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Always Be Intentional

Being a plaintiffs' lawyer, a Motion to Dismiss gets my attention quickly.

We file a suit, serve it and then wait for the response. Careful as we are, we still worry about having screwed up or missed something. Hence, seeing just a straight up answer is always a relief.

Recently, we got responsive pleadings which included a Motion to Dismiss. Of course, I focused on that immediately.

It didn't take long to conclude that the motion was ill-founded. The other side had ignored (or was ignorant of) the statute that allowed us to file the suit the way we did.

Moreover, we still had plenty of time on the statute of limitations, so even if the motion had been a legitimate one, we could have fixed the problem easily.

My heart rate slowed down. We discussed a plan to address the situation and I went on about my business.

As I thought about it later, I wonder what the other side had hoped to accomplish with its misplaced effort.

On the one hand, not knowing the applicable law is not good, but all of us get it wrong sometimes. Accordingly, I didn't get very excited about the basic legal analysis error.

On the other hand, assuming they filed the motion in good faith - and I had no reason to think otherwise - I was at a loss to understand the point of the effort.

At most, this motion (if valid) would have caused us to incur another filing fee and delay the whole process by a month or two.

So what.

We would have been a bit embarrassed, but I don't see that that would have done much for the defendant.

This episode is a good reminder that we always have to be intentional. A good trial lawyer must think both tactically and strategically - and act accordingly.

If some action or approach does not benefit your client's interest, there is no reason to go there.

Tweaking your opponent or showing how smart you are does not, in and of itself, do anything for your client.

As trial lawyers, every step we take should have a good reason for it - one that helps our client.


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