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Fighting (1)

Litigation lawyers fight. If a lawyer is not generally fighting, he/she is not in litigation. Sometimes the lawyer is fighting for a plaintiff and sometimes the lawyer is fighting for the defendant.

Some lawyers find they invariably fight for plaintiffs and other lawyers find they invariably fight for defendants. The distribution of business in the “legal market for services” explains patterns like this.

Some firms of solicitors have one client only; an insurance company, say. The requirement of an insurance company (or a bank), for legal services, is substantial.

The fighting takes place in the context of legal proceedings.

What is it like to be involved in legal proceedings?

The answer is not straightforward; after all, what is the answer to the question, “What is it like to be in a fight?”.

It invites the reply, “What kind of a fight?”

There is no comparison between a soldier coming in to land on OMAHA BEACH in Normandy, on D-Day 1944, and a brawl in the local pub. Yet both are “fights”.

Or, to take another example, consider Gary Cooper in “HIGH NOON” with his shoot-out on the Main Street and compare it with the reality of the WILD WEST; most shootings consisted of sneak assassinations from darkened laneways.

Perhaps the term “fighting” is wrong; perhaps “contest” is closer to reality, as a description of what the process is like. If so, the phrase “unequal contest” springs to mind. Many legal proceedings are unequal contests.

The reasons for the inequality are many. From a lawyer’s point of view, the problem may be like that of a chess player drafted into the chess game after the game has started. Fatal strategic decisions may have been made and the positions on the CHESS board now reflect that.

By whom have the fatal mistakes been made? Possibly the opponent, possibly the lawyer’s client.

Metaphorically speaking, assume the fatal mistakes have been made by the opponent but the game is underway in a five-star hotel and will last ten days or thereabouts. You have a winning position, but do you have the money to book a room in the HOTEL for ten days?

Whatever about the strategic errors on the board, the opponent will immediately perceive your lack of resources and drag the game out. Like HENRY COOPER, you (metaphorically) have a weak eyebrow. The opponent will punch you there, you will bleed (metaphorically), and the referee will stop the fight, in his favour.

Furthermore, prior to that, being Henry Cooper, you have knocked your opponent down; he pleads, (to gain time and recover), that his gloves are torn, and he needs them replaced!