Appellant's Brief

Holding Back

Someone asked me for tips to detect whether a lawyer is good or lousy. Simple, I said. You won't see him coming if he's good.

I sat in on a conference yesterday. It was held for the sole purpose of giving an employee an opportunity to answer certain charges against him. Charges which, if proven true, may result in the separation of the employee.

Our external counsel sent Younger Lawyer to assist management. The employee was represented by two lawyers. I have full confidence in Younger Lawyer. In my opinion, his knowledge of labor law and jurisprudence is more than adequate to get the job done.

However, during the conference, Younger Lawyer asked questions that I would not have asked, and demanded explanations when I would have opted to end the discussion. I do not think that the answers given by the employee jeopardized the position of the company. Nevertheless, I would have treated the conference as a foretaste of the parties' respective positions during litigation. Thus, where Younger Lawyer saw an inconsistency, he demanded an explanation. Whereas, I would have stopped the questioning and let the inconsistency remain on record. I would have buried the issue and moved on or, as I have done in the past, gone back to a previous question, affectedly fussing over it, making it appear that the earlier question had material weight.

I tapped Younger Lawyer on the shoulder and suggested (whispered) that an explanation is no longer necessary. He smiled, immediately getting my point. But he plowed on. This happened several times during the course of the conference. Each time, Younger Lawyer would respectfully decline my suggestion. I did not resent this. Like I have said, I have full confidence in Younger Lawyer.

Later, he would say that the purpose of the conference is to elicit from the employee the relevant facts and that was what he wanted to do. He would say that my method was more tactical, geared for litigation. I agreed.

I am not saying that I am a better attorney than Younger Lawyer. Law, like love, sometimes demands no restraint, no reservation, no holding back.

Pleaded by Appellant on Thursday, October 05, 2006 @ 8:58 PM with 0 Objections