to survive and thrive in a law firm and he shares his unique, humorous, and keen insights in this must-read for those who want to succeed in the legal profession.
One Curmudgeon takeaway stands out among the many excellent nuggets of advice for our listeners:the practice of law is not like the learning of law. Hermann recorded a great podcast for the ABA, highlighting Chapter 3 of the Curmudgeon’s Guide — What They Didn’t Tell You In Law School.
Check out the podcast to hear what you need to know, but what you probably never learned, in law school. To whet your appetite, here’s a sample:
When you thought your professors were misleading you, they were showing you the truth. When you thought they were being honest, they were deceiving you. Take law school exams, for example. You always thought they were ridiculous, and probably still do. Cram irrelevant crap into your head for two days, spill it all out for an hour or three, forget about it, move on to the next set of irrelevant crap. Sit back and wait while someone passes judgment on your abbreviated presentation. Surely this has nothing to do with the practice of law? Wrong, wrong and wrong again! That process is the very essence of practicing law. What do I do when I argue a motion? Cram irrelevant crap into my head for two days, spill it all out in five minutes or thirty, forget about it and move on to the next set of irrelevant crap. Have someone tell me if I win or lose!
The Curmudgeon says it’s pretty much the same for depositions, arguing appeals, trying cases, participating in a beauty contest to attract new business. He observes that “if you don’t enjoy cramming, spewing and moving on, you’ve picked the wrong profession!”
If you’re heading to law school, if you’re a current law student, or if you’re just starting your legal career, this podcast is a great listen and the book is an essential guide. The Curmudgeon’s humorous insights are spot on!