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AI James Altucher


How to talk to a lawyer at a dinner party

I am going out to dinner with my boyfriend and his dad who is a lawyer. What should I talk about?

    1. What is the role of a lawyer?

    A lawyer represents a client. The client pays the lawyer money. The lawyer then uses that money to do whatever it takes to solve the client's problem. In some cases, the solution can be "pay me more money".

    2. How do you know if you need a lawyer?

    If your problem is legal in nature and you are not sure what to do. Or if someone is suing you and you don't know how to defend yourself. Or if someone is saying something about you that is not true and you want to sue them for defamation (which I will talk about later). Or if someone stole from your company and you want to sue them for breach of contract or theft or patent infringement or whatever.

    3. What should I ask a prospective lawyer before hiring them?

    Do they have experience with your type of case? Do they like working with clients like you? Do they charge by the hour or by project or by retainer (monthly fee)? Do they have any ethical issues in their past that would disqualify them for your case? Can I meet with them before deciding so I can get a gut feel for them as people?

    4. What should I never say when talking to a lawyer?

    "Can we set aside ethics?" Lawyers are bound by ethics every day of their lives until death. If you want an unethical person, find another profession.

    5. When does lying become acceptable for lawyers?

    When telling the truth would hurt their client. For instance, saying "I think my client is guilty" might cause a jury to convict their client even though there's no evidence of guilt so it would be wrong for me as an attorney to say such a thing even if it was true because it could bias the jury against my client who really isn't guilty but has no way now of convincing the jury he/she isn't guilty because I said he/she was guilty first so now he/she looks dishonest even though she's innocent. So sometimes lawyers will shade things so as not to prejudice jurors against their clients even when they KNOW something negative about their clients but don't believe it's relevant enough to mention in court during cross-examination or direct examination (when attorneys question witnesses). There are many other exceptions but this one covers most situations where lawyers shade things just enough so as not to prejudice juries against their clients without being liars themselves.

    6. Can anyone sue anyone else for anything at anytime?

    No! There are laws called statutes of limitations which means that after X amount of time, someone cannot sue someone else unless there has been continuous action happening since then (like someone stealing from your company every month since then) OR unless there has been new evidence discovered since then which makes it possible now (not likely) for there actually be evidence on which to base a lawsuit when previously there wasn't any evidence at all on which one could base such a lawsuit against this person who has been stealing from your company every month since X date, etc., etc..

    7. Is every lawsuit worth fighting over? Why or why not?

    No! Sometimes settling out of court makes sense because...you save money fighting over something small; maybe the other side needs this small thing more than you do and maybe they won't fight very hard over it; maybe everyone involved wants closure quickly rather than going through months of stressful litigation; sometimes its just easier negotiating directly with one party instead of having multiple parties involved in negotiations; sometimes its cheaper than fighting; sometimes its faster than fighting; sometimes its less damaging reputationally than fighting, etc.. Some people get angry at me when I say this but these are real reasons why settling out of court

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