Fill your bowl to the brim,

and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife,

and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security,

and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people's approval,

and you will be their prisoner.


Do your work, then step back...the only path to serenity.

-Lao Tzu

Attorneys are not machines; they're human beings. They can get just as ground down by the stress and drama of a lawsuit as their clients...if they allow it. However, a well-balanced attorney avoids the emotional maelstrom and just does his best, then steps back. This truly is the only path to serenity, for attorneys and non-attorneys alike. A client might wonder, shouldn't my attorney be as emotionally invested in my legal issue as me? Isn't that his job? The long answer is . . . no. This would make him infinitely less effective.

Viewed in another context: a dispassionate, efficient, competent surgeon, scalpel in hand, is infinitely more effective in surgery than an emotionally invested, shaky-handed family member. Cool heads prevail in the practice of law, just as in the practice of medicine.

A good attorney is emotionally balanced. He doesn't sharpen his blade till it blunts. He uses the same blade over and over again without ever having to sharpen it. 

- M. Chappell