Jun 13, 2006 Engaging in battle without anger
Some opposing lawyers are so unpleasant that I advise my clients in advance about them, and explain that their expressed anger and irritation and intimidation tactics often are feigned or exaggerated, and, when not feigned, often result from the opponents’ fear, with a bunch of fire-spewing from a cowardly ersatz wizard behind a curtain in Oz. At first blush, it is irritating to know that so many opposing lawyers and others do not give a damn about justice and fairness, but that is human nature to have so many people like that
Whenever dealing with opponents, I do my best to apply the lessons of t’ai chi, and Cheng Man Ching, who developed the t’ai chi chuan short form that I practice, and to apply his lessons of eliminating any anger towards the opponent. To do otherwise is to bring on tension, fear, and, ultimately, weakness. Not to be crass, but not many people would get angry at the tiger making the attack. The main reason that people get angry at other people’s viciousness is feeling disappointed, at the very least, that the opponent does not appear to give a damn about fairness and justice. We are stronger when we reduce our expectations of others, while still trying to motivate them towards our side, and while still keeping hope that one day they will see the light of justice and fairness.
During the last few days, I have dealt with a couple of very unpleasant opponents, to say the least. Applying the lessons of t’ai chi with them has served me well. For more about this approach, see here and here. By Jon Katz.