Why Litigation is But a Business Tool – 26 Unbreakable Rules of Litigation!

From Bill Gates at the end of the last century to John D. Rockefeller at the end of the last century; from Columbia Health Care founder Rick Scott to AT&T: from Richard Branson and British Airways to Dan Peña and the Financial Times; from governments, banks , insurance and every other aspect of world commerce – litigation must be used (carefully) and mastered if it is to grow geometrically and remain stable.

I will describe the main points of using litigation as a business tool as briefly as possible.

Before I start, I want to put it on the record, 50% of my 30 year litigation record has nothing to do with winning money, i.e. many lawsuits are out of principle, some are to correct heinous wrongs such as defamation of my Speech; some because one entity just needs a good retribution and no one else will carry the flag to fight.

Like Don Quixote, I have fought windmills many times.

As you’ve heard me say and write, when building your “dream team” you need a Big 5 accountant and a large national or international law firm – the best you can’t afford represent!

Unlike the success-oriented fees that I guide you to use when closing a deal, no law firm will initially sue on this basis.

Maybe if your situation is particularly serious, they’ll deal with it as an emergency. Unfortunately, you will use litigation as a positioning tool from time to time, and your case may not be something you can take advantage of seriously.

A year or two ago, I got stuck and had to file a lawsuit, and the case offered specious facts at best to support the outcome I wanted. Fortunately, our (my) apparent desire to litigate outweighed their desire to fight hard, so a better resolution was reached in the end.

Of course, along the way, my excellent attorney advised us that our case needed to be stronger, etc. Even with great lawyers, it’s their job to tell you the downside. Again, what happens is that you are often afraid to pursue your case.

Good lawyers win so-so lawsuits. Great lawyers can win lawsuits that you have little or no chance of winning.

Three of my favorite litigators over the years are Steve Susman and Cyrus Marter IV of Susman Godfrey in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle, and Tim Harris of Charleston Revich & Williams in Los Angeles. All three dug me out of some pretty big black holes.

I have dealt with them for 10 and 20 years respectively. They are worth every penny they charge!

Our justice system works, but we grow up terrified of it. It’s out of our comfort zone, so we can’t benefit from it. Often, the costs associated with it keep us from using it.

In fact, I am currently embroiled in a lawsuit in which the rights of ancillary participants in the lawsuit have been severely violated. A large group of people can be stressful, but they are intimidated by previous bad experiences. They get what they deserve but are not pursuing their best interests.

There are lawyers who take on cases for humanitarian reasons, if the case requires it, also in business, i.e. big corporations take advantage of the system just because of its size.

Why are you suing, are you the plaintiff? As a plaintiff, you choose where and when the lawsuit will be filed, and may ultimately be decided.

This can be a huge advantage. Second, the plaintiff is allowed to make two closing arguments, which means you (your attorney) can speak to the judge and/or jury again and again after the defendant’s closing arguments. It can also be very important.

26 Unbreakable Rules of Litigation

#1 Choose your battles

#2 Choose a venue

#3 Become a Plaintiff

#4 Have the best performance

#5 Listen to your heart

#6 Don’t listen to your upset stomach when you’re out of your comfort zone

#7 Don’t listen to relatives, friends, etc.

#8 Hear from seasoned litigators – like me!

#9 In general, don’t worry about cost (it’s very hard!)

#10 Big lawsuits are better than small ones

#11 Elected jury trials, only for judges

#12 Preparation (yours) is everything – get the facts

#13 Practice Forensics and Trials

#14 If you’re thinking of a better strategy, get a new lawyer (not the case with me)

#15 Never give up

#16 Don’t be intimidated by the process

#17 Use a mock trial (a trial where you pretend you are in front of a hired jury)

#18 Dress simply and conservatively in court – no jewelry other than wedding rings; white shirts, plain ties and dark suits for men and matching suits for women; short hair for men

#19 Don’t lose your temper in court – it’s okay to cry if it’s true

#20 Put your spouse in the front row every day. If possible, so can the kids.Other family members in the second row are fine

#21 No references to the media other than “We believe in our case and that’s why we go to court.” Your words can easily be changed.

#22 When you are having lunch or taking a break, remember to never talk about the case in public – you never know who might be eavesdropping

#23 When you find a winning legal team, get in touch with them

#24 No matter what happens, tell the truth. The truth will set you free.

#25 Look at the camera and the jury during videotaped testimony and in court. eye contact.

#26 When testifying at a testimonial/trial, if you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know it

This is the closed world of top litigators. Almost all large law firms have good to super good lawyers. All the big law firms don’t have good litigators. You don’t always need a great lawyer, but sometimes if you grow exponentially, you will.

Like any other project management, litigation must be managed. Unfortunately, like public speaking, you go through a learning curve to become a great litigator.

I’m not saying you have to put in a losing effort (like giving a bad speech so it’s a while before you can give a great speech) to win in court. Large law firms will put you ahead of the learning curve.

The Quantum Leap methodology talks sickeningly about following your dreams. A life without dreams is like a bird with broken wings, it cannot fly. I wrote this newsletter because sometimes you need a lawsuit to make your dreams come true.

Get out there and kick ass, don’t let conventional wisdom stop you from living your dreams.

The conventional wisdom is not to litigate.

As I write this, all the high performers and great organizations of the past hundred years are in litigation.

Don’t take legal action lightly — but don’t be afraid either.

For your quantum leap,

Daniel S. Locke, senior

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