In a previous blog titled “Lawyers and Opponents-Lawyers as Colleagues-Lawyers as Friends”, I wrote about how important it is not be perceived by my clients as being “too close, too cordial, too social” with the insurance lawyer.
In the September 20, 2019, issue of the Fulton County Daily Report, a reporter (Jonathan Ringel) interviewed the Chief Judge of Gwinnett Superior Court on a wide range of issues. Judge George Hutchinson had to say on this subject:
Question: “What habits would you like to see lawyers who appear before you change?”
Answer: “Be nice. Be professional. Approach cases from the perspective of resolving disputes. The attorney on the other side of that case is your colleague and a fellow member of the bar. Remember that being adversaries in an adversarial system does not imply that there needs to be personal animosity.”
I believe the Judge wants and much prefers that the lawyers that appear before him to be courteous in the courtroom. He seems to draw the line at personal animosity, both in and out of the courtroom.
Today lawyers seem to be getting nastier toward each other whether they are in the courtroom or even in e-mails. I believe in courteous courtroom exchanges of information and stating my client's position when addressing the other side. No name calling, no innuendos or bad-mouthing the lawyer's client (the various insurance company). I have had many a time when the insurance lawyer starts to call my client names or accuses my client of …. When that happens, I quickly draw the line, stop the conversation and tell the lawyer to quit or I will not communicate with them. Quit the trash talk! If you don't like my client, the then prepare your case and tell the judge or jury because I stopped listening when the accusations start to fly.