After a recent appearance in federal court, Virtual Office New York lawyer, Vivian Sobers, realized she no longer gets nervous.
I was in federal court the other day for a settlement conference.
Before the actual conference, I took the time to properly prepare. It happened to be one of my bigger cases, and part of doing the conference involved an oral argument to support my position.
The conference ended up getting adjourned (opposing counsel did not show), but I noticed something had been missing that day…fear.
I used to be very nervous at every court appearance.
In the beginning of my solo practice, it was incredibly nerve racking when I appeared before a judge. I was fresh out of law school and my adversaries were mostly seasoned professionals.
This nervousness came about frequently. I could feel the energy of the the room full of other lawyers, who I knew were listening to my arguments and analyzing every step I made. At least it felt that way.
Conveying even the simplest information made me nervous. My voice would crack even when I was just saying my name or the date!
I was insecure about my skills back then, and the eyeballs staring at the back of my head made my hands shake.
Remembering my first court appearance.
I will never forget my first oral argument.
The case was a per diem appearance on behalf of debt collectors in Rockland County, New York. It couldn’t have been more than a $10,000 case.
When my case got called, while standing before the judge I had to press my hands on the table in front of me to keep them from shaking. They ended up being sweaty instead, which I find preferable to trembling.
Comparing that experience to my most recent case in federal court, the difference is amazing.
This is a high stakes, high value case. And I was okay. I was more than okay.
While waiting for the case to be called, I was just reviewing in my head what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.
But my hands weren’t shaking. I wasn’t queasy, or worried about who was looking at me. I almost didn’t notice.
Before this appearance, I have never not considered courtroom jitters in some way. They had lessened over the past two years, but they were still there.
Time makes a difference.
I seem to have gotten past my own insecurity.
Looking back, each case was a building block to making the next appearance easier and boost my overall confidence.
It has been a long journey from the day I had to practically stand on my hands to keep them from shaking.
I suppose when you’re so busy running a solo law practice it can be easy to lose track of the fun parts about being a lawyer. This was one of them.
I was a nice feeling to notice that moment of growth.
Gaining confidence in court is just one way to improve your practice.
Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.