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Why they win [part 1]: The Secret.

In a courtroom, Mark Lanier might just be the most dangerous man on earth.

Still shy of his 60th birthday, Mr. Lanier is likely the winningest civil trial lawyer in American history. In the process, he has given the legal world 13 billion reasons to shut up and pay attention.

Over three decades, the Houston-based civil trial lawyer has earned a reputation taking down some of the largest and most well-funded multinational corporations in the world. When they hurt someone--be it medical device, drug, defective product, or through fraud--Mr. Lanier is the last person they should ever want to see on the other side.

In September 2018, the Lanier Trial Academy hosted Master Class 3.0, reinforcing that the process of achieving full and fair justice for our clients is neither simple nor easy. Yet, one fact stands out as setting the mythical Mark Lanier apart from us mere mortals: Deliberate Practice.

For years, Mark has prepared and delivered weekly Sunday sermons to hundreds of parishioners at Champion Forest Baptist Church. This means, outside of traditional legal work, Mark has amassed thousands of hours of regular and consistent public speaking practice using the same time-tested formula that breeds world-class athletes, musicians, and chess grandmasters. Indeed, social science research confirms that this sort of deliberate practice not only leads to greatness, it may even require it.

In 1993, Dr. Anders Ericsson authored one of the seminal pieces on deliberate practice. Later popularized by Malcom Gladwell in his bestseller Outliers, Ericsson’s research explores the critical question: why do some people reach elite status? Despite some criticism of Outliers (as an oversimplification of Ericsson’s work), the fact remains that specific practice, in sufficient quantity, is a clear recipe for success.

Here’s the practical tip I promised: if you are a trial lawyer (or anyone really) and you want to be elite—read this. Its 44 pages. That’s nothing. Truthfully, those 44 pages offer some of the highest ROI on your time. And I just delivered it to you on a silver platter. Okay, back to it…

So, what does deliberate practice look like? At the risk of inheriting the same criticism Gladwell faced, here is a very watered-down version of what to look for:

  1. Write down, in detail, the goals you want to achieve;

  2. Find a teacher or mentor who is at or near the skill level you seek to reach;

  3. Create a plan, with your teacher, incorporating your goals into the plan; and

  4. With your teacher present, practice above your skill level.

Each of these four areas can be broken down to the atomic level. In the next series of posts, we’ll explore some of this detail, focusing on one critical point:


Thanks for reading; join the conversation in the comments below—what did you like and, more importantly (for my own deliberate practice), what didn’t you like? #triallawyer #triallawyers #trialattorney #jurytrial #trialskills #trialadvocacy #trial #skills #learn #win