Civility in Business Litigation

 

Fred Moore - Business Litigation Attorney, Florida Labor Attorney

Fred E. Moore, Board Certified in Business Litigation

My wife has a saying that goes like this: “Everything is personal.”  She means that for our family, in all things in our lives, we aim to interact with people on a genuine level.  Our firm culture at Blalock Walters reinforces this notion for me, because we, as a firm, strive to develop relationships with our clients and make a difference for you, in business, but also ultimately in your lives.  For some at the firm, this is a small leap to make; estate planning, real estate, and other transactional practice areas lend themselves to relationship building and teamwork towards a positive goal. Litigation inherently means conflict.  However, in this age of questionable civility and ethics, regardless of the circumstance, I, along with my litigation colleagues, must remain committed to keeping the personal in our interactions, and treating each other with respect.

The issue that is raised for litigators and our clients is what does civility and respect look like in an adversarial situation.  When a client finds themselves involved in litigation, they deserve the guidance and assistance of an attorney committed to the best representation for the client.  Part of providing that excellent guidance, however, is remaining true to the historical call of an attorney to serve as an example of the values we hope for in our community.  Below I have outlined three examples of how I remain dedicated to serve my client while treating my adversary with civility and respect.

 

At times the opposing party or attorney in a lawsuit may request an extension of time to file pleadings or schedule court dates or depositions.  Life happens to all of us, and in these situations, I look to the reasonableness of the request.  I consider whether granting the extension will adversely affect my client’s rights, and if the extension will not adversely affect my client’s rights, I grant the request.  Refusing the request without a legal reason to do is ultimately only reinforcing the negative feelings already involved and does not get my client any closer to resolving the problem he or she is facing.  Instead, extending grace to the opposing side may expedite resolution.

 

Clients often ask me why I don’t react to an overeager demeanor of opposing counsel in the courtroom with a similarly aggressive response.  Be mindful that someone is always watching; most notably, the judge or jury are watching.  Responding to unprofessionalism in the courtroom with unprofessionalism will not result in a more favorable outcome for my client, and will most assuredly leave everyone involved walking away angrier and more dissatisfied.

 

Finally, people involved in litigation are often hurt, and they want to address every grievance.  Part of providing excellent representation for my client is narrowing the issues in a case so that the client does not bear the expense or frustration of reliving every minute detail of the dispute.  Behind the scenes, I am working to bring a more narrow focus on the legal issues and resolve those issues expeditiously so that my client can continue to run his/her businesses without worrying about those details.  My clients can rest assured that I am working to move them out of the disruption as quickly and favorably as possible.

 

Litigation can be a trying time for a client.  Because at Blalock Walters we care about our clients on a personal and genuine level, my goal is to work with my clients to lead them to a resolution that they can feel good about.  That starts with not regretting how we behaved to get to that resolution.

To contact litigation attorney Fred Moore, email fmoore@blalockwalters.com or call 941.748.0100.