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Victoria Pynchon

As the co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training, I offer my services as a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant....

She Mediates

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She Negotiates

She Negotiates

The 33 cent wage and income gap is unacceptable and unnecessary. So is the cliché glass ceiling. Bottom line, our...

When Attorneys Become the Common Enemy

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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Mr. and Ms. Keene (names changed) entered the community mediation conference room and cautiously took their places next to one another at the scarred wooden table.  Though slightly wary, their greetings were warm.  He touched her lightly on the arm.  She pulled away, but smiled back.  

After the preliminaries were out of the way -- introductions, "rules of the road," the signing of a confidentiality agreement -- Mr. Keene launched into a low-key but passionate tirade about . . . . . .

               THE ATTORNEYS . . . . . .

a topic upon which there was complete agreement.

The attorneys had been

  • disrespectful, retiring to chambers with the judge while the parties sat outside the closed door listening to their attorneys' laughter;
  • unresponsive to telephone calls; and,
  • high-handed in responding to the Keenes' repeated requests to deviate from certain "standard" or "accepted" custody arrangements in favor of arrangements they knew were best for them and their child.  

I apologized for the way we attorneys sometimes act as if the dispute is our own; as if our relationship with Judge and opposing counsel is more important or compelling or fun than our interest in our clients; and, as if we know more about what's good for our clients' business (be it the business of running a family or a Fortune 500 company) than our clients do.  

By the time Mr. and Mrs. Keene arrived at the door of the Community Dispute Resolution Center, they were not simply exhausted and angry, they were nearly entirely disempowered.

"How do we 'de-power' our lawyers?" they asked.

"By taking your power back," I responded, alert again to my own inclinations to give unsolicited advice or raise problems only I might think the parties have. 

I've seen attorneys unite disputants before.  Early in my career, I observed the bitter progress of a case involving hundreds of millions of dollars in lost profits and a fight for the control of intellectual property worth more than a billion dollars.  After the parties had turned one another into the tax and custom authorities, they met without their white shoe attorneys, settled the case, and sued counsel for malpractice.

The Keenes left the mediation with an agreement in hand and their self-respect restored.   

I do not fault their attorneys.  I do not know what transpired before I arrived on the scene. 

I only know that at some point, the attorneys lost "control" of their clients by asserting too much of it. 


Comments (1)

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xt_blog - November 25, 2013 2:45 AM

The incoming , outgoing call records as well as the
times, dates and duration of the phone calls are all stored on the internal memory of the cell phone.
Soon after setting up the computer software, I was able to critique and access
all the incoming and outgoing calls which was recorded by the software program, the
text messages and the emails too. The first one to
go for their phone to check messages, make a call or even to check the weather,
ends up paying for the entire dinner bill.

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