“Root! Root! Root!” For the Client

By David Canter

“Did you see what my Rockies did last night?”

“How do your Broncos look this season?”

“My Nuggets are one Lebron James shy of a championship.”

Why do we refer to our local sports teams as our private possession?

Why do our spirits rise when our favorite teams win, and why do we feel down when our teams lose?

Perhaps, as Eric Simons observed in his book, “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” a sports team is an expansion of a fan’s sense of self. As observed by Mr. Simons, a sports fan tends to mirror the feelings and actions of the players, and one’s self-esteem rides on the outcome of the game.

The same is true for lawyers. We tend to mirror the feelings and motivations of our clients. For some of us, our self-esteem is uniquely tied to the outcome of our client’s cases. Like professional athletes, trial lawyers tend to be a highly competitive sort.

We don’t like to lose – period. Not in a hearing; not at trial; not playing monopoly with our kids.

To be a good trial lawyer, the attorney must take ownership of his or her clients’ claims in much the same way as a sports fan takes ownership of his or her favorite team. The lawyer must be compassionate and empathetic; he or she must be able to identify with her or his client and understand and internalize why it is that the case is so important to the client. And the attorney must do all of this while maintaining objectivity.

FGMC recently represented a woman who suffered significant injuries and damages after she was struck by a car while walking across the street. The driver denied liability and contested her damages. The FGMC attorneys took up their client’s cause as if it were their own, fighting to ensure the client’s voice was heard. Ultimately, on the eve of trial, the parties were able to reach an amicable resolution, ensuring the client was properly compensated for her injuries, damages and losses.

We, the lawyers at FGMC, become our client’s biggest fan. Our clients’ cases become our cases. Our clients’ victories become our sweet victories. Our clients’ losses sting as if the defeat were our own.

Of course, there is one glaring difference between the relationship of the sports fan and his or her team, on the one hand, and the lawyer and his or her client, on the other: it matters not how many fingers are crossed, or mis-matched socks are worn, the sports fan cannot change the outcome of a game. The FGMC lawyer, on the other hand, is in the trenches, side-by-side with the client, fighting hard to ensure the client brings home a victory on game day – a victory that is owned and celebrated by both the client and the attorney.

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