law differently from the way I do. But to
ignore the law completely is shocking.
STERNS: In my business they say, “If you’re
not losing some, you’re not trying many.”
FASTIFF: I had a chance to argue a case
before the U.S. Supreme Court. Some
people will laugh at this, but for me it was
a question of whether to go to Washington
that weekend or go skiing, and I opted to
go skiing! I had someone else argue the
case. They lost.
And where do they see the profession heading?
MELCHIOR: I think, like all of society, it will
become much more bureaucratic. Lots of
lawyers will never do trials.
SUCHERMAN: More and more out-of-court
settlements with arbitrators and private
judges, especially in family law.
STERNS: We’ll probably see the demise
of the trial lawyer. I think we’ll see a
“no-fault” system for cases like slip-and-falls, automobile accidents, because
the transactional costs now are so high.
I imagine it would work something like
Yet these attorneys can’t imagine not
MELCHIOR: I’d probably deteriorate rather
quickly if I didn’t have a sense of duty that
required me to perform.
CANADY: I can’t think of a day when I’ve
thought, “I don’t want to go in there.”
STERNS: I don’t know what I’d do
otherwise. If you work at a big law firm,
when you’re 65 they roll you out or give you
senior status. But if you run your own shop,
nobody tells you.
In the legal realm, unlike many professions,
age has its privileges.
STERNS: You have more credibility. The
other side knows you’re going to try the
case. It’s easier to settle a tougher case.
SUCHERMAN: I get the respect of judges,
backed up by 50 years of experience.
BROSNAHAN: In some courts, the judge
will let you take over the room. They see
a senior in the trial bar and might think
they will enjoy watching this person. The
maturation of a trial lawyer is like an
elephant. You don’t just mature in one or
two or three years. It takes real time.