David Boies, Dyslexic Lawyer, Is Top Professional in His Field
David Boies is a renowned and accomplished lawyer who has represented high profile clients in some of the most dramatic court cases in recent memory, including the 2000 Supreme Court case Bush vs. Gore. Boies has been labeled as the “lawyer that everyone wants” by the New York Times and has won numerous awards for his dedicated work in the field of law, including the Lawyer of the Year award from the National Law Journal, the Antitrust Lawyer of the Year award from the New York Bar Association and the Commercial Litigator of the Year award by Who’s Who.
When taking these enormous accomplishments into consideration, one might think that David Boies was successful in school and academics from the onset of preschool and kindergarten, but he has actually struggled with Dyslexia for his entire life. It might seem hard to believe that the man who didn’t learn to read until third grade and who struggled on timed exams and often scored poorly could become one of the nation’s top lawyers representing clients such as Al Gore, the United States Justice Department in its antitrust suit against Microsoft and gay and lesbian clients in a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriage. Through hard work and dedication, paired with strategies that help Boies navigate the complex reading tasks required for law school and a career as an attorney, Boies has found a way of becoming one of the most successful professionals in his field despite his life long learning disability.
Boies points out that his poor performance on timed exams while in school is not an indicator of his abilities. Instead, he argues that the ability to read is not a measure of intelligence, but rather your ability to process information, the contributions you make, the kind of person you are and your utility to society serve as a better and more important indicator of the kind of success you will find, rather than your ability to read efficiently.
How does Boies find success in a career that requires huge amounts of reading and the critical thinking and analyzing of texts? Boies states that he skims the material first and has trained his eyes to find the most important pieces of information. He then zeros in on these important points and analyzes what the text is conveying and links it to the case or project he is working on. He says he is a slower reader than most people, but argues that it isn’t the speed of reading the text that’s important, but rather the ability to retain information and understand the depth of the meaning of the text. He argues that despite it taking him longer to read a text, he has an ability to more accurately analyze the information and can understand the main points more deeply than faster readers can.
David Boies is a determined and highly effective professional in the field of law. Despite his struggles with dyslexia, he has rose to the top of his field and argues some of the most important cases that affect all Americans. He has received the lifetime achievement award from the LD Access Foundation and the Outstanding Learning Disabled Achievers Award from the Lab School in Washington, D.C. for his advocacy for Dyslexic children and adults.