AuthorStewart I. Edelstein
ProfessionCommercial trial lawyer
It is no wonder that Stewart Edelstein’s students at Yale Law School
have praised the course in C ivil Litigation Practice he co-teaches as “the
best, most informative class to take at Yale Law School” and “a wonder-
ful experience.” The supporting evidence is readily found in this book:
Stewart applies his experience, insight, and wit to produce an unusual
guide to trial lawyering that is as enjoyable as it is useful.
What does a gr yphon—the creature of Greek mythology t hat com-
bined the body of a lion with the head and wings of an eagle—have to
do with civil t rial practice? Plenty. The lion and eagle were the top dogs
in their respect ive animal categories, and the gry phon was viewed as
the king of the a nimal kingdom, unexcelled in power and authority. But
do not misinterpret the metaphor—it is not intended to embrace those
trial law yers who let their power and authority go to their heads. It is not
about those trial law yers who conduct themselves as if unbridled self-
regard is the key to success. Th is book is not about swagger.
Instead, Stewart explains the gr yphon metaphor as reinforcing the
key notion that success as a tr ial lawyer requires mastering multiple dif-
ferent skills. Trial lawyers, like the gry phon, are a hybrid of skill set s.
The best trial law yers are not only persuasive advocates but also cre-
ative problem solvers. Their conduct and demeanor must adjust to the
context—one must behave a little differently with a jury than w ith a
mediator, for example—but one must never, ever descend into arrogance.
Stewart Edelstein has had an env iable multi-decade career as a civi l trial
lawyer by serving his clients effectively and efficiently. According to
the Chambers Guide, based on independent sources, Stewart is a “truly
superb” lawyer. But “swagger” isn’t in his vocabular y.
An appropriate vocabular y is important to successful t rial lawyering.
A trial lawyer must be a master of words whether written in a brief or
spoken in court, at a deposition, or in a ma rketing pitch to a prospective
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