Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Voice of Sweet Reason

Many clients don't want to hear it. They want to be completely unreasonable, and they want their lawyers to agree with their unreasonable demands and expectations.

Recently, I had a consult who insisted that because her spouse had fooled around, and hadn't earned as much money as she had (maybe 25% less), he should forego his entire interest in the marital home, her much larger pension, and their joint bank accounts, leaving him with about 15% of the marital estate. She wanted me to agree that she could settle her case under these (ridiculous) terms. In fact, she insisted that I agree her proposal was appropriate. And when I didn't agree, she grew extremely angry with me.

Opposing counsel with uncontrollable clients making similar, or even more lopsided demands, are even worse. Because they can't be knocked out of your life with a simple, "Sorry, I'm sure you can find another lawyer who has another opinion, best of luck." No, the unreasonable PIA opposing lawyer and his/her unreasonable PIA client, with punishment as their primary goal, is going to engage in a war of attrition for months, maybe even years. And they don't care that they're wasting gargantuan amounts of money, energy, time, and public resources, even when they know -- at least an experienced (albeit sometimes utterly inept) adversary knows -- damn well what the bottom-line settlement or litigated result will look like.

That's why there's nothing more wonderful than a reasonable person on the other side, who can control the unreasonable demands of his/her client and cut to the chase.

Right now Republican politics is just like the unreasonable client who craves a lunatic lawyer who will accede to his/her preposterous positions and not yield to anything or anyone resembling sanity. A smart, highly articulate, credentialed and reasonable candidate doesn't stand a hope in hell of impressing the foam-at-the-mouth extremists who seem to be running that party from the outer banks of fringe conservatism. Hence Jon Huntsman's low low low poll numbers.

Told ya I was a political junkie.

But this just goes to prove my point that politics is, indeed, a macro picture of interpersonal relationships, and that divorce lawyers and politicians have a LOT in common....

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