Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If you would only listen to me.

Tonight I write to my opposing counsels.

I always play straight with ya'll.  No line, no going off the deep end (okay, that time singing on the table during mediation was a bit out there but it made my point), no hostilities, no being so entrenched that I can never hear your position.  I'm not going to tell you that my client walks on water.  I haven't been that way and I'm not going to be that way.

So when I tell you what I think is the right answer, listen to me.

I know this is not your first rodeo either, but without histrionics and without error I can call it down the line almost every single time.  If I were a sailor, I could tack to any wind.  If I played pool, I could bank any shot.  If I played ball like my eldest, I could drop a ball through the second base hole for a hit any day.  So, Opposing Counsel, don't doubt it, don't fear it, use it. 

And don't stretch it out. The other day, an Opposing Counsel told me that she couldn't settle on an issue because she couldn't show any concession to her client. She couldn't show any concession to her client? She was playing this drama for her own moxie? Oh good Lord. If the opposing counsel's image needs to be protected from the opposing party, just how good do you think it's going to go down when the judge cites chapter and verse of how I said the case was going to resolve? Just how good will Opposing Counsel's image be then? "I couldn't settle for you and keep you out of court because I would look weak.  So I sent you into Court with all the stress and anguish, so that you could hear the judgment from the Judge exactly as Mr. Manely predicted. Now don't I look cute?"

No, you look nuts.

And I don't have any "in" with the Judge.  I know them.  It's my job.  But there is no special deal here.  There is just 21 years of working this street day in and day out and developing an extremely deep feel for how it's going to go down.  I just know justice.  I can predict it.  There's a right answer, and that's the answer I'm going to go for every time. Straight.  Period.

I won't take advantage of your client.  As my client said today, that's not kosher.  I'll tell you how it all plays out with all my case's bumps and bruises, warts and all, and I'll even sing your client's song when it is warranted.  So, stop the falderal and cut to the chase.  Make the deal.  Sign the docs and tell your client they had a good day, because they have.  Because, if I'm involved, there's enough justice to go around.  And nobody deserves anything more than justice.

But everybody deserves justice.

Just listen to me and settle.  That's all I'm asking.  Cause I'll tell you, while I really enjoy basking in the warm glow of the Judge ruling exactly the way I predicted, I far more enjoy getting justice done by settlement.  It is better for everyone, particularly the parties.

And its the parties that matter.

So, can we talk?

Michael Manely

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