Monday, August 24, 2009

To win, you must not be afraid to lose

This week noted chess columnist Shelby Lyman writes about his amazement that United States chess champion, 21-year-old Hikaru Nakamura, is not afraid of losing. Mr. Lyman argues that is one of the traits that makes him a champion. He writes that one loss doesn't have a negative impact on skilled performers because they realize there's always tomorrow.

The same applies in the theatre we know as the courtroom. To be a successful trial lawyer you can't be paralyzed at the thought of losing. I had a prominent criminal defense attorney tell me one time that in order to be your very best, you have to be willing to lose big. Only if you're willing to lose big will you be able to cast aside your inhibitions and self-doubts and put everything into the fight.


Jeff Gamso said...

The courtroom is a theater. The lawyer, at least when asking questions, speaking to the jury, arguing to the bench (or an appellate panel, whatever) is actor, director, and playwright.

But to be all that in the theater of the court, you've got to be bold. So, yes, you have to be unafraid to lose. But you damn well have to want to win.

And you have to believe you will and should win.

Houston DWI Attorney Paul B. Kennedy, said...

Thank you for your comment. I couldn't agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

For any lawyer chess fans who have not already seen it, Nakamura's bold style was on display 3 days ago in Amsterdam where, despite vomiting at least once during the game to due illness (fortunately, away from the chess board), he came away with the following beautiful victory:

[Event "NH Chess Tournament"]
[Site "Amsterdam"]
[Date "2009-08-22"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Beliavsky"]
[Black "Nakamura"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2662"]
[BlackElo "2710"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Nd2 Ne8 10. b4 f5 11. c5 Nf6 12. f3 f4 13. Nc4 g5 14. a4 Ng6 15. Ba3 Rf7 16. a5 h5 17. b5 dxc5 18. b6 g4 19. bxc7 Rxc7 20. Nb5 g3 21. Nxc7 Nxe4 22. Ne6 Bxe6 23. dxe6 gxh2 24. Kxh2 Qh4 25. Kg1 Ng3 26. Bxc5 e4 27. Ra4 Rc8 28. Bxa7 b5 29. Rb4 bxc4 30. Bxc4 Qh1 31. Kf2 e3 32. Bxe3 fxe3 33. Kxe3 Nxf1 34. Bxf1 Qg1 0-1

Houston DWI Attorney Paul B. Kennedy, said...

Unfortunately I can't offer you a proper thanks for the information because you posted your comment anonymously.

Anonymous said...

I have never been afraid to lose, which is good because Lord knows I have plenty of practice at losing. But in a courtroom, if we lose, we are not the ones that pay the consequences: its the clients. And when you are representing someone whom you really believe is innocent, its the scariest thing in the world. I would love to try every case and I am prepared to lose big, or as I like to say, if you are going to go down, go down in flames. But when clients see that offer of deferred, they don't want to take the risk. Can't say I blame them.

Houston DWI Attorney Paul B. Kennedy, said...

Thanks for the comment. I think having an innocent client is the hardest position to be in, too, because anything short of an acquittal or dismissal is an absolute failure.