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What Trial Lawyers Can Learn From the World's Best Drummer

Ken Lopez
By: Ken Lopez

Litigation Graphics, Litigation Consulting, Trial Consulting, Litigation Support, Jury Consultants, Trial Preparation, Practice

My Facebook feed lit up this week after the passing of 67-year-old drummer Neil Peart of the band Rush. Suddenly, mild-mannered middle-aged friends were pouring their hearts out over the loss of a drummer who was at the height of his popularity some 35 years ago.

For many of my friends and indeed for me (someone who likes playing drums but is not particularly liked by others when he plays), he was the best of the best - the G.O.A.T of the drumming world. Neil Peart forever changed the way other drummers performed and even thought about how to approach a drum set.

Why should trial lawyers (who didn't happen to come of age in suburban America or Canada in the early 1980s) care at all?

A quote in Peart's Rolling Stone obituary is what jumped out at me because it demonstrates a way of thinking that is useful for trial lawyers and drummers alike: 

“What is a master but a master student?” Peart told Rolling Stone in 2012. “There’s a responsibility on you to keep getting better.”

Here, Peart was talking about why he started working with a drum coach/instructor relatively late in his career -- even after he was widely considered the best drummer in the world. To people who work with the world's best anything, whether that's athletes, actors, or trial lawyers, this kind of thinking is not surprising.

In our field, rules of professional responsibility speak to this concept of continuous improvement, but I don't think that's why the very best push themselves to be better. The reasoning for why is circular, but I think it's true: the best are the best because they seek feedback about how to be the best, and this loop never ends.

When the best trial lawyers in the world (and those who aspire to be) work with A2L (or someone like us), they benefit not just from jury consulting and litigation graphics services, but they also benefit from working with similarly accomplished trial lawyers called litigation consultants -- a term we first started using in the 1990s. We have written about this concept of trial lawyers supporting other trial lawyers in articles like:

When Peart wrote the obituary for his coach, he paraphrased a foundational message from his coach, and that message rang very familiar to me. It sounds a lot like the message the trial lawyers on our team deliver to other trial lawyers who hire us.

"You've been doing what you do for a long time, so it obviously works. Don't mess with that. Consider my suggestions as options."

And there it is -- firms like ours and people like us present already successful trial lawyers with options. It's part of the reason those trial lawyers outperform their peers. Whether an athlete, musician, or litigator, if you seek to be the best, seek and listen to options. It's what the very best always do.

Here is a good Neil Peart tribute piece that already has millions of views on YouTube:


Other A2L articles and free resources about storytelling, coaching, and litigation consulting include:

A2L Consulting's Storytelling for Litigators 3rd Ed E-book


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