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What are some things a lawyer can do to establish better rapport with the “other side?”

I think the first thing is to treat the opposition with courtesy and respect.  I have been practicing law for over 40 years, and I really don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where it was appropriate for one litigant to sneer at another, for a lawyer to yell at a witness, for an attorney to roll his or her eyes in a Courtroom, etc.  Not only do those kinds of things generally have unintended negative effects on triers of fact, but they also frequently increase the tension between the parties and make the possibility of any kind of settlement much more remote.  Being mean isn’t the same as being effective.

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