Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the cross hairs.

It's one of the things that I love about this practice.

Recently, at a big, drawn out trial, I had battled my opposing counsel to the point where the judge told counsel that she did not have a case, that she had tried the case so poorly that she had presented nothing for the judge to rule on.

This is a significant difference between types of family law counsel.  Some are pretty good at family law substantive issues but can't try their way out of box.  Others of us realize that if you're going to be in court three to five times a week, you better be damned good at it.

So here was opposing counsel without a case, no way of winning, totally lost, destroyed, on the ropes with her client's life flashing before her eyes.

And that's when the magic happened.  Up until that point opposing counsel and the opposing party had absolutely refused any meaningful discussion of settlement.  But, now that they were in the cross hairs, my client proposed a perfectly fair settlement.  With the judge's excellent help, the opposition finally realized they were in no position to refuse it.

And there, half way into the trial, the case settled, even when the opposing party would have been like a lamb to the slaughter. 

I was proud of my client.  He realized that being parents, being family, even post divorce, trumps victory.

We had them in the cross hairs, but he didn't pull the trigger.  He lowered and holstered his arms.

Michael Manely

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