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Attorney Job Tennant on being expert-ish

As many of you probably know, when Aidan was born I started working full time and taking classes part time. I worked at Jason’s Deli, in the trucking industry, as a security guard, performing antique restoration, doing door-to-door sales, as a building engineer, as a handyman, in radio, and was in the process of starting an event videography company before I went to law school. Each of those experiences allowed me to learn about a new field (except for security which was pretty boring) and gave me some perspective on the world around me.

Not Bored

One of the coolest things about being an attorney is that while you specialize in the law you also have to be an expert in every other relevant portion of your case. It is almost like a mini-career change each time you get to a new issue. That can vary from understanding how an expert hydrologist can show how water from Hurricane Harvey actually flooded specific areas to understanding the details of what is required for an expert toxicologist to be able to form a relevant opinion.

Getting to Know the Experts

While I am far from being an expert in any of the other areas of knowledge that a case involves, for a brief period of time I get to really learn about some very specific information about that field. For example, in a recent deposition of an expert toxicologist I learned about the machine that was used (liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry), the method of performing the test, the maintenance that is required, the likelihood of an error, the way the machine works, etc.

 

I had to understand it on a deep enough level to be able to have a conversation with someone who had spent years practicing in the field and who didn’t particularly want to give me the answers I was looking for. Obviously, I started off knowing nothing about the subject so it was frustrating at first trying to figure out what exactly I was trying to learn, but by the end it was extremely gratifying to be able to walk into a room and get the information that I needed from the defense’s toxicologist.

It is that type of pursuit of knowledge that I think is so thrilling about this line of work because there is never going to be a time when I know everything about a case when it starts. There will always be another concept or subject to learn and that’s how I know I am at home in this career.

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2 thoughts on “Attorney Job Tennant on being expert-ish”

  1. Never thought about the constant learning aspect of practicing law. Gotta say, that’s a pretty cool bonus. On a side note, I used to use a mass spectrometer pretty regularly in my lab job in Austin. Happy to be an expert witness anytime! My rates are pretty high though.

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