Facts Count

One theory says my outside counsel should know my case better than I. He’s scoured the transcripts, grilled the witnesses (ours and theirs) and poked the experts thoroughly. On the other hand, as in house counsel, I know which of my clients and colleagues has the better memory, the better work habits, the troublesome idiosyncrasies and so forth.

No matter what, however, he should know the facts as least as well as I do.

Case in point: Employment counsel prepares and files a position statement with the EEOC. He knocks these off in his sleep, so he figures I don’t need to review it first. I finally get a copy when I have to call and ask, “Say, didn’t we have to file a position statement a while ago in this case?”

He replies, “Oh, didn’t we send that to you? We filed that last week,” and proceeds to blame his secretary. Shortly a copy arrives by email. I glance at it, and immediately see that he identifies our parent company as the employer. Wrong. (The complaining employee works for a subsidiary.) He says the parent company does business in the state. Wrong again — only the subsidiary does.

I mark up the document with the necessary changes and send it back to him with a note asking him to amend the statement, as failing to do so threatens to place our parent company’s multi-million dollar income stream at the mercy of the state’s taxing authority. This would be bad. Apologies abound, promises are made, and another lesson learned. For the both of us. Facts count.


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