A Life Lesson On Whom To Trust

So, this doesn’t really have anything to do with the kingdom per se.

I’m going off topic.

But I was recently hired to defend a company sued in an overtime case by a young attorney who used to work in the same building with me. In fact, because he was a young attorney and knew I was a specialist in employment law, he would ask me for advice on and questions about employment law.

When I was hired to represent the defendant in this case, because of our cordial relationship, I thought it would be an enjoyable experience working with him. Boy was I wrong.

As it turns out, he won’t agree to anything—even the most basic rudimentary procedural protocols that everyone agrees to—because he seems to think I (or my staff) always have an ulterior motive. I thought it bizarre that someone who so eagerly sought my advice just a few months before would so eagerly distrust me or others in my office on the simplest of issues. I also thought it odd because I have a reputation for being a straight shooter.

So, one of my associate attorneys decided to do some research on this attorney.

What we found was interesting. Apparently, the last law firm he worked for sued him because  when he was fired (apparently for a personality conflict with firm partner) he allegedly attempted to steal their clients by surreptitiously writing a letter to them asking if they would choose to move their cases to him rather than keep them with the firm. No bueno.

Then I thought through the other things he had done our litigation, like delaying in responding to my emails about a motion I was going to file with the court so he could file before me and preempt my argument, going out of his way in filings with the court to make personal attacks on me with exaggerated and false accusations, and more recently, disclosing to the judge the substance of our settlement negotiations (such discussions are generally considered confidential and lawyers with integrity do not disclose them to the judge). Again, no bueno.

A pattern had emerged. He was not trustworthy, and he lacked integrity, but more pertinent to this post, he made the assumption that everyone else was like him.

This was not a revelation to me; I have seen the pattern in others in the past, but I was slow to see it this time because of the backstory I shared with this young attorney. You don’t have to make the same mistake.

Bottom line: Never trust anybody who doesn’t trust anybody. GS


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