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The Usefulness of Nervousness

September 26, 2008

I’ve spent my entire legal career involved in litigation.  I’ve been involved in countless depositions, arbitrations, mediations, court hearings, non-jury trials and even had a jury trial.  I spend hours every day on the phone with clients, opposing counsel and experts.

And even with all that “experience,” I always have that nerve-racking feeling (kinda like when a Mets fan is watching the Mets bullpen in action) every time I have a hearing or something similar scheduled.  I would have thought that at some point, it would all go away, but nope, even now, I always get it.  From speaking to many other folks who’ve been out practicing for several years in similar positions, I don’t think I’m the only one either.

And not that it’s all a bad thing either.  What I’ve found is that some nervous energy is good.  You’re much more attentive than if you were too relaxed.  Over the past few years, I’ve learned to channel that energy to get my adrenaline going and pumped up for hearings.  I’ve also tended to overprepare until I feel comfortable enough.  Eventually, the adrenaline and nervousness wear off, but by then, I’ve gotten the positve benefits.

Maybe someday, I’ll feel experienced enough to be completely relaxed when walking into trial.  But until then, I’ve found that having that nervous energy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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