Monday, April 19, 2010

How to talk to a lunatic.

Sometimes I write this blog for therapy.  This may be one of those times.

Every now and then I've got an opposing counsel that is beyond the pale.  They are either hostile just for the sake of being hostile (I usually figure they have a very unhappy life), or just stupid beyond belief.  I always wonder how they passed the bar.

Right now I've got an opposing counsel who qualifies in both departments.  She's mean and dumb.

Let me be clear.  Most opposing counsel are good people, empathetic, intelligent and competent, but all opposing counsel are not cut from the same cloth.  This one seems to be cut from cheese cloth.

So I'm trying to figure out how best to deal with her. 

She likes to blast us with letters full of hyperbole and bile.  Sometimes I'm tempted to respond, but I know too well where that leads.  Since lawyers bill by the hour, we should be exceptionally conscious that every moment advances our client's cause, not our own.  I've observed many episodes of hostile letter being met by hostile letter until letter after letter is descending to little more than flame throwing and name calling, then the attorney bills the client $3,000.00 for the joy of it all.  My firm doesn't do that, but some lawyers do.  This one does it in triplicate.

You can't talk to her.  There is nothing new under the sun that you will ever tell her because she already knows it all.  And what's amazing is that she has a direct line to the deity or she is the deity because she knows fact from fiction, truth from falsity, bonafides from (here's the part where I cursed)!  There is no objective information you could share with her because if it doesn't fit her pre-existing paradigm, the information becomes like water off a duck's back or quicksilver to its source.  She can't learn.  She can't improve.  She really can't advance her cause because she's so damn dense.

She is physically incapable of coming to an agreement.  She argues for the sake of argument, her client be damned.  Where most people would begin a conversation with a pleasantry, she starts off with invective.  If you found a nice bone in her body, she would have it surgically removed!

Perhaps you know someone like that.

So I stay below the radar, taking it all in stride, biding my time, until it is show time.

So, how do you talk to a lunatic?  In my business, I talk to them in court, when it matters.

Yeah, that was therapy.

Let the games begin.

Michael Manely

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