When Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker celebrated his team’s victory in game 1 of the 2022 World Series, he did so before the game was over, bragging to the TV announcer how rare it is to joke and laugh during a game. Dusty Baker was convinced his invincible team had won the game. But the last laugh went to the Philadelphia Phillies, who roared back from the 5-0 deficit and won, removing the smile and the happiness from Dusty Baker’s face.
The manager’s shortlived joy is an allegory for life, business, law and how to succeed, topics Havertown attorney Daniel J. Siegel discusses in the latest edition of The Legal Tech Podcast. Attorney Siegel highlights the importance of preparation and of never assuming victory until the last out is recorded, or whatever result you desire occurs. Listen as Dan Siegel explains his philosophy for success, one honed for decades while representing clients in every level of court in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to cases in front of District Justices.
The Legal Tech Podcast is sponsored by Integrated Technology Services, LLC and the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC.
Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the Legal Tech podcast, sponsored by the law offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC and Integrated Technology Services, LLC. I'm Dan Siegel, and I'm the principal of the law offices of Daniel J. Siegel and president of Integrated Technology Services. We're here today to talk about success, or some of the keys to success based upon the World Series. While I am a Phillies fan and have always been devoted to my hometown team. There was something unusual in the World Series that spurred me to realize that the World Series and how it was managed in game one by Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker. Is really an allegory for how to succeed in any business. Including the law. And how I have used some of those lessons in a way that perhaps could have benefited Dusty Baker in that first game. Of course, I really didn't want him or his team to benefit. But still, how he managed his team in game one on October 28 really did make a mark on me. Let me explain. A couple of years ago, I was preparing to argue a case in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The case addressed issues relating to serious injuries to a college athlete and related to topics that were in the press and somewhat timely in light of the nature of the injuries to our client. Well, when I was preparing to argue the case, a colleague of mine and I had lunch, and it turned out that he had just had lunch a couple of days earlier with another attorney who happened to be my opposing counsel. He said to me, Dan, I don't know if you know, but your opposing counsel is politically connected and in addition, is a high powered lawyer. I, who had argued numerous cases in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, replied, well, I appreciate learning that, but the reality is I'm going to prepare my case my way. And I'm not really concerned with who the other attorney is, because I have to do my best every time. Part of doing my best means preparing. Part of doing my best means preparing in a way that I am ready for any question or any likely question or issue that could come up during the oral argument. Preparing also means that I have to know my case inside and out. Preparing also means that when I appear before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or any other court that not only am I ready to handle whatever questions or issues arise, but I am confident that I can do so while also recognizing that nothing matters until we get that final result. In other words, I can do as well as I can, but only winning gets me the final result that really matters to my clients and therefore to me. My clients don't care if I'm good. They don't care if I'm prepared. They care that being good and being prepared leads to a result that is a victory for whatever their position is. But it also means not being cocky. It means that I should not ever, ever, ever take for granted that the decision in the case, while certainly affected by my preparation, is going to be determined by someone else, and that I cannot assume that I will ever win any particular case. It has not been unusual to hear attorneys say that, oh, your brief is better than mine, or you or I did a better job, I think, in arguing a case. All of those things only matter with the result. And one of the areas that always is interesting is when there is someone on the other side who was a little too cocky. Or perhaps the better word is self assured. That was Dusty Baker in the first game of the World Series. After Kyle Tucker hit two home runs and his team had a five to nothing lead, dusty Baker was shown on TV laughing, smiling and joking in the dugout. There was only one problem the game wasn't over. The game wasn't close to being over. When Ken Rosenthal interviewed Dusty Baker, he, with a somewhat snarky attitude, indicated that it's always nice to be able to have a little fun and joke in the dugout during a game. And that's what happened after his player hit both home runs. I thought the comments were outrageous. The fact that his team was winning meant nothing. The only fact that matters was would his team be winning at the end? And as it turns out, his team was not winning at the end, and they lost the game. When the cameras captured Dusty Baker's face after the game, he wasn't smiling, he wasn't joking, he wasn't laughing. All of that joyous, cocky joking was gone. Because even for a manager as accomplished as Dusty Baker, he had taken for granted that what happens during a game or during a trial or during an oral argument only has so much value. And what really matters is how the result ends up. In the case of Games One of the World Series, the result was a victory for my team, the Phillies. So let's look at this from the perspective of a business person or a leader. What are the lessons and what are the takeaways from Game One of the World Series? The first lesson is simple. You have to be prepared, and you have to be prepared for every eventuality from the start to the finish. In baseball, that means having the right players in the right positions, including pinch hitters and bullpen relief pitchers, from the start to the finish. In law, it means knowing what you have to do, knowing how you are going to accomplish it, doing the research, doing the legwork, and being ready to argue a case. When we argue appeals or handle any other matter, we begin understanding what is our goal and how do we intend to reach it. Our goal is to get the decision or the result that our client wants. But in order to do so, you have to be prepared. That's why players practice. That's why they have their before game rituals. Lawyers have them, business people have them, and they're important. So after you're prepared, then comes game time. And during game time, you need a game face. Persons who have watched me do oral argument have always said that I do not get phased during the argument. A judge or a Supreme Court justice could really ask questions that are intense or at times almost seem like they are yelling at me. And no matter what comes my way, I stay calm. When I was a commissioner in Haverford Township, we were debating a controversial issue, and there was a woman in the audience, a lawyer, who had made what I would call intemperate remarks about the topic. And I pointed out that on her law firm website were comments about that topic and that they reflected the view of her firm and demonstrated why she had a bias. During our discussion, she got up and just started screaming at me. During the discussion. I simply turned my laptop around and showed her the screen and said, I'm merely quoting you and your law firm. I never got phased. Ultimately, the issue that was before us, the side I viewed, was the better result one. But I didn't get phased. I didn't get happy, I didn't get sad. I stayed at a similar level. I didn't do what Dusty Baker did by essentially celebrating a victory halfway through a game, when, as he should have known, based on his long history in baseball, that the game isn't over until there are 27 outs and your team has at least one more run than the other. That's the lesson for all people in all walks of life. We're going to have our challenges, we're going to have our issues. But most importantly, we have to confront them, be prepared for them, and address them as they come without taking anything for granted. Because, as you know, if you don't prepare for something, it is far more likely that in the end, you're not going to be happy with the result. If you celebrate too soon, you may not be happy with the result. More literature has been written about baseball than every other sport. Why? Because in many ways, in Game One of the World Series on October 28 in Houston, be prepared, stay calm, stay focused, and don't assume anything until you have your victory or whatever the result is that you want. I'm Dan Siegel. This has been the Legal Tech podcast sponsored by the law offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC and Integrated Technology Services, LLC in suburban Philadelphia. The law offices provides guidance, ethical guidance, professional guidance, disciplinary representation for attorneys. We serve as appellate counsel for attorneys, and we represent individuals in everything from workers compensation and personal injury claims to drafting their wills. Integrated Technology Services performs workflow management, software training, paperless office implementation for law offices and small businesses throughout the country. We look forward to working with you. To reach us, you can go to Danieljsiegel.com that's D-A-N-I-E-L-J-S-I-E-G-E-L dot com or Techlawyergy T-E-C-H-L-A-W-Y-E-R-G-Y dot com. Or give us a call at 610-446-3457 or 610-446-3467. Thank you for listening.