Wednesday, December 09, 2009

When the law is not on your side, bang your head on counsel’s table until you pass out

The corporate litigation that my firm handles requires that I have frequent contact with our client’s executive leadership: “Yes, you are being sued, your general counsel hears ‘court date’ and flop sweat begins, and we are here to protect you…”

If only this were a positive and problem free attorney-client relationship...

The problems stem from the fact that the Corporate leadership doesn’t understand how litigation works. They can’t fathom how a court would view the Plaintiff’s claims “in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff” and refuse to dismiss the case. No matter how many small words we use, the client doesn’t understand why this case hasn’t gone away. And they get pissed about it: They schedule a conference call where they curse the law, the opposing counsel, the Plaintiff, the Judge and accuse of us of incompetence.

I love spending time being told I am stupid. Don't you?

Since we have been trying to make this case go away and were unsuccessful, we are now under the gun for discovery. The Plaintiff originally requested every document that my client has touched, imagined or could have seen for the previous ten years. The Plaintiff likely was entitled to all of these documents and then some. The Court, at our behest, slapped the naughty overreaching hand of opposing counsel, set up a measured approach for producing document and gave us a month to comply. In doing so, we saved the client from having to pay for several hundred hours of billable time.

How do they react to this positive news?

The client stopped talking to us.