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Litigation: 8 tips for dealing with a Rambo lawyer

How to handle personal attacks or underhanded litigation tactics from opposing counsel

Whether you've been recently licensed or practicing for years, chances are you have dealt with a Rambo lawyer. Named after John Rambo, the fictional character who resolves most conflicts through fights (even if unlawful), a Rambo lawyer engages in all manners of adversarial excess, including personal attacks on other lawyers, hostility, boorish and insulting behavior, rudeness and obstructionist conduct. For years, the rise of Rambo tactics in civil litigation has raised concerns. Judges have objected to the tactics, finding them to be unprofessional and unethical. Now, clients are realizing that engaging Rambo lawyers to "scorch the earth" can be quite expensive and unprofitable.

So, how should one handle a litigation matter involving a difficult opposing counsel? Here are eight tips to help you deal with a Rambo litigator.

5.   Know the rules and your judge

In addition to the federal and state civil procedure rules, many courts and judges have rules, requirements, procedures and preferences that lawyers must follow, especially with regard to discovery and other pre-trial matters. It is important that you know these particular requirements so that you can tailor the presentation of your issues accordingly and not have your motions denied summarily. Knowing and following the rules will place you in a better position in the eyes of the court and will often defeat many of the Rambo litigator’s tactics.

Contributing Author

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Ronald Hicks Jr.

Ronald L. Hicks, Jr. is a partner at Pittsburgh law firm, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP and Vice-Chair of the firm’s Business & Tort Litigation...

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