My blawgospheric and geographic neighbor Chuck Newton (read his blog for ideas on being a “third-wave lawyer” without much of the overhead and inefficiency that lawyers have traditionally had) had a post this weekend about Time, Toil, and Talent, which are the things that we, as lawyers, should be selling. If we aren’t selling our time, toil, and talent, we’re selling a commodity — “divorces,” in Chuck’s example.
Young Shawn Matlock, meanwhile, describes a taxonomy of criminal-defense lawyers based on a baseball metaphor: “Cooperstown” (the best of the best), “The Show” (difference makers), “The Minors” (those who win only the cases they should win), and “Little League” (walking, talking ineffective assistance).
Time, toil, and talent make the difference between Shawn’s groups of criminal-defense lawyers.
A lawyer who doesn’t have a lot of talent, doesn’t work very hard, and doesn’t spend a lot of time on a case is strictly a little leaguer. If his clients don’t plead guilty, he can’t help them. They are difference makers, but not in a good way.
A lawyer who has talent, or works hard, or spends a lot of time on a case may be a little leaguer or a minor-leaguer. If the facts are on his side, he might win and if the facts aren’t on his side he’s most likely going to lose.
A lawyer who applies talent and toil, or talent and time, or toil and time to a case will be a minor leaguer; if she’s very talented, hardworking, dedicated, or lucky she’ll make it to The Show and make a difference to her clients.
A lawyer who brings talent, toil, and time to every case will eventually — not at first, because it takes time to learn the game — make it to The Show; if he is exceptionally talented, hardworking, dedicated, and lucky he might someday be in Cooperstown.