The Blogging/Writing Gene

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen
January 17, 2013 — 946 views  

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I have a reading gene, and I feel compelled to read anything that crosses my path. It turns out that I have a blogging/writing gene too. I write a blog about every 3 weeks.  When I first started blogging, I found it difficult to think of topics and find the time to blog about them.  Now my blogs come fully formed into my mind, and often interrupt my sleep, and they just wait for me to transcribe them.  I have found blogging to be therapeutic, and I recommend it. It is really like writing a diary with “legs”.

Law is one of the highest stress professions, and substance abuse of drugs or medications or alcohol are not uncommon among lawyers.  Thank goodness I don’t have those kinds of problems, but I do long for the days when one would have lunch a couple of drinks during lunch at a nice restaurant or club. I don’t have a drinking gene, so one drink at lunch these days puts me under the table.  So, writing a blog is a good way to relieve my stress and get things off my mind, which bother or concern or interest me.

I deal with many clients who are suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, etc., which conditions are often triggered by their job stress, trying to perform their duties well, trying to get along with difficult co-workers, trying to please their demanding bosses, or just trying to keep their jobs in this difficult economy. One of my clients was recently surprised to learn that I don’t take medications for any of the above problems. I told her that in my law practice I don’t suffer from anxiety, but my job is sometimes to cause it in others.  That is one of the perks of being a litigator. Only about 5% of lawyers are litigators, although the media sometimes paints all lawyers as being gladiators in the courtroom. Being a litigator really means that appearing at hearings and in court doesn’t terrify us, we can usually improvise and think on our feet when necessary, and we can change tactics if need be in reaction to what takes place in the courtroom, which is sometimes not what we anticipated beforehand.

For me, and this has been true since I was a teenager, I don’t put up with things I think are not right. That also applies to my services for my clients. I don’t appreciate it when I believe that my clients have their civil rights violated or when their workplace takes advantage of them, or when their spouses think they can run roughshod over them in family law matters, or when other family members dissipate their inheritance.  If I feel that the law is supportive of one’s case, I will fight for my client, within the limits of the justice system and their finances.

And, if I feel that someone tries to take advantage of me, or doesn’t respect that I have gained some basic knowledge in all my years of practicing law, they have a fight on their hands.      Yet, it is not a good practice to always be angry, threatening, or ready for a fight.  I believe that one can go further with honey than with vinegar. Do I spend all day fighting with other lawyers? No I don’t. Lawyers can accomplish so much more if they earn a reputation of being a fair and reasonable adversary.  It is a true pleasure to deal with lawyers who respect me, my background and experience, who do a cost/benefit analysis of whether settling a case has greater or lesser merit than litigating it, who sometimes admit that their client is wrong or being unreasonable, and encourage their clients to settle a case rather than fight till the bitter end.  Because that end can be bitter for my client and/or theirs. In turn, I gain respect for those lawyers.

This collaborative process is entirely different with lawyers who have a snarling, high-strung client, who wants to fight to the death in a courtroom to prove how right they are and how wrong, ungrateful or stupid my client allegedly is.  To those lawyers I say get a grip on your client, and take the reins and do the right thing, even if you drop the client. Because, chances are that client will turn on you at some point if they feel you are weak or allegedly collaborating with opposing counsel.  Of course, if opposing counsel has a combative attitude, I say let the battle begin!   

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen

Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.

I am Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire and am a Philadelphia attorney who has been practicing law since 1974. I am the president and managing attorney of both the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. and Legal Research, Inc.