Negotiating with Belligerent Opposing Counsel

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Initially, I tried letting him vent. When he wound down and I responded, however, he launched into another ear-splitting  tirade. In a very calm voice, I said, “I’m going to hang up the phone now. Call me back when you have calmed down, and we can discuss it further.” I pushed the disconnect button.

The phone rang immediately, and the screaming began again. I responded calmly, even gently, “I’m going to hang up again. Call me back when you calm down.”

The third call began with him yelling, “Stop treating me like a child!”
“I will,” I reassured him, “when you stop acting like one.” I quietly hung up again.

A few minutes passed before he initiated the fourth call. This time he spoke in a moderated voice, and we resumed our negotiations. We were able to keep our negotiations civil after that. Whenever he teetered on the verge of losing his temper, I just got quiet. He reigned himself in. Read more «Negotiating with Belligerent Opposing Counsel»

Hear Debra on Wednesday, July 18 at South Texas College of Law at Noon.

On Wednesday, July 18, 2012, Debra will be speaking at South Texas College of Law from 12:00pm to 1:00 pm.  

Join Debra as she participates in a one hour panel:  Your In-House Career.  (1.0 hour)  Your future:  Moving up or out?,  What’s best for me?,  Dig your well now!

This is part of STCL’s 4th annual In-House Counsel Conference.

Further information is available at stcl.educle/clc.html and (713)646-1757 or (800)646-1253

1303 San Jacinto, Garrett-Townes Hall, Houston, TX 77002



Have You Noticed What Siri Can Do for a Solo Attorney?

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

The iPhone 4S added a much advertised voice-activated feature called “Siri,” which performs tasks that legal blogger Ernie the Attorney called “purely magical”  because Siri allows you to avoid typing on that tiny keyboard. Lawyers can speak to Siri to transcribe dictation into an email, a text message or a document. Siri can do web searches or answer any question that the website can calculate.  Siri can provide weather forecasts and locate nearby office supply stores or other retail establishments for the lawyer on the go. You can ask Siri what time your dinner engagement is tonight, and then Siri can call your spouse so you can say you’re running late…again.

A busy lawyer can use Siri a bit like a personal assistant that keeps track of your appointments and answers questions you don’t have time to look up. That assumes, of course, that Siri understands you and you get an adequate signal wherever you are.  A lawsuit is pending by a New York man alleging that Siri does not perform to the level advertised in television commercials. I have to agree, but it’s still better than typing on a tiny smartphone keyboard. I expect future improvements. One day I will even be able to say “lawyer” to Siri instead of “attorney.” Currently when I say “lawyer,” Siri hears “law year,” “law you’re,” “logger” and even “Liger,” but rarely “lawyer.”

If you have an Android smart phone, many of the same or similar features were available in Voice Actions for Android long before Apple came out with Siri. Samsung has announced a new Siri-like voice activated app “S Voice” on its new Android smartphone Galaxy S III. So, using your smartphone like a personal assistant may be old hat to many solo attorneys. But, have you thought about using Siri (or Voice Actions) as your advertising agency? Read more «Have You Noticed What Siri Can Do for a Solo Attorney?»