So, rather than pay for my own attorney, I just bought Google AdWords for their name (which, luckily, was too general to be a real TM). I set up a simple page that explained how they behaved and how they were indeed suing me - complete with scanned documents.
They took it up with Google, who just asked that I rephrase my ad. I did. Then they called me, saying they would sue me for slander. I laughed. Then they called me, asking what I wanted to take it down ASAP. I said: drop this nonsense. Never call me again. I'll do the same.
Worked like a charm.
If I had gone the traditional route of finding an attorney, it would have cost thousands. I think my total cost on Google was < $100.
They also don't allow things like, "Pepsi tastes better than Coke" for what it's worth.
So they sued you. Didn't that cost you?
This is the approach I've used on the Bedbug Registry for about three years. We get about two intimidating letters a month from some fairly large hotel chains.
Making legal threats directly to an attorney is about as good an idea as the lawyer threatening that he will hack your server. Resist the temptation to get in over your head.
In that case, forcing the businessperson to run their lawyer clock and lose money by hour and getting nothing pragmatically useful back goes a long ways. In your case, you're up against bureaucracies with deep pockets, so that strategy wouldn't work as well. Also, savvy businesspeople tend to recognize "intelligently crazy" and become a lot more wary when coming across that personality type.
Someone at the HR/legal department might not flinch at at burning $20,000 in legal fees for a moral victory if they're antagonized, but in the commercial real estate world, they'd back off from that. You gotta understand the context and leverage and desires of everyone involved - in this article's case, it's not about antagonizing the lawyer so much as sending a clear message to their client ("I'm going to force you to pay lots of money in legal fees and not even flinch") - usually at that point it's not worth bringing a case, because the opportunity cost of many burnt hours and running your lawyer clock while the other side isn't running theirs is scary. And it doesn't even guarantee you'll get anything. Context, leverage, motivations - always gotta consider those. This advice is very good in the relevant contexts.
I feel sorry for those who take legal advice from people who are not lawyers.
I always thought "This is so wrong I'm not going to criticize it" was a pretty lame way to disagree. Also, there's no speculation - it's real world stuff that worked for him from a guy who is rather successful...
Edit, one more:
> I feel sorry for those who take legal advice from people who are not lawyers.
Actually, I disagree with this. Don't just take advice from lawyers on dealing with lawyers - their advice tends to skew a certain way (usually towards more billable hours). Advice from successful businesspeople on dealing with lawyers is very valuable too.
Then there is the speculation as to the mental state of the opponent and the attorney. The part about attorney's hanging up on the guy because he's "crazy" and it's "not worth pursuing legal action" is just complete crap. The facts, the potential damages, and most importantly, this guys ability to pay determine whether or not it's worth the time. If an attorney has hung up on him, its because he's a crank.
Look, it's a simple cost-benefit analysis. This guy probably has situational facts that support his case, such that it's not worth it for the opponent to pursue litigation. Or it's possible he couldn't pay the damages anyway and the opponent couldn't take possession of the property. There's lots of possibilities... depending on the facts. You would never know that from the frothy tone of this piece.
Finally, there's the speculative gem that it will never get in front of the judge. Trust me, all those pesky "case numbers" and "laws" that the attorney has been compiling are really going to suck for this guy once a judge sees them.
I could go on and on, and take this one paragraph at a time. But it's not worth it. Long story short, take legal advice from lawyers. Likewise, accounting advise from accountants, design advise from designers, and so on.
> Finally, there's the speculative gem that it will never get in front of the judge.
But it's not speculation - we're talking about a guy who made millions of dollars as a broker for massively large deals for half a decade, who never saw a case go all the way to court. In this context, forcing the other side to keep paying legal fees while you laugh it off works well.
I agree with the rest of your comment - context matters - but I think you might've missed the context written about here.
You've kind of missed the whole point of the article. He's not giving legal advice; he's giving practical advice regarding a situation that at heart has nothing to do with the law.
There are cases where the law really matters, but the kind of bullshit 'lawyering' he's talking about is probably 90% of what certain types of contract lawyers do for a living.
The main thing to be aware of here is you have to know when you're dealing with that other 10% that might in fact be a real, legitimate legal dispute that could in theory go all the way to a trial. [edit: and if you don't realize before you get the call that you're in that situation, then I really do feel sorry for you...]
She did agree that one shouldn't be intimidated by lawyers (or anyone else) but this isn't the way you go about it.
I think that's the point. He makes it pretty clear that he considers the chances of this actually reaching court as close to enough to zero.
> not because of these shenanigans.
The 'shenanigans' obviously saves at least a short consult and by refusing to dignify the claim with a proper legal response (and doing so confidently) he may be saving an extended and costly engagement.
Of course if the claim actually does go to court you've disadvantaged yourself considerably.
Two more points:
1) It's almost impossible for people to not be emotional when someone is threatening them with a lawsuit and that's why it's always better to have your lawyer communicate on your behalf.
2) The part I do agree with is (which he didn't say, but it came through loud and clear) DO NOT be a pussy when someone threatens you. And, DO NOT ignore them. If they are crazy or being irrational, a logical response from you won't help. If they found a lawyer dumb enough to represent them, you need to be ready to bring out the full nuclear assault in your response.
I've been sued before, named in other people's suits, threatened hundreds (literally) of times with suits and while I often take his approach, I'm ready to put up if I have to. And I've learned that if I put up, you better be prepared for the full nuclear response that I will dole out. Once I'm being sued or named in a lawsuit, the handshakes are gone and only the swords remain. I will drag every email, text message, conversation, witness you have ever dealt with related to the matter.
Of course, if I'm in the wrong, I'll settle immediately. And I hope I never have someone so upset with me over something legitimate that they feel a lawsuit is their best recourse. To date, I've never been sued over anything legitimate and I've never lost a suit against me. The other party has always either settled, withdrawn their complaint, or never moved to a full-blown lawsuit.
I'll never forget the answer one gave me, "Look Daniel, lawyers are not like doctors. A doctor helps you fight a disease. Lawyers, on the other hand, fight other people. Every time you employ a lawyer in litigation, if he is successful, somebody else suffers. That means that there are going to be a lot of people out there who don't like lawyers"
Lawyers exist to fight. That's their job. Even if they don't have a case ("If you have the law on your side, yell about the law, if you have the facts on your side, yell about the facts. If you have neither, just yell"
I don't know if I would go making phone calls, but I would sure as hell poke back at a lawyer if he poked at me. I would like to think that folks like us with lots of ability to assimilate technical details could at least make some kind of showing -- perhaps enough to run them the ones off who are just bluffing.
Lawyers fight? We are not from the same hood...
Lawyers are fighting and downvoting is spanking. Naughty boy will not say bad things about honorable professions again. I promise.
Actually, there's a maximum number of times you can downvote someone, presumably so people can't vendetta against someone if they get their feelings hurt. So, maybe they can't do it.
Sidenote: I think Steve Pavlina created a joke word for people who are totally normal and in control, and then flip out randomly over nothing online in a comment thread - "Kittywompus." I'm not sure where the word came from (maybe he had a cat that was relaxed most of the time but then flipped out occasionally?), but it's definitely a real phenomenon.
I still don't understand the roots of it myself, on the rare occasions I get upset online I close my laptop up and go out for a walk... it's like a circuit breaker, "oh shit, I'm losing the ability to think clearly, I better get out of the environment" - I think most people have something like this, but maybe a few lack this circuit breaker?
I didn't just dowmod, I flagged your account.
"An unlikely piece of British legal history occurred in the case Arkell v. Pressdram.
The plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and for a change the magazine Private Eye had ample evidence to back up the article.
Arkell’s lawyers wrote a letter in which, unusually, they said: “Our client’s attitude to damages will depend on the nature of your reply”.
The response consisted, in part, of the following: “We would be interested to know what your client’s attitude to damages would be if the nature of our reply were as follows : Fuck off”."
In UK legal circles a polite way of telling someone to fuck off is to refer them to Arkell v. Pressdram.
If you do get a letter from a lawyer, the first rule is never telephone. Do everything in writing.
You basically have three choices: ignore the letter, respond to the letter in writing, or hire your own attorney to respond. A letter from a lawyer is usually a shot across the bow. Sometimes it ends there. If you get sued, you must hire an attorney right away.
You can try writing your own letter, but it is better to hire an attorney. If you think the letter has no merits, ignore it and wait to see if they sue.
I think you just want to appear to them as a bind alley with no money at the end so they'll just move along to greener pastures. Better than just yelling profanity back at them might be a hard-core "we don't negotiate with terrorists" kind of stance.
Another guy, a doctor, threatened to report me to the bar association. I responded by reporting him to the medical board. His license was suspended for making threats. Last I heard, he'd been forced to declare bankruptcy.
Another guy simply refused to cooperate with a lawsuit. I guess he was trying to prevent the case from going to trial. Problem for him was that if the case had gone to trial, we wouldn't have won nearly as much as we ended up winning in the default judgment (which does not require the other party to show up).
Most lawyers who handle litigation do so because they enjoy litigation. You try the stunts this guy recommends in his blog post, and they will eat you alive. So take his "advice" with a grain of salt.
There was no suggestion of keeping this attitude in court. And there was a huge disclaimer only to use it for fending off assholes with no real case.
So, threatening to report a laywer to the bar association is not allowed by the medical board?
At the time, I was a law student assisting a lawyer in a medical malpractice case. The doctor threatened to make negative statements about my moral character to the bar association in what I assume was an attempt to prevent my admission to the bar.
On its own, that would not have been enough to get him suspended. However, it was the final straw, and it was the straw the board chose to mention when they suspended him. I always thought it was weird that they went with that as opposed to the crap he'd put his patients through.
Which, I think is contrary to the point of the original article. The original article makes the assumption that you are, in fact,merely getting bullied, and that the lawyer approaching you is threatening you.
Your stories would have more weight if you were bullying people who had done no wrong at the request of your client.
A few points I'd like to clarify:
I'm not advocating bluffing, I'm advocating standing up for yourself. That's ultimately what this article is about, and perhaps why it's getting the reaction it has.
Attorneys are smart to intimidate people into settling large amounts of money over absolute bullshit. Because too often it works. Most people who work hard to build their life and savings are too confused and afraid of the law to adequately fight back and defend themselves.
Attorneys are hated because they're in a great position. They get to attack you with no repercussions. In fact the more fighting there is, the more they benefit. You will need to get creative to gain leverage and find their pressure points.
Once someone is attacking you and you're in a fight, you either grow some balls and take some risks, or you bend over.
I will repeat: If you've done someone wrong, you deserve to pay. This advice is not meant for someone in the wrong. This is about standing up to legal intimidation as a negotiating tool. From my experience that is what most legal action has been about. If you've ripped people off and they're suing you, I hope you get fucked, and I fully support the lawyer that will help do the fucking.
I would never tell a moderately reasonable attorney to "eat shit and go fuck yourself". I tell that to the hardcore condescending assholes. I've done it many times. It has NEVER defused the situation. They always get pissed and riled up. That's fine with me because they were already uncooperative and hostile to begin with. This is not a bluff technique, I'm making it clear that being a dick is not a productive way to deal with me. And since, in my experience, their cases have always been vague or based on bullshit, their ONLY options left after that are to pursue trial on a weak case, or become friendlier.
If you're willing to look a monster in the eyes, you just might find out he has no teeth.
The whole time I was reading your article I kept thinking about the recent stories and discussion about kids being bullied. I've tried to teach my kids not to pick fights, to play nice, but to always stand up for themselves and other kids who are being picked on. That's how I read your article; don't pick fights, but always stand up for yourself.
My take is that this was written from a perspective where there has never been anything really significant at stake to make a legal claim about. Small claims are usually personal; negotiating a $MM settlement is usually not.
Attorneys have gone through extra years of school at considerable expense, and endured grueling hours to pay their dues. They want to get paid for it. They don't usually care if they damage or ruin your life unjustly.
That's why people need to know how to stand up to them