Goodyear’s Self-Inflating Tires Give Lessons On Courtroom Confidence

Just over a century ago, on August 29, 1898, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded. Today, the company has quite a few reasons to celebrate.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy granted Goodyear a $1.5 million award to develop and distribute a self-inflating tire. According to Goodyear, self-inflating tires mean no more troublesome air gauges and better gas mileage at the pump.

Whatever the vehicle, underinflated tires result in roughly a 2.5 percent to 3.3 percent decrease in fuel mileage, according to U.S. government and industry research. Goodyear’s invention could lead to as much savings as 12 cents per gallon, not to mention lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety, and improved vehicle performance.[1]

Goodyear won’t be celebrating alone. More gas for your cash is good news for struggling families in this downturn economy as well.

Goodyear’s story of insular ingenuity drives at another good point. Success often starts from within.

And for lawyers, success in the courtroom means exuding confidence and self-assurance—the kind of self-propelling trait that attorneys are not bequeathed nor born with, but a quality that is practiced and perfected with time.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn of Texas said the secret to showing confidence is developing your own courtroom style—and style doesn’t mean wearing a short skirt or a low-cut blouse,” reports the ABA Journal.

“The goal is to be noticed for your argument rather than your outfit.”

Unlike their male peers, however, female attorneys lack in courtroom confidence. At least, that is what U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro was reported to have said at an ABA Women in Law Leadership Academy in Philadelphia last year.

“Women in general lack the confidence that men seem to have in the courtroom,” Shapiro said.

If this is true, what will it take to reinflate women’s self-image?

First, it involves understanding that confidence cannot be donned by a third-party. Although mentorship within a firm is important, ultimately, each individual is responsible for his or her reputation and behavior.

Second, this kind of self-assurance comes from knowing your facts. This means conducting your own due diligence, and understanding the resources and technology at your disposal to perform such a task.

“[The use of technology like] WestlawNext brings us back to what we are supposed to be doing. Lawyers are supposed to be lawyering,” says Ben Skjold from Skjold Parrington in a video on the WestlawInsider Blog.

“At the end of the day technology doesn’t mean anything unless it leads to the profitability of the firm.”

Forget asking your paralegal to prepare an e-filing or set up your e-discovery software. And it’s not the IT Department’s responsibility to teach you Westlaw or LexisNexis.

Instead, train yourself in the technology, and the information will empower you.

More than that, the combination of confidence and technology will win cases.

In another interesting dichotomy, under Goodyear’s new electronic system, every time a car wheel turns, the tire inflates itself—essentially using the forces that often cause tires to go flat to keep them full.

The same forces that bring strength to an orator have equal strength to bring him down.

Ancient Romans did not drive cars, but they did understand the premise behind charisma. Marcus Aurelius, emperor and orator once said, “Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.”

Thanks to Goodyear, consumer confidence is up. How is yours?

-WB

[1] Goodyear Press Release, 8/11/11, “New Goodyear Innovation Could Make Tire Pumps Obsolete; Government Grants to Help Quicken Development” http://www.goodyear.com/cfmx/web/corporate/media/news/story.cfm?a_id=559

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