*Reproduced in part with permission by Marc Weinstein, Esquire, a gentleman and dedicated advocate.
As we begin to work together, we offer a brief overview of our approach to litigation that we hope you will find helpful. We take great pride in maintaining collegial relations with opposing counsel and we are proud of the fact that many referrals have come from attorneys against whom we have litigated. Although we are committed to zealously representing our client, we appreciate you are similarly committed to your client and we pledge to cooperate so that you may have a full and fair chance to defend your client’s interests. Generally, our approach to discovery, trial and professional courtesy is set forth below:
E-mail is the quickest way to get in touch with us. Many times we are out of the office for court or to meet clients. If matters are moving particularly fast, or items are otherwise time-sensitive, we will provide our cell phone number.
We welcome receipt of all correspondence and documents by e-mail. We prefer to send everything exclusively via e-mail, but if you need it sent by snail mail, we will be happy to oblige.
We try to be very accommodating in considering and responding to discovery requests. We recognize you need to thoroughly explore topics related to liability and damages, and our approach reflects this understanding.
- Written Discovery
All discoverable information and documentation will be supplied on a timely basis. Supplementing responses will also be timely. We try to strip out the legalese and get right to the point. We urge you to do the same.
We believe the party who has to prepare a deponent should be given the courtesy to have the deposition in their office. Some courts have local rules that contradict our deposition location philosophy. However these rules may be changed by agreement. We believe a fair minded approach which recognizes the time needed for witness preparation should take precedence. In Philadelphia County there is no local rule and our office is only 300 feet from the Philadelphia/Bucks County border.
- Discovery Disputes
We are convinced that lawyers in personal injury litigation law should be able to avoid almost all discovery disputes. We will go beyond the applicable rule requirements to both accommodate your requests, and to try and hash out any disputes. If we can’t get it resolved, and if the Judge’s procedures allow it, we suggest one of us send a letter to the Court asking for a telephone conference.
- Dispositive Motions
We all know the standard for summary judgment. Plaintiff (our client) is to have disputed facts viewed in her favor, and is to get the benefit of reasonable inferences from those facts. Please do not submit to the Court a fact that is squarely contradicted by other record evidence. Similarly if we submit a fact that is not supported by the record evidence, or goes clearly beyond any reasonable inference, please bring it to our attention and we will correct it.
Please keep in mind that before we file a lawsuit, we have carefully reviewed it and believe it has substantial merit. If you think our case is flawed as a matter of law, please let us know and we will go back and take another look. If you are correct, we will acknowledge it and take whatever corrective action is necessary.
We believe it is a Plaintiff’s obligation to provide a settlement demand upon the request of opposing counsel and that the demand should reflect the strength of the case, the extent of the client’s losses and projected losses. As the case proceeds, we usually adjust the demand consistent with these factors.
- Professional Courtesy
We cannot recall ever objecting to a colleague’s request for an extension to respond to a motion or court deadline. We doubt we ever would. Some pettifogger once opposed, unsuccessfully, our request for an extension and you never forget that lack of civility.
If we have made a mistake on something we filed with the Court, please let us know and we will correct it.
Please do not ambush us at the end of discovery with documents and witness disclosures that should have been shared long before. We will not do it to you.
We all work hard and down time is critical to carry on our professional responsibilities. A request for vacation or a personal day off is sacrosanct to us and a request will not be opposed unless irreversible prejudice would occur.
Finally, we all know that the practice of law often entails brutal deadlines, tons of tension and high stakes. Nonetheless, let’s try to enjoy what we’re doing and the broad use of humor often helps us do so. There will be the occasional use of wittiness, sarcasm and bad jokes.
We look forward to working with you.Gillman Legal
10 Lake Center Executive Park
401 Route 73 North, Suite 204
Marlton, NJ 08053