Four Things Lawyers Can Learn from Weight Lifters

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Personal Productivity for Lawyers

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I am far from a professional powerlifter. In fact, I’m light years away from even being an amateur powerlifter. But I still spend about three hours in the gym every week, almost without fail. I’ve had several minor injuries but bounced back each time. From each injury and failed lift I’ve learned things that are just as applicable to the practice of law as they are to lifting heavy things off the ground.

Always Be Prepared

A few weeks ago I forgot which workout I was scheduled to do that day. So I wore shorts to the gym. Big mistake. I was doing deadlifts that day, which involve keeping the bar as close to your shins as possible when lifting it off the ground. For me, that often means scraping them against my legs. As a result, I ended up with some nice leg bruises that day. If I had been prepared with the right “equipment” this would not have been an issue.

Similarly, showing up to court or a meeting without the necessary files/documents/exhibits etc. can be very bad. Now I prepare for my work days the same as my lifting days. I look at my calendar to see what’s on the agenda, and run through a mental check list of everything I need. Then I double check my iPad to make sure I have all the files that I need synced up.

Practice Makes Perfect

You may think you know how to squat. But you’re probably doing at least part of the lift wrong. If you’re like me, you don’t go down low enough and you let your upper body bend forward too much. So you practice. You practice with the empty bar or light weights and film yourself so you can see where the errors are and how to fix them.

I use this same technique for oral argument and presentations. I don’t just assume I’m going to do it right. I practice again and again and sometimes film myself to see where I’m messing up. Of course it never makes me actually perfect, but it helps.

Early Preparation Pays off Later

If you put in work in the gym now, it pays off later. Start with low weights and build slowly, and you can make some serious gains. The volume early on can lead to bigger lifts down the road, after you’ve had time to practice form and technique.

This couldn’t apply more to the practice of law. Think about the last time you had to rush and get ready for court. Inevitably you forget something. Or miss a critical fact. Worst of all, in a last minute rush to prepare you could forget about (or not find) a critical case on the issue. That lack of early planning could be your client’s downfall.

There is No One Way to Do Things

If you get a dozen fitness experts in a room and ask them the best way to eat and train in order to slim down or bulk up, you will likely get a dozen different answers. Everyone has their own approach. Eat carbs or don’t eat carbs. Six small meals a day or eat within a small feeding window. High intensity circuit training versus large complex barbell movements. Each methodology has its own strengths and weaknesses. I used to jump around from program to program, but I finally know how I like to train so I enjoy it and see results. Some folks may disagree with my programming, but just as many probably do something similar.

Here at Lawyerist we offer a lot of tips, tricks, and opinions on running a law practice. We talk about using the cloud or keeping everything local, going paperless or not, Mac vs. PC, brick and mortar office or virtual, and so forth and so on. But none of the writers here know your practice. No one article will apply to everyone. Find what works for you and your practice and stick to it. But don’t stick to it just for the sake of it. Hate scanning things and want to keep paper files? Go for it. Want to work from home and ditch the brick and mortar office? Give it a shot. Like those dozen nutritionists, nobody can know the perfect formula for you. It’s just going to take trial and error.

(image: Muscular guy doing exercises with dumbbell against a brick wall via <a href=”http://shutterstock.com” rel=_nofollow”>Shutterstock.com)

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  • Mark

    I am thinking about hiring a paralegal to do all my heavy lifting.