At the insistence of a local judge, after more than two years of fighting and spending more than $100,000 on two other law firms, our client a small business owner called the Washington Firm for trial counsel. While the case had been badly managed before we were hired, we believed we could salvage the most valuable part of the nearly $1,000,000 breach of contract suit. As required of any good law firm, we dove into the case looking to protect our client’s interests as best we could. After about a year of prep work, numerous meetings with our client and his staff and reconstructing the entire series of contracts (which included complicated oil and gas interests as well as construction management issues), the case went to trial. For nearly a week we fought the two lawyers and their combined 60 years of experience. More than once before trial started they impolitely laughed as if to say we didn’t belong on such a complicated and valuable case. What they didn’t know, is we had tried more than 70 combined cases at that time.
As humbly as we could, we held our peace during the insults and prepared for trial. I used the skill and experience learned as a former assistant district attorney to ease the other side’s expert into a web of provable lies. Katrina used her background as a marketing manager to research the expert’s claims as he testified. The more he spoke, the more we smiled on the inside, we knew we had him. We used technology and trial experience to advocate for our client.
As witness after witness accused our client of mismanagement and came up with reason after reason not to pay the money and convey the property due to him, we exposed their lies, misconceptions and deceit. By the end of the week in trial and the submission of a dozen questions to the jury, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor on all questions in less than 15 minutes. The lawyers that once patronized us were visibly flustered. As the parties prepared to exit the courtroom, a key witness and corporate officer for the other side asked me for my business card and proclaimed, “You’re a bad boy! If we ever need another lawyer, we will call you.” Her lawyer looked on in disbelief. He clearly did not appreciate the gesture and vowed to appeal the verdict. After more than a year of appeals, the verdict was confirmed.
In more than 20 combined years of practice, we have learned to neither underestimate nor fear the opponent.