While serving as second chair in a jury trial for a professional client, in regards to my client’s request for our firm’s attorneys’ fees, opposing counsel repeatedly argued to the jury that my trial time was a waste of fees and that anyone could have performed my trial roles. In the middle of trial, my boss offered to split closing argument. I gladly accepted. During my portion of the closing argument, I had the opportunity to prove my value to the jury. In addition to arguing my client’s case, I cautiously worked into my closing argument a rebuttal to the repeated references to me, a young female lawyer, as an unnecessary part of the trial. And it worked. The jury awarded my client his damages in full, plus our firm’s attorneys’ fees.
I learned quickly in the practice of law that you have to stand up for yourself, you have to ask for opportunities, and you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way. You cannot expect anyone else to pave the way for you. You are your best advocate.
Cobb Martinez Woodward