When you’re trying to win a personal injury case, it can often feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, especially in North Carolina. Attorney Lea Keller is an experienced fighter both in the courtroom and in the ring. She has picked up some lessons in her time fighting and wants to share them with you in the hope that you will be inspired to keep fighting even when life throws you a punch you weren’t expecting.
A lot of people in our industry like to talk about fighting for their clients or generally talk about being a fighter. I would be willing to bet not many of those that talk about it have ever actually set foot inside a competitive fighting ring. I have. More times than I can count. Let me give you a little bit of insight into the lessons I learned in the ring.
By way of a little back story, I grew up doing martial arts in the DMV (the D.C, Maryland, and Virginia area, for those that have never seen the initials used that way). I traveled up and down the east coast competing in national tournaments for most of my preteen and teen years. I had the greatest coach in the world, Michael Tull. He was like a dad to me growing up, and I still consider him and his family to be my family. Like most serious martial artists, he believes that the study of martial arts is much more than learning about combat and self-defense, it’s a philosophy that you live by. He teaches his students much more than punches and kicks. I often think about what I learned both training and competing.
Never be outworked – hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
I was not a natural athlete when I started competing at nine years old. I was a pudgy, clumsy kid. BUT, I wanted it bad. I put hours and hours and hours of time into training to get to the level where I could compete against just about anyone they put in front of me. No girls showed up for the tournament? Fine, I’ll fight the boys. Being prepared brought me confidence. It taught me that if you put in enough work, you can do pretty much anything. That philosophy hasn’t failed me once. Through law school, through studying for the bar, through learning how to practice law, through learning how to run a firm.
It’s all about being willing to put in the work.
Know what works for you. This works in two ways. First, you can’t watch someone else fight and just try to be like them. You have to take what YOU are good at and make it work for you in the ring. You can learn from every single person you spar with or watch – but you have to develop your own style with your own skill set. In my practice, I have learned from every lawyer that has ever crossed my path, but I am my own kind of lawyer and I do things in my own way. I always hope that by being my authentic self and not trying to fit in another lawyer’s suit, I will make a client feel at ease with me. Most people say I’m not really a typical lawyer and that works for me.
The second reason it is important to know what works for you is because, then, you can develop it. Once, a comment was overheard while watching me fight – “She just does the same thing a lot.” Yep. And I won that match, too. There’s no reason to pull out every kick you’ve ever learned if you know what works for you. Plus, when you work on something so long and you know how to execute it just right, it’s often going to bring you the win. This is why I (and all the lawyers in our firm) focus our practice on one practice area. We want to be so practiced that we know how to handle each file just right and bring the client the win.
Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face. This lesson is about both fortitude and the ability to adapt. Anyone that steps in the ring has to be willing to take hits and stand back up. You have to be able to cope with and learn from losses and come back better. Fortitude is defined as courage in the face of pain or adversity.
Nothing builds fortitude like being kicked in the face early in the fight and knowing you still have to not only finish it – but try and win it.
It works the same way in the practice of law. Personal injury cases in North Carolina are tough. There are a lot of moving parts in a claim and a lot of things stacked against an injured person. No matter how many hits the case takes, you have to finish the fight and try to win it.
While we talked about doing what you know works, fights are unpredictable. When you get hit, you have to be able to adapt. You have to know how to change your strategy and pull out the win. Similarly, cases are often unpredictable. Sometimes you get a medical record you didn’t expect, or something just doesn’t go your way. You can’t just throw the case out the window. You have to pick up the pieces and try to find a way to win it anyway.
Attorney Lea Keller
Let Us Fight for You
If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you don’t have to go into the ring alone. Experienced fighter and Managing Attorney Lea Keller is here to be your champion and fight for you. We’ll lace up and step into the ring, helping you seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering. Contact us today to get your free case review.