Breaking bread and civility

Here’s an interesting article about civility in the practice of law.  It reminds me of a patent infringement lawsuit I was involved in 5 or 6 years ago.  Opposing counsel was quick witted and tough as nails.  Nothing was a “gimme.”  There were battles about deposition locations, discovery deadlines, confidentiality designations, etc.  After a rather meaningless day of depositions, I offered to drive him back to his hotel, and we had a drink together.  There was some discussion of the case, but it was mostly just two lawyers sharing a drink and telling tales.

We got up the next day and did our jobs, and we continued to bang each other around, but it was never personal. Too often, lawyers let it “get personal.”  Next time things head in that direction, consider breaking bread with opposing counsel.

That case settled (favorably, both parties would say) and a friendship, and source of referrals, was born.

The next time you are considering sending a incendiary letter to opposing counsel, or losing your temper “on the record” (or off), consider your professional reputation, your duty to your client, and the fact that the Court will almost certainly hear about it, and then set the letter aside overnight, or hold your tongue for 10 seconds.  99% of the time, your restraint will pay a healthy dividend.

(tip o’ the hat to WSJLawBlog).

WSJLawBlogPhilly Judge Orders Taming of the Lawyershttp://bit.ly/4E0Mv