What will be new with you in 2008?

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo

A friend of mine made an interesting remark the other day. He said that he read somewhere - I recall he mentioned a book by Deepak Chopra, a physician trained in western medicine but now practising the ancient system of health care called "Ayurveda" which is native to the Indian subcontinent - that the human mind thinks as much as 60,000 thoughts per day; but of this number, 95% are the same thoughts that the mind had the other day.I was thinking that this may be true because people are said to be creatures of patterns and habits; doing or thinking today what we did or thought of yesterday make us comfortable and avoid unpleasant surprises.

But the implication to me is that, if that's true, then there is very little evolution, very little progress and development going on, since there is only 5% new thoughts entering our minds. But of course, since we control what we think (or so I presume), we can always train ourselves to put more new thoughts into our mind, not limiting it to this 5%.

That will be true of our skills as a litigator as well. So, in 2008, what new skills do you want to acquire as a litigator?

One area we can always improve on, or acquire new skills in, is in our research ability. Can we make it more effective and resourceful, using more research tools such as the internet? Can we improve on our skill to relate the facts of our cases, the precedents, the legal authorities from a variety of sources, to reach legally sound conclusions?

Or, in our English writing or drafting ability: Can we make our final product more accurate, clear, precise, logical and well-organized? Can we make our writing plainer, using language that even a layman can understand? Can we make our briefs really brief and not the long-winded novel that we usually write or encounter in appeals?

Let's pull out some of our work products last year and do a self-evaluation in the above areas of research and drafting ability. Let's grade our performance last year and rate them from 1 to 5, 1 being failed and 5 being excellent. Then let's make a goal of getting a 5 in them by the end of 2008.