Stupid is as stupid does . . . not

From The Uncivil Litigator, a mid-level associate at a law firm of a certain size, a speech that is remarkably similar to one that I occasionally give to my students: "Don't be afraid to look stupid. The fact is that when you're a new associate, you are stupid. And the quicker you understand this concept, the smarter other people will know you are. I realize this is difficult for some people to accept, probably because I'm using "stupid" very liberally. It's not that you're actually stupid from an intellectual point of view, it's just that you're ignorant of the actual realities of how to litigate a case. Therefore, don't make assumptions, and if you're clueless about something, it's better that you risk "looking stupid" (which the partner already knows you are) by asking a partner to help you, than to continue on your course of stupidity and actually harm your client and your firm."


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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