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Rusty Hardin Featured in Lawdragon Magazine Discussing His Career, His High-Profile Cases, and What He Believes Makes a Great Trial Lawyer

Rusty Hardin is featured in a Lawdragon magazine article commemorating his induction into the publication’s Hall of Fame. The article focuses on Mr. Hardin’s life, his career, his many high-profile cases, and his views on what makes a successful trial lawyer. 

In the article, Mr. Hardin discussed his path to becoming a lawyer. “I started out as a schoolteacher, but in the back of my mind I always thought I would ultimately be applying to law school. Teaching is what I did in the interim,” he said. 

Mr. Hardin left teaching to enlist in the Army. When he returned from Vietnam, he attended law school and became a senior prosecutor for the Harris County district attorney’s office in Houston. Mr. Hardin told Lawdragon his work as a prosecutor made him the lawyer he is today. 

“I learned to disregard many of the hallowed rules of trial work. The contention, ‘Don’t ever ask questions you don’t know the answer to’ … that’s crazy,” he said. “Is it dangerous? Of course it is. But that means that you have to know your case extremely well to know when to take those chances. It helped me learn to cross-examine.” 

Mr. Hardin went on to describe what he enjoys most about being a trial lawyer. “I enjoy trying to convince a group of strangers to whatever my point of view is about the case. I enjoy jury selection. I enjoy meeting 40 people I’ve never met before and finding out about them. Trial work is about people and their stories.” 

Mr. Hardin also discussed what he says is the biggest mistake a trial lawyer can make. 

“How the trial lawyer hears the evidence and what they pick up on from the witness is crucial. You can only do that if you’re listening. The biggest failure of trial lawyers is the same failure of professional journalists, and that’s the failure to listen.”  

Mr. Hardin also looked back at some of his many high-profile cases, including the Anna Nicole Smith inheritance trial and representing the accounting firm Arthur Andersen and baseball great Roger Clemens. 

Asked why he opened Rusty Hardin & Associates, he said, “I wanted people that wanted to make a difference. I wanted a law firm where people look forward to going to work each morning.” 

To read the full article, click here.