Gee, We’re Smart!

At his Legal-Writing Blog, Wayne Schiess shares some observations from one of his students, who aspires to be an appellate lawyer and worked in the appellate practice department of a law firm.  See the professor’s post for all the details, but among the student’s observations:

I realized why appellate lawyers at law firms are stereotypically labeled as the smartest lawyers at the firm. The fact that they can come to work, day in and day out, and spend hours thinking and writing at such a level makes them nothing less than brilliant, if you ask me.

I can’t figure out why, but that was my favorite part.

Actually, I think it’s a case of comparing apples to oranges.  I spent more than a decade litigating in trial courts, so I have a feel for both sides of the coin, and I think that whatever you like to do tends to be less mentally taxing than other things.

For example, one of the most mentally exhausting activities, in my experience, is listening to deposition or trial testimony.  Maybe that makes me odd, but trying to listen intently to every word, for hours on end, to make sure that a potentially significant disclosure doesn’t slip by used to leave me absolutely drained at the end of the day.

Egghead (Batman)Image via Wikipedia

By contrast, I can spend 12 straight hours in the library and emerge fresh as a daisy.  In a networking group I’m currently checking out, I jokingly tell people that on appeal, they want an egghead like me precisely because eggheads like me like spending all our time reading and writing.  And, as I point out here, some trial attorneys find appellate work just plain boring.

To each his own.

Hat tip: Texas Appellate Law Blog.