Truth and Wisdom?

LESSONS for LITIGATORS (In No Particular Order)

  1. No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse.
  2. No complex state of affairs is brought about by a single cause. Same thing: No complex state of affairs results from a single cause/
  3. If it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be not so much, study it and its antecedent reasoning and contexts ASAP after realizing its flaws.
  4. No one has a duty to accept being made miserable, ever. Especially handy for divorce cases? Helpful for lawyers who hate or intensely dislike their lives or the structure of their jobs.
  5. If #4 is true, then one never has a right to make someone miserable and expect them to put up with it, and probably no one has a right to make someone miserable at all.  This rule applies to relationships in cases, and it applies to those who are working together to process a case.
  6. In depositions, ask as many leading questions as possible and avoid as many open questions as you can. Try very very hard to follow this maxim.
  7. Try to formulate and use questions with one-word answers–“Yes” or “No” or “Not-Understand”–where you don’t care which of the words you get as an answer.  One-world answers can set up cases very tightly, and they can even win cases just by themselves.
  8. Not all mistakes in lawyering are a bad thing. Mistakes can be educational. One often learns more from error than from success.  Experiments, innovations, and risk-taking can all involve error.  The idea It seemed like a good idea at the time[.]” may be fine, if its genuine, sincere, and not seriously unreasonable. Foolish mistakes, mistakes of folly, are never a good thing; they are always a bad thing.  At the same time, most mistakes that have causes that injure the interests of the client cannot be regarded as “good” mistakes, and every lawyer should do his/her very best not to fail a client in this.
  9. Excellent litigators should always “deliberate” with their clients.  This means exploring the many sides of every, even mildly, complicated situation. It always involves talking about ends and not just means. (Bluntly put, “Do you really want this and not that?”) Deliberating always at least suggests that there may be various things the client has not considered. “Come. Let us reason together.” At the same time, one does not have to be obvious about this. Subtlety and restraint may be in the client’s interest. And processes of deliberation may need to be repeated.  At the same time, it must be remembered that the lawyer is not necessarily wiser than his/her client.  Deliberation can teach the lawyer as well as the client.