“Now that’s thinking like a lawyer.”
Law professors and attorneys love saying that to students who are learning the law. But what does it really mean to think like a lawyer? Does it mean you have strong analytical skills or that you’re good at making and countering arguments?
Let’s take a look at defense attorney Arthur Aidala who is representing NFL hall-of-famer Lawrence Taylor on rape charges. I know, it’s not the nicest of cases to be using as an example on my blawg but Mr. Aidala does a hell of a job of dancing around questions posed by the Fox News reporter about the charges and allegations against the retired NFL great
(interview starts at minute 1:15).
What you will notice is that Mr. Aidala is answering questions that anticipate his defense of Mr. Taylor.
"What happened in that hotel room?"
Mr. Aidala responds by saying that he doesn't want to focus on what happened but rather on what did NOT happen. That after all is the burden the court system will place on Mr. Taylor-- it is not the defense's burden to prove what happened but rather to create doubt surrounding what ALLEGEDLY happened. For that reason, Mr. Aidala, when giving his answers, is focusing on the facts that are most favorable to his client in countering the 3rd degree rape charge.
It's easy to see where he's going with the argument, right? "There was no sexual intercourse!" It's not his job to prove that Mr. Taylor was not in the hotel room with the girl or that there was no sexual contact. It's his burden to undermine the statutory rape charge-- which means disproving that sexual intercourse occurred.
Mr. Aidala is indeed "thinking like a lawyer." He may not win any humanitarian awards for his defense of Mr. Taylor, but he's certainly doing his job.