Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Never Heard Anyone Say *That* To A Judge Before...

Today I represented some clients in a very tough negotiation. It was a family money dispute, the most difficult type of negotiation. With business clients, it's just about the money, and so very often it is easy to structure something both sides can live with. But with family, it's about emotions --about how your mom must think and feel about you when she demands interest on that loan; about how your dad must feel about you if he refuses to repay that money he borrowed; about what grandpa felt about each of you if he left one of you more money than the other in his will.... emotions run high.

The differences seem small. You think, they're only off by $5000 and 2% interest, can't we just split the difference? but no, no they can't, because giving that 2% interest means mom doesn't love you, and giving that $5000 means your son has forgotten everything you ever did for him in his whole life. With business clients, you'd be done if you got within $5,000 just by reminding them of the hourly fee you are charging to sit there. With family, it's just... harder somehow.

The Judge mediating today's settlement negotiation came into the room after speaking with the other side. He said the other side had essentially agreed to accept the terms we had just proposed (after 4 prior rounds of offers and counteroffers), except that they wanted one additional term.

My client deliberated and finally said, "OK, but you tell him that he has to kiss me now since he just f---d me!"

Never heard anyone say that to a Judge before....

.

11 comments:

Bella said...

oh gosh, I would be scared to say that to a Judge. First off having to take your own family members to court is an awful thing, I had to do that once, never again.

Adriana said...

Family and money is not a good combintation. I could never be a divorce attorney...talk about high emotions...ugh.

Gaston Studio said...

I ditto family and money not being a good combination. But I admire the response!

Fancy Schmancy said...

That is funny, what did the judge do?

LegalMist said...

Fancy - This particular Judge (like most) is actually very human. He laughed. :)

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I'd guess he did *not* actually relay those exact words to the folks in the other room.

Mr. Condescending said...

that was wonderful!!!!!!

Mr. Condescending said...

this is why I don't get married.

LegalMist said...

Mr. Condescending - welcome to my blog -- glad you liked the story!

John said...

Ugghh! Don't even get me started. My grandfather's estate was just settled about 6 months ago after 4 years of lawyers, guns, & money (well, lawyers, surveyors & money more accurately) that turned out exactly the way it would have 4 years prior had it been settled amicably in one evening around the dining room table. Every family has one greedy bitch, who thinks they're entitled to it all.

Johnny Yen said...

I have a friend whose family members are fighting over their parents' estate. They've burned off a lot of the value of the estate in lawyer fees. Ah, family.

A few years ago, my parents asked me to be the executor of their estate should something happen to them. As I requested, everything goes to the grandchildren, for college. Oh, except for three dollars-- one dollar each for my brothers and I. They know that they are counting on getting my parents' money eventually. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I present them with their checks.

Jan @ Struck by Serendipity said...

That's awesome! lol