*These characters are fictional. Any resemblance is purely accidental. This is humour.
1. The pick’m-up-truck-driving small town litigator
Small’s number is written on the local jail cell wall. Besides the odd vacation and discovery, Small’s only ever known this little town with one traffic light. Small pulled some strings to get the county judge’s kid a try-out on the hockey team. The court registrar, bailiff, trial coordinator, and, heck, all the staff, know Small on a first name basis. Small doesn’t go through security because Small has a key to the side door into the library. At the hearing Small arrives in a worn but perfectly pressed robe. The judge greets Small first and they banter a bit. You think to yourself, correctly, that you best settle the file, cause you’re going to lose.
2. The litigate-by-letters litigator
Letters writes you a two-page single-spaced letter to schedule discoveries. Letters won’t agree to the order of witnesses, expert reports, mediator, and pre-trial date. Letters responds to your letters instantly with another letter. When Letters feels especially perky, he’ll write you two letters in the same day. You call Letters but only get the assistant who says the schedule is full today. You book a time to talk but when the time comes, the assistant calls you back to reschedule. Buckle down those dockets, cause you’re making money on this one. Not pleasantly, mind you, but you’re glad this one is billed by the hour.
3. The nice litigator
Nice is so pleasant to deal with. You ask for a waiver for timelines and Nice grants it quickly. You go to discoveries and your client loves Nice. Prior to mediation Nice calls you up, asks you how your dog’s doing, cause your dog was sick at discoveries, and you say Poochie’s just fine, thanks. Nice says your position is understandable and sets it out for you, and you nod even though Nice can’t see you. Sadly Nice’s client disagrees and you’re disappointed at the offer. Nice’ll try to get better number. At mediation your client doesn’t even feel bad when it doesn’t settle. At pre-trial you all chuckle with the judge and have a grand old time agreeing to disagree. At trial, you triumph inwardly as you give closing arguments, the trial went so smoothly. Turns out the jury thought Nice was real likeable too. You lose, with costs, and wonder what went wrong.
4. The mean litigator
When you greet Mean on the phone, Mean grunts. At discoveries Mean cross-examines and skewers your client, some, you confess, on key points. Mean sends you a notice of motion on a Friday. Mean takes a hard line at mediation, pulls nothing back in the opening, and you don’t settle. In fact your client buckles down and insists on a trial. Mean sends you a request to admit, notice of intention, and notice of motion on a… Friday. At the pre-trial Mean found a case just that morning for you to look at. At trial Mean’s cross-examination makes your client cry. Not just little tears but full-out cry. You look over at the jury and they are very sympathetic. Looks like you’re going to win this one.
5. The deal-maker litigator
You’ve got a complex file fit for a law school exam. Your assessment of the case, to your client’s anxiety, is it could be nothing, it could be millions. You writhe over every detail and wring your mind on how to resolve this thing. Not to worry. Deal-maker sets up a settlement call with you on Monday morning. Deal-maker opens cheerily with “this is a crazy file. Let’s make a deal and be practical here.” You both trade some numbers. Call your clients. The deal is done before lunchtime. You wipe your brow. You’re not sure if you just got your clock cleaned or if you should go buy champagne. Just do both.