Thursday, June 4, 2009

Novel Dispute Resolution - A Return to the Middle Ages With An Oriental Flair

Okla. Patent Lawyers Kick ‘the Snot Out of Each Other’ After Hours, and Out of Their Opponents During Regular Business Hours.

Posted May 29, 2009, 02:27 pm CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

Four patent lawyers at the Fellers Snider law firm in Tulsa are learning to channel their aggression by practicing hand-to-hand combat techniques used by Israeli soldiers.

The lawyers have advanced to full-on sparring where they are “kicking the snot out of each other”—albeit while wearing protective gear—one member of the group told the Journal Record.

The lawyers are being trained in krav maga, which goes one step beyond the mix of martial arts demonstrated in ultimate fighting, lawyer Alan Weeks told the publication.

The fighting method teaches defensive techniques in a way that makes self-defense instinctive.

But it isn't only about self-defense according to several of the lawyers, it's about going on the offensive. Most importantly, it's about saving our clients money by dramatically reducing litigation costs.

Instead of discovery requests, which are fought tenaciously by the other side, with endless disputes about what's discoverable and what is not, we get straight to the heart of the matter and take the documents we want by force from the file cabinets of their lawyers. What miniscule resistance we meet can be handled quickly by one of our trained lawyers, who can take out the file clark, lawyer, paralegal or anyone else who tries to interfere with discovery.

"Sometimes we have to go the homes of the opponents to obtain the necessary documents. We try to avoid this as much as possible because of the potential for traumatizing the wife and children of opposing counsel," according to one of the aggressive lawyers, who has been trained in waterboarding.

"But the main point is that we can complete discovery in less than one-fourth the usual time, virtually eliminate costly, boring hearings and usually reaching early settlements."

The martial arts lawyers also stress intimidation. "Half the battle is instilling fear in opposing counsel. We do that in a variety of news and television ads and by the logo above which appears on our letterhead." said one of the lawyers, who specializes in the clean breaking of arms and fingers. "We don't want any compound fractures or defacing scars on opposing counsel. We need for them to be deathly afraid but not mutilated."

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