For me, fly fishing has become a favorite pastime. I would go as far to call it a passion. Although fly fishing provides me an escape and functions as my “reset” button, it’s common to find parallels between our favorite recreational activities and our professions (or just about anything else life can throw at us for that matter) when you look for them. I’ve reflected on the many ways that fly fishing parallels a personal injury case and how the lessons I’ve learned on the river translate into litigating these types of cases as a career.
It starts with preparation. Going to a river unprepared for the countless variables that can affect your day will usually leave you disappointed. What’s the weather forecast? How are the flows? What’s hatching right now? Am I bringing the right gear? These questions (and many others) begin being asked and answered well before you ever make it to the water to ensure you’re able to control the things that you can. The same is true in representing an injured victim against insurance companies. Preparation begins during the initial consultation with the client and continues throughout the entire case. What are the facts? What are the issues at hand? What are the client’s goals? Do we have the right evidence at our disposal? Have we done due diligence with witnesses? The many questions we answer and appropriately prepare for put us in the best position possible to succeed, both on the river and for our clients.
Even if you’ve adequately prepared; however, adaptability becomes key. When the fishing day, or the case, takes an unexpected turn you need to be able to adapt to changing variables and conditions. Maybe the forecast was wrong. Perhaps you got to your favorite “secret” fishing spot and found it overcrowded with too many anglers. Being able to pivot to a new approach and adapt to changing conditions is necessary for success, again, in both arenas.
When the groundwork has been laid and you’re ready to fish, presentation is key. Presenting a fly to a cynical fish is akin to presenting your case to the skeptical insurance adjuster. The cast must be appropriately placed with the correct fly or you run the high risk of spooking the fish. In a personal injury case, the presentation of the facts, evidence and their application to the law at hand is paramount to a successful resolution. Haphazardly presenting a case to an insurance adjuster without the right preparation and presentation is like fishing into a 50 mph headwind – you won’t get very far.
So you’ve prepared and you’re ready to adapt should your game plan change. You’ve given the perfect presentation of your fly and you finally feel a strike. Setting the line and landing the fish are the most exciting, yet challenging, steps of the process. Methodical, constant tension on the line helps you get the fish in the net. The same is true in a personal injury case. Keeping methodical pressure on the insurance adjuster without a knee-jerk initial reaction tends to result in a better outcome, just like when you’re on the river.
There are several other parallels that could be drawn between fly fishing and litigating personal injury cases, but I know in my life that both are my passion and the lessons learned from each carry over to one another every day.