Dave Dolkas
Dave Dolkas


Optimal Lawyer Courses

Contact Dave for available dates and pricing for these courses

 The Art and Science of Asking Questions

Investigators—especially litigators and trial lawyers—know the importance of posing the right question to a client, a witness, and even a judge. Lawyers are professional investigators, paid to  ask questions of witnesses and sources. The question is a powerful tool for an investigator; however, effective questioning is a dying art in many professions, including the legal profession. Asking the right questions is crucial to obtaining information in critical situations—whether conducting an internal investigation, investigating a whistleblower complaint, developing an appropriate strategy to deal with an opportunity or crisis, or questioning a witness in a deposition or at trial. From this seminar you’ll learn what questions to ask, how to ask them, and what questions not to ask.

What you will learn:

  • How the human brain responds to tough questions and tough-sounding questions.
  • How to use the Five W's and one H questions.
  • How to frame and ask tough questions, rather than tough-sounding questions.
  • How to frame and ask effective Level One and Level Two questions.
  • How to create an effective investigative or discovery plan by asking just five questions.
  • How to differentiate between a feature and a benefit to help form better questions—especially of friendly sources.
  • How to use easy-to-apply methods for creating direct and cross-examination questions.

 How to Improve as a Professional Legal Writer and Manage the Complex Legal Writing Project

Crafting a legal brief, an important client memo, or a transactional document is a routine but important part of every lawyer's day and a core component of the job. Because lawyers are paid to write, they should consider themselves to be professional writers. As professional writers, lawyers must learn all they can about writing to improve this essential skill. They must create and then follow a sound writing process to produce documents that clearly and concisely get the essential points across to the reader to ensure the writing is properly completed on time and on budget. This seminar provides a comprehensive approach to improving your professional writing skills and managing any type of complex legal-writing project.

What you will learn:

  • How to evaluate and strengthen your professional writing skills.
  • How to apply a writing process (called the ICE-T Process) to prepare a document completed on time and within budget. (This process can be used for any type of complex legal writing project--a brief, important client memos, transactional documents.)
  • How to use a RACI matrix to define roles and responsibilities for the writing team.
  • ŸHow to avoid common mistakes made by professional legal writers that result in poor quality and/or over-budget writing projects.
  • ŸHow to apply key writing preferences to improve the quality of important legal documents.

The Brand Called Me, Inc.

How to build and grow your personal best-in-class brand

Today lawyers compete in an uber-competitive legal-services industry. Being a smart, well-mannered, and competent lawyer just doesn’t cut it anymore. To thrive lawyers must possess those qualities, but also must be and be perceived as the best in their given area of law. Today lawyers must think of themselves as standalone corporations of one—Me, Inc.—regardless of whether they’re employed by a law firm. This session provides practical, hands-on instruction on six key areas to grow and improve skills and personal brand recognition.

What you will learn:

  • How to conduct a self-assessment and then create a meaningful business plan.
  • How to improve the Big Three Skills: writing, speaking, and asking questions.
  • How to identify and build your network.
  • How to identify and pursue breakout opportunities.
  • How to promote your best-in-class brand.
  • How to manage Me, Inc.