The Machiavellian Lawyer once said:
[Like this post? It's one of many included in my book How to Feed a Lawyer (And Other Irreverent Oberservations from the Legal Underground). Details here.]
It is commonly thought that lawyers should be “civil” with one another, meaning they should concede ground to their opponents merely because as lawyers, they're all secretly in league with one another.
In a typical scenario, a lawyer will receive a call from his opponent asking for an “extension of time” a few weeks before an important brief is due. A sense of professional courtesy will prevent the first lawyer from asking the second why the extension is needed. But if asked, the second lawyer will freely admit the truth: The extension is needed because he is taking a much-needed ski vacation to the Rocky Mountains, his third this year.
It will remind the first lawyer that he too is much in need of a ski vacation. So like a buffoon, he will accede to the request without further inquiry. After all, isn’t he likely to need an extension himself very soon?
The wise lawyer knows the value of a good horse trade. When the opposing lawyer asks for a favor, the wise lawyer will reflexively answer no. This will evoke panic in his opponent and increase the wise lawyer’s bargaining position. After some time has passed, the wise lawyer will “reconsider” his position but ask for something concrete in return. He might ask his opponent to answer the discovery requests to which his opponent just filed lengthy and baseless objections. He might ask his opponent to agree to an amended pleading without having to seek leave of court. He might ask his opponent to stipulate to the admissibility of the plaintiff’s medical records at trial.
Remember it well: Only fools engage in lawyerly “civility” without being sure to get something in return.