The Daily

When That Rough God Goes Riding

There’ll be no more heroes
They’ll be reduced to zero
When that rough god goes riding
Riding on in

Van Morrison

I got an email the other day that started with the greeting “Motherfucker!”. It wasn’t meant to be a friendly slap on the back – it was more of a threat. And it came from a lawyer purportedly representing a group of class members WITH me. Money does strange things to people and in a business built on conflict, character reveals itself under pressure. The worst episodes of thuggery and dishonesty I’ve witnessed – by far – in my career have come from my own side of the dispute. Clients and partners bent on destroying themselves in the swamp where rules for good conduct are difficult to find or obey. What seems to matter most is what you can tolerate; what you can sleep with at night.

Grandma Crofton was fond of the country maxim that “Pigs get fat / Hogs get slaughtered”. That about sums it up.

Sometimes, I long for the old days. I saw what looked to be their waning days in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. Lawyers doing it the old-fashioned way – arguing while getting along, traveling together, forming human bonds. Now, everyone is closed off and distrustful as crabs – protecting their tiny turf and ignoring the big picture.

It’s like that in any business today – or at least it looks that way. If you have a small shop trying to do it with traditional values, you’re a target.