Embracing Compliance


When we began practicing law, we worked for a partner who believed in scorched-earth research. Every time we'd go to his office with our findings, he'd begin by asking what we had looked at: "Did you look at X? Did you look at Y? Did you look at Z?" As soon as we admitted we hadn't looked at something (it was all too often X) he bellowed and chased us out of his office. One thing he always told us to look at were law review articles. But he insisted that we look only at the first half of an article, where the problem was laid out and cases were discussed. He said we needn't bother with the last part, where some smug law student arrived at a 'solution' that was invariably at odds with reality and common sense.

We're afraid that we recently acted the part of smug law student when we authored a half-useful piece called "Anger Management." In it, we argued that jury anger, even when created by an obnoxious plaintiff lawyer, was harmful to a corporate defendant. A jury that is sympathetic to a plaintiff is tough, but you can still talk to them. If a jury is mad at you, they won't even listen.

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