How to Deal With a Lawyer Who is a Bully:

Many of us have had the joyous encounter of a lawyer who tries to bully and belittle us. They seem to think it makes them winners. Or that their clients will respect them more. Or something. They can be a giant pain in the (pick your own reference here). So how do you deal with them effectively?

Don’t talk to them. All communication is on the record and set up for the judge. A friend of mine does this:

“Dear counsel: In our conversation today you [snarled into my face that you would (not) …..] or declared that you had nothing but contempt for my client or that I “couldn’t litigate [my] way of a paper bag” and that you would “kick [my] little girl ass.”] Not only were these comments false, but the tone and manner in which you delivered them suggested that you may be placing your own personal feelings above the interests of your client or your duty as an officer of the court. Regardless of your motive, your manner of expression does not lend itself to working with you in telephonic or in-person conference. Accordingly, I must insist that you direct all future communications to me in writing.”

Another friend says that EVERY time the bully violates on of the rules (verbal put-downs, dissing you in front of your client, late service of papers, refusing to answer phone calls, etc.) write him a letter documenting the bad behavior. Then, as needed, you bring one or more motions for sanctions. This paper trial will set up a bar complaint or other issue with the judge in the case.

In depositions, I encourage you to take video depositions. It’s absolutely amazing what people will do, even when they know the cameras are running. If you are not sure what I mean, go to YouTube and search for “depositions.” Amazing, truly amazing.

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