Stay Out of My Head

by | Jul 11, 2016 | Legal Process

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I don’t wear emotional armor when in court or negotiating with another attorney. And sometimes, things get tough.

I have to admit, I don’t have an emotional armor to protect me from barbs thrown in the course of my work. Yes, I sometimes let others get in my head and that can cloud my perspective.

It happened recently when another attorney called me, “Scum of the Earth.” I was really taken aback. And without going into details about what led up to this pronouncement, I will just say that this attorney’s reputation preceded him and I’m afraid I acted on that prior knowledge rather than on my instincts in our interactions. Which led to his unkind statement.

I really lost track of my values, which is one consequence of gossip. While the details about this attorney were, in fact, true, I didn’t need to know them for this particular case. And I let myself slide because I figured he wasn’t a stand-up guy.

Parents always need to consider whether what they want for their children is, in fact, FOR their children, or really for themselves.

I am glad, however, that I realized very quickly how important it is to conduct myself according to my typical corporate values every single time, regardless of who is involved or what their details are.

We have control over who gets inside our head, whose voice steers us. And it’s up to us to stay the course.

So the next time I saw that attorney, I walked up to him, looked him in the eye, held out my hand for a shake and said hello. I said, “Can we talk?” He was, to say the least, taken aback.

My changed tone surprised him, and he agreed to talk. I think he was flustered by the change of our interactions, but pleasantly so.

We went to talk with Friend of the Court, and the matter between our clients was resolved. Because it took us a while to get there, because we followed a circuitous route, I owned up to my responsibility in prolonging the resolution and decided not to charge my client the full amount. I felt good about that and my client was pleased with the result which ultimately at the end of the day, is the most important thing.

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