On this episode of Beyond the Bar, Gabriel Sepulveda-Sanchez sits down with Eric Canton, the new managing attorney at Sepulveda Sanchez Law. The two discuss their experiences growing up Hispanic and Mexican-American, professional and personal struggles, and lessons they’ve learned from losing tough cases over the years of practicing law.
Eric’s recent addition to the Sepulveda Sanchez Law team has only strengthened the All-Star Latino lineup. The firm has been making big waves in the legal industry in Los Angeles and beyond. Members of the all-Latino staff bring their culture to work and bond over their camaraderie while staying connected to the Latino community.
Unfortunately, Latinos remain the most underrepresented among California attorneys. While Latinos make up 36% of California’s population, they make up only 6% of California’s lawyers. Across the United States, the numbers aren’t better. Hispanic lawyers make up only 1.8% of law firm partners and 4.5% of federal and state judicial positions.
Both Eric and Gabriel have been active in the Latino community through mentorship. Gabriel has been a member of the Mexican American Bar Association since 2017.
Even after years of law practice, both lawyers continue to learn and improve their craft.
The Danger of Comfort
The law can be a tough career. It’s not easy balancing your career with a relationship and also making time for yourself. But getting too comfortable can also get dangerous.
You may be in a job where you’re comfortable but not happy. Change and uncertainty are scary. Leaving a job is scary. Going to try out another firm is like leaving a relationship.
But getting out of your comfort zone and taking those risks is what makes you better as both an attorney and a person. For Gabriel, getting out of his comfort zone actually involved creating the Beyond the Bar podcast, something he’d never imagined himself doing before.
Lessons Learned from Hard and Losing Cases
It’s always exciting to get the opportunity to work on big cases – but they don’t always end up the way you want them to turn out. The result can be devastating and heartbreaking.
But those tough lessons could be some of the most valuable, like:
- You can’t overlook any aspect of your case because every aspect is important. That includes establishing liability and properly explaining the law to the jury. This is true even if both of those things might be “obvious” to you as the lawyer handling the case.
- Picking the right experts is critical. The difference between an expert in premises liability and an expert in trucking accidents can make or break a case.
- You have to have a plaintiff that’s likable. You’ve got to know your client and know your audience. If you go to a trial with an unlikable plaintiff, their odds aren’t great. You must prep your client so that the jurors find them credible.
Even with all of these lessons learned, you can’t keep looking back and thinking “what if.” You’ve got to move forward. And sometimes, no matter how much prep you do, there’s only so much you could have done. An unlikable client is sometimes just going to be unlikable.
The amount of work that goes into personal injury cases is humbling. Trial work can be exceptionally challenging but also incredibly transformational.
All of this and more is on the podcast episode. Click here now to listen to Gabriel and Eric talk about dealing with jurors and what they love about being a lawyer.