Three things young lawyers should learn from Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter:
1. Know when to fight and when to compromise
Young lawyers have a lot to prove. They are always trying to garner more respect. Knowing when to pick your battles is essential for a prosperous career. Sometimes it is prudent to settle your case and move on. Sometimes it is not.
Buck Showalter understands that there are moments in the game that are appropriate to chew out the umpire for a ridiculous call and moments when it is best to bite his tongue. Pick your battles.
2. Prepare for every situation
Buck is famous for this. Buck changed the dimensions of the Orioles’ spring training field to be the same as Camden Yards’ just so the team would be better prepared for the season. Every possible game scenario is thought out beforehand by him. Many of his players have noted that when Buck tells them to prepare for a particular situation, they didn’t even realize that scenario was possible.
When young lawyers prepare for a trial or a deposition they must be ready for every situation. Stuff happens, and you need to have extra copies of your exhibits for the judge. You need to be prepared to move forward with the case that day even if you believe a postponement is appropriate. I have had seemingly normal clients show up to court looking like Kenny Powers with camouflage fatigues and wraparound sunglasses demanding that we adjust the ask up $2.5 million more. (Don’t ask me why that number.) Over-prepare like Buck.
3. Be cool under pressure
Buck Showalter calmly told Orioles pitcher Zach Britton to intentionally walk the batter during Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Not just any batter; this was the potential winning run. But Buck was playing to win in a high-pressure situation. It worked because the next batter hit into a double play, ending the game and the series. Buck’s players said that his coolness and confidence was contagious to them.
As a young lawyer, don’t panic! After you have prepared for your meeting, deposition or trial, just execute. Things won’t go as planned always but that should be a part of your plan. Believe in yourself and your client, judge and opposing counsel will believe in you. A helpful tip courtroom tip is to take a sip of water if you are unsure of what to say or do next. But always play to win like Buck.