The Goal is Not Perfection

Fort Worth, Texas – Peter Smythe © 2019

Fort Worth, Texas – Peter Smythe © 2019

Often it's good to be reminded of what the purpose of practicing law is all about. It's not perfection that counts, but persuasion. Below are some good quotes about perfection versus persuasion:

The persuasive style requires two qualities: clearness and simplicity. If it is lacking in either of these it fails to persuade. (Demetrius Phalereus, On Style)

If all the blunders of clever advocates were to be told, the student would come to the conclusion that practice makes us most imperfect; and that the art is more calculated to benumb the faculties than to quicken them. No one is more conscious of his faults than he who commits the fewest. One thing is certain: Advocacy never can be mastered; and the most we can do is to learn a little and unlearn a great deal. (Richard Harris, Hints on Advocacy)

[T]here are many good briefs that don't win cases, and assuredly there are poor ones (including some exceptionally poor ones) that do. But a brief that didn't win, however close to perfection it may have come, just wasn't an effective brief. . . . [I]t didn't persuade the court . . . ." (Frederick B. Wiener, Briefing and Arguing Federal Appeals)