the art of talking and saying nothing

a lot of the time, when you study law, if your professors are any kind of knowledgable, they’ll tell you how you always have to find out the lies within the truth.

what?

i know. as if this shit weren’t confusing enough, now you’re supposed to find the lies in the truth?

well, what i mean is that, from the very beginning, even before a trial has commenced, you’re supposed to conduct an interview of the client. for obvious reasons, being– well, most things that cause for malpractice. those being, for example, if you take on a client who is filing a law suit against a former client of yours, that’s malpractice. you conduct client interviews to see if there’s any reason why you wouldn’t be able to represent the person.

but see, this is where the problem is.

when someone walks into your law firm expecting to talk to you about taking on their case, they’re going to try to feed you the truth, not necessarily a lie, but, basically just try to win you over. talk better about themselves. everyone does it naturally, but when you’re a client trying to get someone to take your suit, you’re going to try to be as appealing as possible.

initially, that’s the problem. let’s say we’re dealing with a child custody battle, and you’re representing the father, trying to obtain full custody against his alleged-unsupportive mother and soon to be ex wife. as trial commences, the attorney has several ways of going about the case, usually called a trial strategy. this is a carefully thought out plan that the counsel usually decides that they’re focusing on. in this case, you’re going towards unsupportiveness and one-sidedness. then, before the deposition, you ask the father if there’s anything else before you need to know, before walking into the conference room. why? always assume that the opposing counsel has all information about the other.

what the father didn’t tell you was that he was incarcerated once, for domestic violence, when the child in question would have only been 4 years old.

he tells you right before you walk in.

the problem with this is, it’s not necessarily a problem, but the client let it be. now, you’re about to walk into a deposition, where everything is under oath and can be brought up before a judge, and possibly used against you.

unfortunately, just like you expect, the opposing already had the information, brought it up, and you can only sit and watch them, well, shit on your client. the only thing you’re really able to do is reiterate that you don’t have to answer their questions and hopefully try to object as many accusations as possible.

the major issue here? this is only half the problem.

a lot of people try to see law as nothing more than two unnecessarily educated people screaming at each other back and forth until a judge who sits in an all-too-comfy looking chair and says they like one more than the other.

are they wrong?

(am i supposed to say yes?)

but attorneys can only tell the truth. being under oath in the court of law? that’s not a joke. you really are subject to admitting the truth and nothing but the truth. the jury and the judge’s primary focus on who’s set of truths they like more.

now say your client doesn’t tell you about the domestic violence charge, and you walk into the court room as you hear the opposing counsel try to put the police report into evidence.

if there’s nothing going through your mind, you’re a good attorney. but even the best of the best aren’t that good, since you can’t be so quick to assume incarceration if your client has never driven you to believe such.

but this is where being quick on your feet works in your favor, so i think the steve madden’s i wore to work today will lead the way.

that’s how it works, right?

(i promise i won’t go so long without spilling my thoughts again!)

x. L|V


twitter: @lawyervuitton

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