Q & A: Addressing Common Myths and Problems

Q & A: Addressing Common Myths and Problems

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Attny. Maxwell Charles Livingston
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Question: What options are there if I don’t want to sue?

Answer: It is actually fairly common that a client will avoid court if at all possible. And, many times, court is not the best option. For example, when the parties wish to work something out without destroying a relationship, mediation can be much less damaging. Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parties come together and discuss how to move forward amicably; hence, mediation many times leads to creative options and relationship building. However, in court, the parties can only “win” by fighting over who was more “wrong”. This can lead to broken relationships, a drawn out recovery-time, and uncertain results. Many times, the case need not advance even as far as mediation, as a good lawyer can reach results through negotiation.

Question: I have a lawyer who never picks up the phone. Why is that?

Answer: While lawyers are busy, they owe it to their clients to be “reach-able”. That is, there is an ethical duty owed by lawyers to their clients that they keep the clients informed at all times. That means picking the phone up when a client requires information.

Question: Will you fight for me?

Answer: I hear this one often. Many times clients feel that they overpay their lawyers, and then their lawyers refuse to defend them when the other side fervently disagrees – especially in court. While I may not always agree with my client(s), the client comes first. Hence, I will fight for my clients when the time comes.

Question: Is it true that the most successful negotiator is a bully?

Answer: This is a common myth. In point of fact, the best negotiator is one that “collaborates”. That means working with the other side. While this may sound odd, studies and experience show that you will get more done when you don’t upset the other side. In fact, upsetting the other side typically leads to one of two phenomena: (1) the other side reacts in kind – competitively OR (2) the other side becomes avoidant – meaning they no longer care. But, when one acts collaboratively, the result is many times that the other side will collaborate also. On the rare occasion in which that is not the case, the negotiator can switch tactics to match that of the other side until that other side comes to their senses. Then, it’s back to collaborating.

Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston