The Opposition Lawyer

The issue of “civility” among lawyers is being discussed in Washington. This post sets forth my input on dealing with the opposition lawyer.

Not Much has Changed. Over the years the topic of lawyer civility surfaces and when it does the topic is accompanied with the exclamation that lawyer professionalism is not what it used to be in the good old days. I am here to report that not much has changed. Of course there are some ass hole lawyers but the ass hole lawyer has always existed and always will exist. Yesterday and today the majority of lawyers are decent people doing their job. Today is the same as “the good old days.”

Get to Know your Opponent. The key to being a lawyer is to get tho know the other lawyer. This means take the time to learn what the other lawyer does outside of practice law. Listen and learn. Usually you will find the other lawyer either has interests similar to yours or has interests that are worth talking about and learning about. This creates common ground that can be built on to reach consensus on procedural matters and potentially substantive matters.

Return Phone Calls. Never ignore the opposition lawyer. In fact  go out of your way to communicate with the other lawyer. In the old days this meant promptly returning phone calls. Today we add promptly respond to e-mails as well as phone calls.

Coordinate Dates. Rather then setting a deposition or motion without contacting the opposition lawyer, pick up the phone or e-mail to get dates that work for him before scheduling the matter. Also be sensitive and receptive to the other lawyer when he needs to reschedule a matter. This type of professional courtesy will come back in spades because he will return the favor and inevitably you will need the favor returned.

Kill Him with Kindness. In the rare case where the opposition lawyer is an ass hole, kill him with kindness. Never lose control. Always conduct yourself as you would in the courtroom. In this vain use the rules on the ass hole. Stand on them with firm professionalism. Put all matters in writing-writing you would have no problem with the judge seeing.

The Courtroom. In court especially in the presence of the jury show professional courtesy at all times. Leave a distance between you and the opposition lawyer. Never buddy-buddy in front of the jury. Always figure the jury likes both lawyers but wants to see a battle and in battle the two sides are not overly friendly.

The Unknown Opponent. Never underestimate your opponent. Never over estimate your opponent. Prepare for your case, believe in yourself, accept the possibility of failure, give your best effort, and never, never quit on yourself.

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2 Responses to “The Opposition Lawyer”

  1. […] are some donkey hole lawyers though a donkey hole counsel has always existed andArticle source: and Enjoy: This entry was posted in lawyer. Bookmark the permalink. ← Lawyer fined […]

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