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152 – Odalys Lopez – How to Develop Attorney Skills and Mindset in Your Law Firm

Once you start getting big results, then people give you more opportunities to do bigger cases. But as a new lawyer, how do you begin getting big results?

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen welcomes Odalys Lopez, an up-and-coming lawyer at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, who shares insights on being a new lawyer. 

Tune in as Michael and Odalys discuss the firm’s strategies to develop lawyers, including doing “workdays” on cases, attorney development meetings, and 3pm trainings on Fridays. The conversation also covers how to alleviate clients’ nerves before defending depositions, why you should treat the truck driver on the other side of the case with respect (rather than hostility) to serve your case better, and why Michael started the tradition of having a celebratory dinner at trial the night before closing.  

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Odalys Lopez

About: Odalys is an associate attorney at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She joined the firm in December of 2021.

Odalys was born and raised in Mission, Texas. She first moved to San Antonio to obtain her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from St. Mary’s University in December of 2017. Odalys chose to stay at St. Mary’s to attend St. Mary’s School of Law, graduating Cum Laude in May of 2021.

While in law school, Odalys interned at an insurance defense firm, giving her a unique and valuable perspective on Cowen Rodriguez Peacock cases. She also served as a student attorney for the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Center for Legal and Social Justice, where she provided pro bono representation to community members.

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock

Connect: LinkedIn  

Episode Highlights 

[01:45] Getting to know Odalys: Odalys graduated from law school in 2021 and shares what it was like to work on her first trial as a “baby lawyer” a few months after starting at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock.

[05:13] Celebratory dinner at trial the night before closing: So many lawyers get burned out with trial work. The hard part is that while we can control what we put in–preparation, skillset–we don’t control the outcome. That’s why Michael likes to celebrate “the fact that we are blessed with being able to do this, that we’re going to have fun, we’re going to enjoy it, and then we’re going to let the jury take care of the rest.” 

[09:48] Takeaways from defending depositions: Odalys shares that clients tend to be very nervous in these depositions, so confidence is key. Prepare clients to take pauses, focus on understanding the questions, and take breaks.

[18:58] Previewing the Big Rig Bootcamp: From telematics to working with a real expert and putting on a direct exam, the Big Rig Bootcamp is not just talking about theory. Michael and the team will show you what visuals to use, how to prep the expert, how to get the expert to testify, and more. 

[26:05] First lawyer in the family: Odalys credits her parents, discipline, and hard work for allowing her to graduate college, law school, and become a lawyer. 

[29:00] Respect the truck driver on the other side of the case: Most truck drivers are good people just trying to make a living in difficult circumstances. Empathy, rather than hostility, towards the truck driver will serve your case better. If you want to get behind the wheel of a truck, there’s a program through the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.

[32:03] Dive deep into the case: The firm does a “workday” on some cases. It’s a time to turn off your ringer, turn off your email, and get into a room with a group of people and brainstorm each other’s cases to help one another. 

[35:00] Have attorney development meetings to stay on track: These professional development meetings are a chance to go through goals with attorneys, give feedback, and are also a chance for the attorneys to give feedback as well.

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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

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