Learning by watching … on TV

I watch trials. Swing by my office sometime and I’ll likely have a cross-examination or an opening statement streaming live on the flat screen. We pay a pretty penny for a subscription service that lets you watch trials all over the U.S. And there’s good reason.

All my life, when I could watch someone else do what I was trying to learn, I got it in a snap. Sure, you can book learn, but learning by sight was always shockingly quicker. I learned to drive a boat, make a weld, bleed a diesel, and fix a star all by studying someone else do it first. Equally important, I learned how to do things better and more quickly by watching others. I’d like to think it’s a neural short-circuit at work, but it’s likely a genetic imprint of ions past where learning was more showing and doing than telling and listening.

Watching attorneys from across the country make their cases and defend their positions makes for better lawyering. It’s interesting to see what new arguments work and to watch a novel way of organizing an opening statement. It’s sort of like watching game films in preparation for the next kickoff.

Maybe it’s just the wonkish habits of this maritime lawyer, but I suspect we all share a commonality. You don’t study how that shipping exec handled the pestering journalist? You don’t file away how the chief handled the inspecting officer’s questions? Come on, if you’re not adrift then you’re likely learning something new every day. It’s what makes things interesting. It’s what makes us interesting.

Underway and making way.


About the author

John K. Fulweiler

John K. Fulweiler is a licensed mariner and experienced admiralty attorney. He represents individuals and companies throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and has recently taken command of his own maritime law firm. He enjoys navigating the choppy waters of the maritime law, but readily admits to missing life on the water. He can be reached at john@fulweilerlaw.com . His website is www.saltwaterlaw.com.

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