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Law

Any entertaining stories about opposing counsel just losing their mind on you in court or over the phone? How do you respond to opposing counsel who is being rude, unreasonable, or verbally abusive?

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Maybe someone here was told recently to “eat a bowl of d$cks” by opposing counsel

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I’m cut from a different cloth. If they are being disrespectful on the phone, I simply tell them this isn’t an appropriate conversation to have on the phone but I would be more them happy to talk with them face to face about their issues. If I’m in person, I’ll pull them aside, away from the clients, and I’ll whisper in a polite voice as close as I can get: “don’t ever f*cking do that again. Ever. You don’t know me, so I’ll chalk that up to an honest mistake. Keep this professional.” I’m all about being professional, but don’t let these fancy suits fool you...I’m not the one.

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Damn you’re a badass

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Just keep your composure and let them keep sinking. The most fun is when you can make some innocent enough statement in a calm voice and really throw them over the edge.

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Document everything and handle everything via email. The record you create can only help you.

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I’d echo this as a law clerk. It’s all not about having the “gotcha” moment but the only time I’ve ever seen the judge give sanctions is when there is email evidence to back up movant’s allegations.

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I once got yelled at (as a lowly 3rd year associate) by a locally famous TV-advertising plaintiff’s lawyer on the phone for a solid 30 seconds, like personal stuff, “You know [Associate] you’re being really obtuse with this and getting on my nerve....” blah blah. My first thought was, “Wow, Joe Blow from TV is yelling my name!” And then a few seconds in I snapped back into it, told him to can the closing argument, no juror is listening, and the reason I hadn’t returned phone calls in ten days is that my best friend had just died and I was planning the memorial. (True.) He shut the fuck up.

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Sorry to hear about your loss. Glad he STFU after that

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Was on the phone doing a discovery hearing before a special master (a retired judge) and opposing counsel started to sense things were turning against his position. He got increasingly hysterical until was yelling into the phone and interrupting the special master. In a bit of a badass move, the SM waited for a pause and said “Mr. (redacted), can you calm down for me? Take a few breaths there,” in this acerbic, wry tone that made clear we all thought he was a clown. What did I do during this meltdown? Muted my phone and laughed. When my partner tried to interject, I blocked him from unmuting it and told him to let that man-child do our work for us. We won the argument.

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Always take the high road. In a deposition that wasn’t crucial to the case, I had an OC who berated the deponent and the court reporter because the deponent didn’t give the answers he wanted and the court reporter wouldn’t read back a question, instead the reporter played a recording of it. This is an OC that we have multiple cases with so it was better to preserve a good working relationship rather than fight back on a minute issue.

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Depends if you’re on the record. Any attorney can request to go off the record (i.e., when words aren’t being recorded on the transcript) to have a discussion. Normally, it’s wise to have this conversation off the record. But if OC is getting obnoxious after you’ve told them to relax, it might be wise to let it stay on record. In all interactions with OC always think of the long term goal and pick your battles. A small battle probably won’t win you the war.

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Hang up on the them if they persist such behavior even after informing them of it and warning them that you’ll end the convo if they continue. I have too much pride and respect for myself to be berated by someone who is not cutting my check (hell, same goes for my boss, tbh)

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Was in a mediation with a cagey debt collector lawyer. Partner I’m with is a bad ass but she’s relatively soft spoken. The seedy lawyer keeps talking over us and arguing how his made up records refute the receipts we brought. At one point, my partner just goes: “excuse me, I’m talking.” The other lawyer shut the hell up real quick. Sometimes all it takes is a firm one liner

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I had a much older and male opposing counsel LOSE HIS MIND during an expert dep I was taking when exploring multiple determinative factors that the expert hadn’t considered before rendering his opinion. Screaming at me like I was an insolent child. I went down the same line of questioning during cross at the subsequent arbitration, and he did it AGAIN. Head of the panel was absolutely appalled and yelled at him to sit down. It was truly hysterical.

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With kindness and not weakness. You don’t need to rub it in. You should know that you did your client and yourself the right thing.... that is all you need to be satisfied. Of course you get to tell the war story. To the victor belongs the war story.

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