Tips from the Top

When adverse counsel lies about the record, don’t call your adversary a “liar.” Suggest, instead, that adverse counsel has “overlooked” a fact, “misread” the record, or “forgotten” certain testimony. To be kind, you can add “inadvertently.” To be mean, as was once done to me, you can add “perhaps” before “inadvertently.” The latter will never win you friends and is unlikely to persuade the court. It’s always better to practice acts of kindness — whether random or planned. In the rare case, where neither side will back down about its recollection and tempers are threatening to flare, you might simply say, “Here is the page (or exhibit) number, the Court will have to review it and decide for itself.” But use that only as a last resort.


Roger D. Townsend, Alexander Dubose Jones & Townsend LLP