“Hey there, I’m just out here on my bike and thinking about my clients and the big picture of conflict and how I, as a lawyer, can best bless my clients and really give them the greatest value for coming to see me. It occurs to me that one of the most important things that a person can do if they are facing conflict or are in the midst of conflict is to obtain wise counsel as early as you can in the process. The problem with conflict is that the longer it goes, the more it escalates and the more people get entrenched in their positions from an emotional standpoint and a financial standpoint, the harder it is to unravel the conflict and resolve it in a way that mitigates the downsides associated with the fact that there was a disagreement, to begin with, and mitigates the transaction costs, etc. So, one of the most important things that you can do is to get to someone who’s wise, early.”
“I can tell you that the motto that I have at my law firm is ‘Truth Guided, Relationship Driven’ and that springs from the fact that I happen to be a Christian. That informs the core of my decision making, my thought life, my marriage, my interaction with the waitress at lunch, and my interaction with my clients. That doesn’t mean that has to be the paradigm of my clients or anybody else, but it’s at least going to inform my position; which doesn’t have anything to do with religion, but I’m not going to get into that right now.”
“So, how does that correlate to conflict? Well, when I meet with a client, the best thing I can do for my client is give them a real-world expectation about costs, potential outcomes, risks, just sort of the realities of what they are stepping into because I do it for a living. There are people in the “conflict” marketplace that who will seek to promote litigation, conflict, and escalation as a mean towards accomplishing the goals of the client. While sometimes I do believe and I know that litigation and escalation is a necessary evil in the process, the secret sauce in my success as a lawyer is the fact that I seek to resolve matters at the lowest end of the conflict continuum. It doesn’t mean that I’m passive or a “dove” or that I’m not willing to be a “hawk.” What it means is the rational, prudent approach is to assess the situation with the greatest clarity and the least bias favoring any particular approach so, you come with a “tabula rasa”, a blank slate, you assess the facts, you assess the law and then you just start working through real-world pro formas of each potential, strategic trajectory, and the likely outcomes.”
“When you work through this process, the lawyer and client, things seem to become distilled and where a client is fearing, worrying or mind-dealing in a certain area – we may be able to have a conversation that informs you that whole bandwidth of approach that you’ve been thinking about and worrying about, it’s not even really on the table. There’s this other approach that’s just way better and way more rational. We may even come to a conversation and it may be you have really three rational approaches – A, B, and C, this is sort of a bracketing of what it’s going to cost, and one of those approaches maybe me describing how there is some self-help stuff that you could do that may be the most efficacious with regard to the outcome and the most cost-effective.”
“I found myself, as many times as not, talking people out of hiring me to pursue litigation or to sue someone. I have plenty of work. That’s where it comes back to ‘Truth Guided, Relationship Driven’. I’m not going to give you recommendations based upon my bottom line – that’s a dead-ender game, that’s no way to build a practice or relationships, so I don’t do that. The key is this: the earlier you can have the conversation I’m describing, the better. Because the earlier in conflict that you are, the more options there are… always, always.”
“So, the best time to see a lawyer is at the outset of a business relationship, before you’ve even signed a deal when you are contemplating going into a deal. Spend the $500 and come sit down with me for a couple of hours and we’ll talk about it. Don’t wait until you are already in a bad deal with a person who’s not operating in good faith and you’re three plays in with text communications or contractual commitments not made or met or abided by, or a lawsuit pending, don’t wait until then. You’re throwing down dollars to pick up dimes when you do that. The earlier in conflict that you can see someone who will give you wise counsel, I can assure you, the cheaper the conflict will be if it even occurs, and the more options you’ll have for extricating yourself.”
“Understand I’m an AV-rated commercial litigator, I handle substantive cases in state and federal court. I’m in court all the time, happy to go to trial, but if I’m in trial, I’d like to be there knowing that before trial (way, way before trial), I gave my client the best possible chance of never having been there. God bless the listeners and have a beautiful day. Let us know if we can help you at Boatman Ricci.”
For additional questions, call Boatman Ricci today at 239-330-1494.
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