romothesavior wrote:Okay now you lost me. If you think most lawyers are equally good at the "A" in practice, you must be spending your time around shit lawyers.
Maybe I should rephrase that.
It probably does depend on the practice area.
But also, I think a lot of cases actually get settled or sent to ADR before the "A" part becomes necessary. For settlements, it's mostly the "I" that's important. You basically have to 1) draft a complaint that survives motion to dismiss, which is heavily "I" and some "R" for stuff like jurisdiction, 2) go through discovery, which is mostly canned, snarky motions/requests copied/pasted together from previous stuff, and even then, if there is something for the lawyer to do other than copy n' paste like spot violations of the discovery rules or recognize privileged information, it's pretty much all "I," and so is going through documents/depo transcripts/interrogatories, and 3) settle. The only time you would get to use a lot of "A" is if you get to the MSJ stage, which may or may not happen, but I think most attorneys are able to do the "A" part well enough to bring attention to the right facts to the judge, and these motions are often a lot of boilerplate anyway. And most judges I think pretty much look at the facts and do their own "A" irrespective of the parties' motions. It's not totally irrelevant, but I still say the "I" part is far more important. Probably the most important decision you make is whether to take a case or leave it, and that's all "I."
But I guess that's coming from a plaintiff-side perspective. From a defense standpoint, "I" is still the most important for looking for ways to get the case thrown out procedurally, spotting defenses, and evaluating total damages involved so you know whether it's worth the risk to fight it or if you should settle. Not that A is not important, it's just that the big decisions/fuck-ups come from fucking up the "I". Spotting the "I" and muddling through the "A" on a brief is 10x better than missing the I in the first place. I'd take a lawyer that's ridiculously good and detail-oriented about the I any day over someone who's a master at the "A".
I suppose if you're in area of law where jurisdictional battles are more common, there might be more complex motions required to remove/transfer/remand, etc., and for that, "A" is probably more helpful. It's probably also different for transactional attorneys, but even stuff like contract drafting is a lot of boilerplate. It's definitely different for people who do appellate work.
Being good at the "A" part helps you impress your bosses by writing kickass memos mostly. Which I suppose makes you a better attorney if it helps your boss make better decisions. But also, probably half the memos you write aren't on issues essential to the case--and instead on whatever random paranoia that recently popped into your boss' head that he or she wants you to "check on" to keep you busy/bill hours. Either that, or they're on stuff that opposing counsel simply made up and you have to research it just to "make sure" that it's bullshit.
I mean, I still see poorly written stuff going around, but it's mostly because lawyers can't write. Also, the "A" that impresses judges is different from the "A" that gets you points on a law exam.