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Mark Twain said…

“Don’t let an education get in the way of learning.”

Well put, but don’t get me wrong.

As an injury lawyer, one who is fast approaching 30 years of law practice, I am a very big proponent of formal education.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude ( with great praise) at Marquette, University, and also Phi Beta Kappa ( which is a big deal in scholarly circles), and got my law degree at Syracuse University College of Law.

Formal education helps one gain knowledge, and knowledge is power.

But I have always respected the street-wisdom of many who never had any formal education. It is a mistake for anyone to look down their noses at such folks. Life experience is the greatest teacher. And there are a lot of very wise and intelligent folks out there who lack a formal education.

So, yes, Mark Twain had it right.

The key is learning how to learn, and there are many vehicles that help us, including a formal education.

But being a good listener, hard worker, or empathetic soul also do the trick.

Most of the valuable lessons I’ve learned over the years, took place outside the classroom.

Working with people is the equivalent of getting a PHD in human nature— incredibly invaluable.

Unfortunately some folks are educated to the point of imbecility— you know what I’m talking about.

Some people gain knowledge the hard way— through tough luck and hard-knocks. There used to be an expression about someone going to the ” college of hard-knocks.” Learning through experience.

Any time I’ve been asked to speak with students, I always plead with them not to grow up arrogant, and not to think that because they might have the benefit of a formal education, that they are somehow better than someone else.

I saw too much of that in law school and in the practice of law.

I can think of many non-lawyer educated friends I’d rather have on my side in the courtroom than lawyer friends.

I think the best way to look at it is this: We are all dumb at certain things.

I really enjoy blogging about this kind of topic. Although it does not directly deal with injury law and practice, it gives me a chance to speak my mind. Folks seeking an injury lawyer need to know who they are hiring. Not all injury lawyers are created equal— even though most charge the same.

My clients never feel they are not good enough or that they somehow don’t measure up.

I urge all my clients to be themselves & that is always good enough.

I don’t care how much or how little money they make, or what they do for work, or where they are from or where they are going.

Success is no measure of virtue— as a very famous philosopher said.

There is incredible power in truth, being real, and shooting straight.

We’re all in this together.

Keep your strength.

Merry Christmas 2010.

Charlie Donahue

injury lawyer

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