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MARATHONS AND TRIALS – Cary Ichter, Partner, Ichter Davis LLC

Whether you are getting ready for a trial or a marathon, you cannot go in blind. To achieve your goals requires preparation, dedication, and skill. As a trial lawyer and runner, I discovered many similarities in the process.

Know what you are expected to accomplish. If you are running 26.2 miles or gathering persuasive support for your positions and arguments, you must know what you want the end result to look like. Creating a plan and being prepared to execute that plan is similar in both situations.

Mental preparation. Marathons not only take a physical toll on your body, but almost every physiological system is challenged by the event. Skeletal, muscle, production of creatinine kinase, and your immune system can be affected by the run. You must prepare for the long haul. Similarly, in litigation, regardless of the case, you always need to be thinking of end game and how you get there. At every step, you have to be thinking about the trial because you don’t get do-overs. If you are not preparing with focus and clarity at all times, you will have gaps that cannot be filled at the last moment.

Preparation. The three keys to preparing for a case and a marathon are the same: preparation, preparation, and preparation. From running shorter lags to long-distance runs, finding that balance in training will ensure that you are psychically prepared. In preparation for a trial, the same is true. You must not only prepare yourself by having an unmatched mastery of the facts and evidence, but you also have to prepare your witnesses and the members of your team.

Time expectations. Marathons are no walk in the park—no pun intended. For an 8-11 minute mile, training paces 3:30 to 5 hours to complete a marathon. In order to endure the pounding and exertion involved, you have to prepare your body by training for months before the event. Similarly, to be ready at trial, after all the foundational work is done, you should plan to spend two full days preparing for every day you will be in trial.

Aftermath. Long runs may induce significant muscle, cellular, and immune system damage for up to 2 weeks after the event. This will require rest to fully recover from the damage caused during the race. Now, a trial may not be as physically strenuous, but the preparation and the stress of being front and center day after day when everything is on the line creates its own unique and exhausting fatigue—not to mention the lack of sleep that can accompany a long trial. Taking care of yourself is key to your health.

Preparing for a marathon and preparing for a trial may not have immediately obvious correlations, however, when it comes down to it, have quite a bit in common. Next time you begin training for a marathon, just consider that law school may be paying off in more ways than one.

For more information call Cary Ichter at (404) 869-7600.

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