The late Jess Green, Esq., was a legal phenomenon, a respected national practitioner who, counterintuitively, operated from a home base in little, remote Ada, Oklahoma. Prior to his passing, he shared the precepts and principles that had informed his phenomenally successful legal career. They are worth considering by any practitioner or law student.
“If a client runs out of money to pay you, keep plugging away on their matter. Never quit. It is your reputation at stake.”
“As you get older, you will get better at selecting clients.”
“Target the group[s] you want to represent, make sure they know who you are, then represent them with vigor.”
“Never allow yourself to be outworked.”
“Treat every case as if it were going to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“Always be prepared.”
“You must ‘leach’ the accurate facts out of your clients.”
“Tell your clients what realistically is likely to happen.”
“You must discipline your clients in order to arrive at a settlement.”
“Show that you have a passion for the work. Life gets a lot better if you can find a place where you can exercise your passion.”
“I don’t consider what I do to be work.”
“Take ownership of both the problem and the solution.”
“Understand everyone else’s motivation—put yourself in the other side’s shoes.”
“When you encounter a judge who does not like you and holds against you . . . appeal. Judges hate their decisions being appealed. By about the third time you have appealed a particular judge, s/he will have changed his or her attitude, knuckle under and treat you fairly.”
“Keep cognizant of the public relations aspect of everything you are doing.”
“God bless people for making mistakes—that’s why we have jobs.”
“Have a good time.”
Jess Green had a great time practicing law. He focused the majority of his career and practice on representing Indian casinos and spin-off businesses while also advocating for opening the doors to the economic opportunities generated by them. It is not too much of a stretch to proclaim that Green was one of the fathers of the Indian gaming phenomenon.
You can read more about Jess and other small-town lawyers who made their mark in Practicing Law in Small-Town America, by the author, available from http://shopABA.org.