Some wags might see the title and think I am writing about working in a law firm. Wrong, but good guess.
This topic is directly related to the litigation issues addressed in this blog. More specifically, courtesy of the highly-regarded Delaware trial lawyer Richard DiLiberto, Jr., we provide you with seminar materials that he delivered today at a seminar co-sponsored by the St.Thomas More Society of Wilmington and the Delaware State Bar Association. Here are the materials that he allowed me to upload and that cover the following related topics of great utility to any litigator. His topic was "Ethical Problems with the Difficult Trial", though as background he addressed the following related issues:
The Difficult Client;
The Difficult Case;
The Difficult Lawyer;
The Difficult Judge;
The Difficult Witness; and
The Difficult Colleague.
Each year Rick is one of the speakers at the day-long seminar on legal ethics and practice tips referenced above. He is a perennial favorite. He and Delaware lawyer Dan Lyons present variations on their suggestions about how to deal with the "difficult person". It is must-reading for anyone who litigates–as well as almost anyone else.
One theme that repeats itself, but is always hard to comply with, is the need to avoid being "baited" as well as the need to "be the adult" and not let someone pick a fight with you or lead you into a downward spiral of retaliatory behavior. Litigators in particular find it difficult to "walk away" when they are blatantly disrespected or "get shoved" (figuratively or in reality), but the best remedy is often pursued subsequently, with careful reflection and not in the heat of the moment.
If the 14th-century Tuscan poet, Dante, were rewriting the Divine Comedy today, he would have populated a special circle in his Inferno with difficult people.
Loyal readers: If you were writing your own version of the Inferno, to what circle would you assign difficult lawyers? Difficult "middle-management"/administrators? Designers of "voicemail options for customer service"? The great thing about writing, and a benefit that Dante enjoyed, is that one can animate less likeable characters in one’s book with the attributes of people one meets in real life, so the whole world can share in the pleasure or pain of one’s experience.