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Friday, November 14, 2014

HOW FOOTBALL HAS MADE ME A BETTER LAWYER – it seems like just yesterday I was dropping Christian, my oldest son, off at football camp in the sweltering July sun.  And today, he will take the field for the last time as a member of the Don Bosco Prep Freshman Football game as they take on St. Joseph’s Academy.  It has been a GREAT season, and the bonds formed on and off the field will last a lifetime.  But since this is the Mrs. Lo Blog, not my kids’ Blog, let’s talk about MY football season.  Here is one concrete thing I can take away from the indescribable joy that has been “my” Football season at one of the nation’s top football high schools:  it has made me a better Lawyer.

            Let me explain.  I have always represented a lot of men clients.  In the past, I found myself struggling to explain certain concepts to some of my clients, as my Go-To analogies were either from Power-Shopping (“It’s like seeing a pair of Louboutins on sale for half-off, of course you’re going to go for it and think about the consequences later.”) – or cooking (“It’s like like making bread, we have to be patient, and wait for it to rise.”)  Legal concepts are difficult.  Having been a lawyer for 24 years, I can say without hesitation that a good lawyer relies heavily on analogies  to break down complex legal concepts and make them relate-able for clients.  And the more my son played football, the more I found that football analogies were coming to me quite naturally.  And now, they are a staple.   
            When a client asks me where we stand, I might explain that, “We are at fourth and goal, so there’s not a lot margin for error.  But we have the clock on our side and your QB is a lot smarter and faster than the other team’s.”  (That’s right, in my analogies, I am always QB1!)
            Sometimes, I am making progress, let’s say preparing for trial, and a client will wander off conversationally on some tangent.  “Listen,” I might say, “We are up by a touchdown right now but today is Sunday and you know what that means?” (Of course, they do, it means Any Given Sunday, or anything can happen).  “Exactly.  So you need to focus on getting the ball into the End Zone, and stop looking up at the brand new shiny Jumbo-tron Scoreboard.”  (“Got it, Coach,” my clients will say jokingly, but they DO get it.)
            Or a client will ask if I read a certain report related to their trial, let’s say a monetary valuation of an asset, and want to know if it’s good or bad.  “Let’s put it this way, the season’s winding down, you came into the game with a sprained hamstring, a couple of broken fingers and a concussion.  This report is one more broken finger, but it’s not like you broke a rib.  It’s not a season-ender.”  I can practically see the lightbulbs going off over their head.
            The more I used football analogies, the more I believed that I really had a gift.  So I tried using my analogies in everyday life.  Like at Price Chopper.  Perhaps not as well as when the game is on the line and I’m under pressure to come up with good analogies.
“This butter sale is like Draft Day,” I said proudly to a Price Chopper cashier recently, “and every box is like a Heisman Trophy winner.” 
The cashier looked at me in a puzzled way.  “So do you want the butter or not?” 
            “Just stop, Mom,”  my patient but mildly irritated son would say, “Please stop with the football analogies, you can’t use them everywhere you go.”
            I guess not.  The bottom line is some concepts are complex and analogies, metaphors and allegories are helpful.  But plenty of concepts are simple (like butter being on sale) and there’s no need to jam everyone up with a sports analogy.  Keep it simple, it’s another lesson to live by.

        Have a great day, everyone, and, as always remember to Count Your Blessings!  <3 Mrs. Lo … AND GO IRONMEN!  For more of the Mrs. Lo Blog, visit; www.LoBiondo.org.  To visit our Community page on Facebook, go to www.Facebook.com/LoBiondoLaw