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Lawyers and Opponents-Lawyers as Colleagues-Lawyers as Friends

Burdine & Brown Sept. 27, 2019

One of the hardest thing to do from my perspective as an attorney/advocate for the injured folks when their cases enter into the litigation phase, is how to treat the insurance lawyer.

To start with I have NO personal friends who are lawyers that I litigate cases against. Maybe that means I am mean and narrow minded. But to my clients, it means everything. In every one of my litigated cases the insurance lawyer wants to talk to my client in a format setting called a deposition.

I prepare my client days in advance for this event. (Most lawyers do NOT do so- they wait until the day of the deposition and ask the client to come in 30 minutes ahead of time for preparation, this just does not work!)

So, when the insurance lawyer appears, we are ready for the deposition. I ask my client to shake the insurance lawyers' hand as a courtesy. I do the same. But I do not joke with, banter with, and have small talk with the insurance lawyer. To do so gives my client the impression I am “cozy” friendly or well-acquainted with the lawyer on the opposite side of my client's legal case.

It is amazing how my clients who have had a prior lawyer say to me that they thought their own lawyer at the time was “far too friendly” with the insurance lawyer. Some have thought that their lawyer was going to “go easy” or “sell out” to the insurance lawyer based on the way the two lawyers were talking about their families, hobbies, or golfing at the same club, before or after the deposition.

Perception is far greater than reality. It is wise to keep the insurance lawyer at arm's length. My goodness, it is through the insurance lawyer that my client is receiving less that what he/she might deserve in their injury case. For me “to see things as they are and should be” I pledge to always keep my client's interests as the central point in all litigated (and non-litigated) cases.