Yesterday I went to court for a motion hearing and the other lawyer clearly was in the wrong. She had not sent the interrogatories, despite filing the notice of discovery. We had sent her two letters after the notice of the filing telling her we didn’t receive it and she ignored it. She filed a motion on behalf of her client for child support and made a number of allegations that we disputed. Run of the mill domestic litigation. As soon as I sat down she began attacking me.
It is so easy to respond in kind. One thing I’ve learned is to prevent the attitude of my adversary from affecting me. Instead stay grounded in your position and be willing to respond with strength but not in anger. First of all, why would you be angry over something that doesn’t really affect you? Yes, we care about our clients (or we should) but blood pressure boiling conversations over discovery and child support arrearage shouldn’t happen.
While in the hallway, I asked her, “Why are you pissed off at me?” She began a litany of excuses (HA don’t make excuses, but that’s another lesson), one of which that she was hormonal. I told her she need not talk to me with such rage and accusation. It wasn’t me that had not paid support. She continued to rail for a moment, and I said I am not going to negotiate with you when you are acting like this.
I was not going to become part of her anger. It was close … I had to sit quietly for a minute without saying anything or I would have gone into attack mode – which would have ruined my afternoon. Ultimately, as we left, she apologized several times for her behavior.
Remember, don’t take it personally. You are a professional and when you are dealing with opposing counsel be courteous and keep your emotions at bay.