Negotiation, How the [Expletive Deleted] Does It Work? Part 3: Don’t be the problem.

Wasn’t that a nice little respite yesterday? I thought it was, if for no other reason than talking about Infinilaw and its burgeoning collapse brought joy to my otherwise dreary day. There’s always an upside to a law school just failing so spectacularly, especially when it’s associated with another law school that just can’t help but fail so damn spectacularly.

Alright, so, first things first, you may notice I’m making my headlines safe for work. This was by request. Apparently there are some nervous nellies in the world who are concerned about things like “What if the firm sees what I’m posting on my Twitter” and such. I get it. I do. Believe it or not, I have a professional Twitter and such as well, I just don’t really post shit to it because seriously, who wants to get their clients from Twitter? As a lawyer, I can’t type a damn thing in 140 characters or less.  As the Boozy Barrister, however, I have the freedom to post whatever I damn well please up until the moment I get sued.

So there, all you Sensitive-fucking-Sallies out there. You can now share the headline without worrying about what your bosses think until they read the post.  I do want to point out, though, that my posts were shared by Federal Magistrate Judges, goddammit.

Next thing I know, you assholes will want me to start putting trigger warnings on shit.

So, that said, today’s the last part in my three part series: “Negotiation, How the Fuck Does It Work?”  Part 1 was all about how the concept of principled negotiation is taught in law school, and you can find it here.  Part 2 focuses on negotiation styles that are going to drive you out of your goddamn mind, and you’ll find that one here. So now we know, right, and that’s half the goddamn battle.  But you know what the other half of the battle is?

Not being the sole fucking reason a case doesn’t settle.

Continue reading “Negotiation, How the [Expletive Deleted] Does It Work? Part 3: Don’t be the problem.”

Negotiation, How The Fuck Does It Work? Part 1, Getting to No.

Alright folks, let’s talk about the fine fucking art of negotiation. This isn’t exactly a new topic, with people writing about it all the goddamn time and there being a lot of books out there, like the seminal volume Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (a…pretty good read), but it’s one that I really haven’t written on yet, have I? No, I haven’t, you know, in case you’re the type of mouthbreather who can’t be bothered to actually read my past entries on this site to determine if I am, in fact being truthful.

By the way, fuck you for doubting me.

Anyhow, we’ve all been there before, ain’t we? On the verge of making a case that’s been sitting around like a thumbtack in your extra-wide ass go the fuck away by finally reaching some sort of reasonable resolution with opposing counsel. We’ve all felt the thrill of hearing a number that isn’t too far apart from your client’s number, and started to do that Snoopy dance of unmitigated joy at the prospect of finally closing the file. Sure, billables are great and all, but at some fuckin’ point continuing with the litigation just doesn’t make sense for anybody involved, and the clients are starting to get weary of paying the monthly invoice with no discernable (to them) movement on the case at all…because clients have no idea that 90% of legal work is done behind the scenes, and it’s hard to encapsulate “spent five hours desperately trying to salvage the claim from the client’s latest fuck-up” in a form on the invoice that doesn’t raise their unjustified ire.

So you waltz to opposing counsel and say “Hey, let me take this over to my guy, but I think I’m going to suggest we heavily consider this one.” Everything is right with the world, and your client says “Get me $1,000 more and we’re done.” Great! Who’s going to fight over a fucking grand?

Opposing counsel’s client, who just dropped their last offer by $6,000 in response to your counter. Congrats, you’ve gone from “a reasonable prospect of settlement” to “a goddamn negotiation.” So, what exactly are you dealing with? Shit man, that’s hard to say, because everyone out there negotiates stuff differently. Hey, why don’t we take three fucking days to talk about it?

Well, welcome aboard for the first day of my three part series on “Negotiation, How The Fuck Does That Work?” Today we’re gonna talk, really generally, about the issues in how negotiation styles are being taught to prospective lawyers. Tonight (or Monday), we’ll talk about The Types of Negotiators You’re Gonna Meet, then, to wrap the whole damn thing up, we’ll talk about how you can avoid being the fucking problem.

But, today, let’s just stick with the issues in how negotiation styles are being taught, and when I say “styles,” I mean the one fucking style law schools actually teach: Principled Negotiation.

Continue reading “Negotiation, How The Fuck Does It Work? Part 1, Getting to No.”

Waiving Privilege: A Discovery War Story

So yesterday was a snow day for me, which meant I got to sit at my kitchen table and review my case files over and over again, churning out the billables in the comfort of my home and a pair of fleece pajamas with fucking labs on them. It was pleasant. I enjoyed it.

As part of reviewing my case files, though, I also ended up reviewing some discovery production that was going out soon, an electronic copy of which I’d uploaded to a secured cloud server so I can be a redacting fool from anywhere in the world. Most lawyers hate going through discovery production to the opposing party, and I’ll admit it’s a pretty big pain in the ass. It takes forever and can suck away entire days. Hell, that’s why big firms hire doc reviewers and first year associates to sit around and do nothing but obsess over what’s in each and every document.

Me, however? I like to do it all myself when possible, because what you produce in discovery to an opposing party can seriously fuck your case up, and I’m the type of guy who, at the end of the day, believes the buck stops with me and nobody else. I learned this from my boss, who from day one has made it very clear that on each and every one of his cases, the buck stops with me and nobody else.

So let’s talk about that, how trusting your case to someone else can seriously fuck you over and why it may be worth your time to go through the documents your own goddamn self.

I’m gonna tell you fucktards a story to illustrate my point today, so gather round children.

Continue reading “Waiving Privilege: A Discovery War Story”

5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 2: Blowhard, Rabbit, and the Wildcard

So we left off yesterday talking about the 5 Assholes…Lawyers…You Meet In Depositions.

First, let me be clear since some of you folks aren’t understanding the title, it’s a play on the title of a book by Mitch Albom.  I don’t expect you to get that, really, because Albom is an inspirational son of a bitch, and we live in a world of darkness and sorrow professionally.  Still, it’s a decent little read, so maybe pick it up if you want some flutter in your chest that’ll remind you what happiness used to feel like.

Now, I’ve got more depositions tomorrow, so let’s get this pounded out.

We covered the Obstructionist, and we covered the Buddy Guy.  That leaves us with three more lawyers you meet in depositions to wheeze our way through today:  the Blowhard, the Rabbit, and the Wildcard.  Let’s just jump right into the shit on this, okay?

Continue reading “5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 2: Blowhard, Rabbit, and the Wildcard”

5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 1: The Obstructionist and the Buddy Guy

Let’s talk for a second about the assholes you meet at depositions.

Alright, so you folks should know that over the past few days I’ve been involved in the most hell-ridden part of litigation, namely the process of deposing an opposing party and letting them depose my client.  Not only were these depositions, but these were the most soul-crushing of all depositions:  The trial deposition, where civility flies out the window and people start talking over one another so quickly that the record appears to be half-written sentences with multiple interruptions.

If you’re not familiar with the trial deposition, it’s used when the witness that you’re deposing, and in some cases the party that you’re deposing, won’t be available (or may not be available) at the time of trial.  Here, in Pennsylvania, we also use it in certain circumstances where there’s no such thing as an evidentiary hearing because of the nature of the action.  In these rare situations, the entire evidentiary record as it relates to that one witness is going to be in the deposition transcripts.  The whole nine yards is in play in the trial deposition: evidence authentication, objections, responses to objections, etc.  The court then picks over the deposition transcript and makes determinations as to admissibility, objections, etc. in its review.

If they sound like long, tedious affairs, they fucking are.

You know what makes them worse?  Fucking Lawyers.

But it got me thinking over the weekend, as we prepared for round 2, as to the types of lawyers you tend to run into at depositions.  Opposing counsel’s behavior wasn’t out of the ordinary.  It was just more pronounced and combative.  He was an Obstructionist.  He could have just as easily been a Buddy Guy, a Blowhard, a Rabbit, or a Wildcard.

Oh, you don’t know what any of that means?  Well, that’s cause I just made up the fucking labels.  It’s what I do.  But generally, those are the types of lawyers you’ll run into in a deposition…hey, can you guess what I’m about to do?  That’s right.

I’m about to spend two days talking about the 5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions.

Continue reading “5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 1: The Obstructionist and the Buddy Guy”