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A Good Lawyer, Chapter 5

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been looking at Stephen Comiskey’s book, A Good Lawyer. I’ve previously posted my favorite excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. Today, I look at Chapter 5, which is available online. Again, the book is out of print, but I encourage all of us to try and find a copy and look it over from time to time as a refresher on how to practice.

Comiskey starts Chapter 5 off by saying that he thinks the Marine Corp’s 14 Leadership Traits and 11 Leadership Principles should apply to all of us. Those are as follows:


  • Integrity
  • Knowledge
  • Courage
  • Decisiveness
  • Dependability
  • Initiative
  • Tact
  • Justice
  • Enthusiasm
  • Bearing
  • Endurance
  • Unselfishness
  • Loyalty
  • Judgement


  • Take Responsibility for Your Actions and the Actions of Your Marines.
  • Know Yourself and Seek Improvement.
  • Set the Example.
  • Develop Your Subordinates.
  • Ensure that an Order Is Understood, Then Supervise It and Carry It through to Completion.
  • Know Your Marines and Look After Their Welfare.
  • Keep Everyone Informed.
  • Set Goals You Can Reach.
  • Make Sound and Timely Decisions.
  • Know Your Job.
  • Train Your Unit as a Team.

Then Comiskey reverts back to the familiar numbered posts. My favorites are:

1. Protect your family.

2. Strive for excellence.

3. Excellence without arrogance.

4. Excellence with humility.

16. Be true to your word.

17. If it’s important, be shamelessly persistent. Be relentless.

18. Treat everyone the way you expect to be treated.

23. Know your weaknesses. Work hard to make them your strengths.

30. Keep your sense of humor. It will help sustain you through the hard times and it will help you enjoy the good times even more.

32. Take the time to enjoy the satisfaction and fulfillment of each of your successes large or small.

33. Where honesty and integrity are concerned, permit yourself no rationalizations. Be vigilant. Honesty and integrity are lost insidiously.

34. You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.

And that’s the final chapter. I’ve done these posts mainly for me — so that I can remember the wisdom of Comiskey and so I have the thoughts in an easy to access place. I hope they’ve been of some use to the rest of you out there.

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