President's Page, 0313 ALBJ, 74 The Alabama Lawyer 88 (2013)

AuthorPhillip W. McCallum


Vol. 74 No. 2 Pg. 88

Alabama Bar Lawyer

March 2013

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0 Phillip W. McCallum

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Just What Is a “Super, Duper” Lawyer?

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0It seems like on a daily basis I receive an e-mail concerning the nomination or selection process for a publication's best, top or super lawyer list. Because I have been assured that the standards to make these lists are rigorous, I'm always flattered if my name manages to slip past a screening committee. Heck, I'm not even the best lawyer in my own house. That distinction goes to my wife, Kelley, who gave up a successful practice to wrangle kids and be in charge of crisis management, which is no small task around our household. One of the things that Kelley does particularly well is handle communications with our teenagers. While it always has been my policy not to negotiate with terrorists, she somehow has the tact, patience and diplomacy to find common ground on almost any issue. The same characteristics that made Kelley a good lawyer also make her a wonderful mom and wife. That got me thinking about what really makes someone a "super, duper" lawyer.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0While most everyone would agree that many lawyers possess strong communication skills, have keen analytical abilities and are driven to succeed, there are certain additional traits, in my opinion, that make "super, duper" lawyers. My selection criteria are based upon personal experiences-consisting primarily of what not to do-and having had the good fortune to observe quite a few excellent lawyers at work. Not all top lawyers are alike or share the same skill sets. Many have weaknesses, but instead have learned to play to their strengths. Most of the attributes that I think make a good lawyer are the same I would use to assess the quality of any person.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Super lawyers love what they do

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Good lawyers never go around saying that they are miserable or hate their job. They may experience some grief from the occasional unimpressed client, unsavory case, ornery opposing lawyer or inhospitable judge; but, all in all, lawyers who excel genuinely enjoy their work. Like a star athlete, skilled medical provider or inspirational performer, good lawyers "bring it" consistently because it is in their blood. My law partner. Bob Methvin, is a good example...

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