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Where’s the Brief? 15 Years of Practicing Law

Fifteen years ago today I received my law license. My father (pictured above) sponsored my admission and Judge Richard Yuille of the Genesee County Circuit Court presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

I still remember my first assignment as an attorney. My colleague, Tom Murray, asked me to draft a motion, which I did in earnest. When I returned the work product, he asked “where’s the brief?” I said, “you didn’t ask me to draft a brief.” Little did I know that all motions had to be accompanied by a brief if they present an issue of law. That was my first of many lessons not learned in law school.

Later, someone told me I would not feel comfortable practicing law until my fifth year. I suppose that was not completely wrong but, frankly, I never want to feel too confident. I always want to feel like there's more to learn, because there is. That’s why continuing education classes are a priority in my practice.

To any new attorneys who might be reading this, if you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, great. It’s good to feel uncomfortable. But gain confidence by teaming up with more experienced attorneys, doing your own research, avoiding stale or recycled work product, asking to argue the motion or appeal, joining your local bar association and committees, and of course, reading the court rules (so you know to include briefs with your motions).

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