• May 2015
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Callahan Q&A, continued ...Published: August 01, 2012

OCM: Besides a burning desire to win, what sets you apart from other trial attorneys?
DC: When I have a trial approaching, I go into what I call “lockdown.” Thirty or 60 days from opening arguments, I bring all of the documents, depositions and other pieces of the case into my office. I go from supervising the case to personally reading every page of every document. I get as close as possible to the case. I dictate ideas and summarize key parts of the case. The key to winning is in the preparation. I simply don’t want to lose. When I go into a case, there is a certain fear because there is a mountain of documents, and I always 
assume that my opposing counsel is quite good. To combat that fear, I put that individual in my mind on a pedestal and view him or her as a 10-foot-tall giant. By the time I walk into trial, I’m an 800-pound gorilla because I have studied so long, and he’s not really 10 feet tall at all. I suddenly have the mental edge I need.

OCM: Sounds like this is your go-to strategy heading into a big trial.
DC: If you are really going to be ready, you have to have read all of the documents yourself. You have to digest the material. You have to be one with it. It’s the only way you can be ready when witnesses start changing their stories.

OCM: Success can dull the drive and make even the best professionals soft as they slow to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. Have you gotten soft?
DC: No. It’s in my DNA to push and stay sharp. I enjoy what I do. Besides, this firm is much more than me. I have an obligation to build this firm for the benefit of everyone here. I have a responsibility, and we’re not done yet having success.

OCM: In baseball they talk about the “five-tool players,” stars who bring exceptional skills such as speed, power and fielding. Assess your attributes. What are you best at?
DC: Simple: I get results. I’m the Angels’ Mike Trout of Orange County litigation. What distinguishes us from other firms is a commitment to the client. We’ve built this practice by getting results, and that has lead to referrals. But we’ve also done it by getting out of the office. At one time, I wrote a column for the Orange County Business Journal. I’ve spoken many times to industry groups, and we market ourselves. When people need a lawyer, I want them, in half a second, to think of our firm first. The only way that will happen is by getting more exposure.

OCM: You do traditional advertising, unlike many of your peers in the legal community. You are a contrarian on this topic.
DC: That’s right. But I couldn’t build the firm just relying on the phone ringing randomly. As a business owner, you want to do the best job you can. I wouldn’t be doing that if I didn’t share our successes and tell our story. I have an obligation to keep the business moving. As a result, I’m fortunate that I have something to talk about. We’ve had success.