Gray Hair and The Gift of Age | Teach Them What You Know
- June 18, 2021 - Legal Advocacy,
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. I’m the “gray hair” of our law firm. Proverbs says that “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
I like that. It’s good to have some splendor to go with the gray hair. It’s also good to have strength that goes with our younger lawyers. Brian Geremia, Sarah Cullen, Dave Jones, and Heath Langle certainly provide that.
I like stories. That’s pretty clear from our YouTube channel. There are a lot of stories in our videos. This is another. A little different. Inspired by music.
I like all kinds of music. As a part of this we’ve been giving away a new guitar every few months to one of our subscribers in a giveaway contest. This is a pleasure. It’s our gift to music. We don’t view it as a cost.
Songs are often a source of inspiration for me. You probably have experienced this. You hear a song, and it just seems to capture a mood, sense, or feeling in your life. So, this is about Vince Gill’s song, “Young Man’s Town.” Vince says that it’s one of his favorites.
Its lyrics include, “we’ve got to face it, it’s a young man’s town, I knew this day was comin’ all along. So why bitch and moan and say they done you wrong. Just teach them what you know and pass it on down.”
In an interview, Vince explained that his song was commenting on a “gracious way to pass the baton” to a younger generation without bitterness. The song strikes me in so many ways. I love the idea to “teach them what you know and pass it down.”
This is part of the reason that we’ve videoed, published, and provided nearly 700 videos over the last five years. My desire to teach motivated me to write, publish and widely share my two books about protecting America’s elders.
Those close to me know that I don’t just want us at Hackard Law to be good lawyers. I want us to be great lawyers. To do this we must learn from great lawyers. We do this.
It’s something that I first learned from a great lawyer. His name was Peter Behr. He was the son of Karl Behr, a survivor of the sinking of the SS Titanic. He was a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School. He served in the California State Senate from 1970 to 1978. I worked for him as part of the Senate Fellows Program in 1975.
Some called him the conscience of the Senate. I think he was. He was also a terrific conservationist. He authored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1972. This act was designed to protect and preserve certain California rivers and their immediate environments. This protection is focused on those rivers with extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values.
Senator Behr always wanted better. For our country, our environment, and our people. He shared with me a practice that he’d embraced from the time he was a young man. He told me that when faced with a unique problem, he would call the most knowledgeable person in the country about the problem. He sought their advice. He said that it really worked.
I practiced what he taught me. Over the years I’ve reached out to some of America’s most prominent statesmen, entrepreneurs, authors, and lawyers. Most are complimented by my call and the recognition of their distinction. Some aren’t, but that’s okay. The helpful far outnumber the unhelpful.
Hackard Law in June 2021, almost post Covid, is a different law firm than it was in 2019 – clearly pre-Covid. I took to heart the March 2020 advice of a nationally known business professor. The important thing in a crisis is to commit to come out of it stronger than you were when entering it. I made this a law firm imperative.
In early 2020 we were a trust, estate, and elder financial abuse litigation law firm. We still are. But we’re different.
COVID shut down courts. Delayed depositions. Erased trial dates. We decided to become different. We surely had the time to do so. We thought about the nature of our litigation practice.
Estate and trust cases were usually tried in probate courts with judge or bench trials. Financial elder abuse cases were tried in civil courts with jury trials. Getting to trial quickly in bench or jury trials during COVID was impossible. Realities changed.
Depositions would be remote, recorded, and recalibrated. We had the dawning awareness that deposition is trial. I applied Senator Behr’s advice given to me five decades ago. I reached out to a great lawyer, Roger Dodd.
Roger wrote a book about this – Cross-Examination for Depositions. We got to know Roger. We applied his lessons to our practice. These lessons, along with others, transformed us.
We now hire a great plaintiff’s jury consultant early in our lawsuits. We prepare a focused event chronology. We formulate, understand, and expand upon the rules that apply to the circumstances of our client’s case. Our discovery processes are more sophisticated – more timely – more focused.
We use, follow, and apply Roger Dodd’s constructive cross-examination techniques. Our trial preparation includes the regular use of online mock juries. We use these trials to help us determine case value, develop case themes, and identify the facts critical to our case success. We know that what juries think is far more important than what we lawyers think.
We want to get beyond our own limitations. One of my own limitations is age. I know that I don’t have the youthful energy to grind through a hotly disputed jury trial. I don’t. But our Hackard Law lawyers do.
I’ve got the spirit to teach our team and others who reach out to us what I know and pass it down. This is one of the gifts of age. There are many others.
At Hackard Law we are committed to using our many years of estate and trust litigation experience to help abused trust and estate beneficiaries and heirs.
If you’d like to speak with us about your case, call us today at: (916) 313-3030.
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