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Perpetual Learning

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A few years after completing their formal education, most professionals exhibit a modicum of competence and are practicing their profession with little or no supervision by another professional. Many maintain that average level of performance for the rest of their career. The study attorneys, however, are perpetual learners, continually improving their performance through candid evaluation and deliberate practice. This chapter explains how the study attorneys engage in the practice of self-improvement through perpetual learning.


  • Defense Attorney
  • Deliberate Practice
  • Expert Performance
  • Accurate Feedback
  • Pedestrian Level

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-20484-5_8
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  1. 1.

    Ericsson, K. Anders. The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development of superior expert performance. In Ericsson, K. Anders, et al. (Eds.). (2006). The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (p. 683). New York: Cambridge University Press.

  2. 2.

    According to psychology professor Carol Dweck, the belief in modifiable ability is part of the “incremental” theory of intelligence, while the emphasis on “innate” ability fits into the “fixed” theory of intelligence. She contends that people who adopt the incremental theory are more receptive to failure and learning from failure, while those who adhere to the fixed theory fear failure because it reflects negatively on their “innate” abilities. See Elliot, A. J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of competence and motivation. New York: Guilford Press.

  3. 3.

    Ericsson supra note 1 at 692–693. See Simonton, Dean Keith. (2001). Totally made, not at all born [Review of the book The psychology of high abilities]. Contemporary Psychology, 46, 176–179.

  4. 4.

    Ericsson supra note 1 at 685.

  5. 5.

    In this respect, the attorneys’ training is roughly similar to the military’s “Eight P’s: Proper prior planning and preparation prevents piss-poor performance.” Ripley, Amanda. (2008). The unthinkable: Who survives when disaster strikes and why (p. 206). New York: Three Rivers Press.

  6. 6.

    Collins, Jim. (2005, July-August). Level 5 leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 138. In his study of creative individuals, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reports that they, too, are “remarkably humble and proud at the same time.” Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (1996). Creativity (p. 68). New York: Harper Collins.

  7. 7.

    Fletcher, J.D. The value of expertise and expert performance: A review of evidence from the military. In Ericsson, K. Anders (Ed.). (2009). Development of professional expertise (pp. 464–466). New York: Cambridge University Press. See Zsambok, Caroline E., & Klein, Gary (Eds.). (1996). Naturalistic decision making (pp. 54, 79). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. In another context, Klein notes that “outcome feedback – knowledge of results – doesn’t improve our performance as much as process feedback, which helps us to understand how to correct flaws.” Klein, Gary. (2009). Streetlights and shadows (p. 166). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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Correspondence to Randall Kiser .

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© 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Kiser, R. (2011). Perpetual Learning. In: How Leading Lawyers Think. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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