It Isn’t About You

Trial by Nature #6 - Tips to Survival in the Courtroom


by Tricia Derr

Dingoes are dogs with serious organizational talent. These K-9s employ strategic teamwork to catch prey.

In one hunting technique, some of the dogs to serve as “chasers.”

The chasers are selected by the pack in advance and are the smaller, faster animals. The chasers startle prey (usually in herds) to incite widespread panic. They drive the herd towards other team members who serve as “hiders.” Hiders conceal themselves in the brush, waiting for the chasers to direct prey toward them. The hiders are larger and slower, but immensely powerful. Surprising the prey during the stampede, the hiders initiate the debilitating bite. Once a takedown occurs, the pack swoops in to support the kill. The entire team shares the feast.

These pups have some good trial reminders. For one, “the kill” isn’t possible without a team. Planning and organization in advance contribute to the success of the team. Each member is cognizant of their role and mindful of the big picture.

Like the Dingo, great trial teams identify, cultivate and potentiate individual talent. Each member is aware of, and accountable for, their own responsibilities. Strategy is well-planned and practiced. These elements are undeniable predicates to long-term success.

The most critical component of the sustained prosperity of the Dingo pack is EVERY TEAM MEMBER participates in the reward of a productive hunt – not just the pack leader. Recognition of each team member generates incentive, pride in the team and a feeling of personal achievement. The team looks forward to its next victory with enthusiasm. The pack consistently gets better and better with experience.

You may be the pack leader in your firm. You might be the most talented lawyer ever. I’m sure you are really great. Whatever.

Like it or not, here’s the real truth — no matter how essential you are, I promise you didn’t get there alone. In fact, I swear it.

There is little more valuable in the courtroom than an energetic, motivated team supporting your client’s cause. Never forget to recognize all involved in a good result. When it is always about the “pack leader” and not the pack itself, the prophecy is self-fulfilling. Inevitably, the “pack leader” becomes a lone wolf.

Other Articles in the Series

Trial by Nature #3 – Stereotypes are Dangerous

Elephants can swim – even the really big ones. Weighing up to 24,000 pounds, these magnificent animals are impressive in the water. The trunk becomes a snorkel. Huge feet transform into diving fins. While they lumber awkwardly on land, they glide effortlessly in water. It is almost as though they were meant to be there in the first place.

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Trial by Nature #2 – Display Matters

The phrase “odd bird” doesn’t come close to describing this creature. Found in the rainforest of New Guinea, the superb bird-of-paradise looks like a little black bird most of the time. However, during mating season, the male bird goes all out to find a mate.

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Trial By Nature – Introduction

Smart trial lawyers are well-versed in the laws of man. Brilliancy in the courtroom demands appreciation of the laws of man and the rules of Mother Nature. Over the years, I’ve collected a few examples of Mother Nature’s lessons worthy of courtroom consideration.

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