August 4, 2009


The bad news is, I need to find some more work to fill up my billable hour dance card. But that's a problem I don't mind having at all.

After getting seriously bummed and stressed out about my upcoming jury trial, I found today that when things look very bleak, that is sometimes the very time to push as hard as you can to make things better.

Filing a strong application for a stay of proceedings from the appeals court seemed to have an effect. Even the trial judge was more polite and deferential to me today.

Showing up for the trial call and being visibly armed for bear seemed to have an effect. Especially when the other side seemed to only be armed for ducks. It demonstrates that you have a strong case. Successfully anticipating all of the other side's arguments and having ready rebuttals seemed to have an effect. It leaves the settlement judge with the impression that you know what the hell you're doing and, especially when the other side had previously believed that you did not, it can be quite disarming to realize that you've got a big fight on your hands where you hadn't been expecting one.

Being able to present a credible threat of tying up any adverse verdict in appeals for years seemed to have an effect. Plaintiffs like to get paid. They get discouraged when they find out that even when they win they won't get their money.

Convincing your client to behave reasonably in light of the risks and expenses has an effect. It helps when you have a client who is basically a reasonable person, interested in making his legal problems go away. It's unfortunate that it costs so much money and time to get both parties into that mental place. But when you do, a good client can spare you a bunch of headaches.

Finally, getting the case evaluated by someone other than the most liberal trial judge in the courthouse, in a forum where all of the presumptions were not necessarily against me, seemed to have an effect.

In other words, working as hard and as smartly as I could produced a settlement that my client was happy with and could pay with only a modicum of discomfort -- and to get there, the other side had to drop like a stone in the sea, which they wouldn't have done had I not pushed like hell to be ready to demonstrate the fundamental weakness of their case. But I did it. I did do my job and I did it as well as my education and experience enabled me to do it. I had the help of some really talented colleagues and a fantastic client. The result is no two-week trial next week, and a huge weight of stress lifted from my shoulders.

It's time for a margarita.Stumble Upon Toolbar


Arnie said...

Working hard and working smart usually pays off. Congrats!

DaveBuck said...