Legal Wrangling as "Blood Sport"

Question: Do the kinds of cases you take demand toughness?

Gloria Allred: I'll do whatever is necessary to get the best results for my client. And sometimes that means smiling and making nice, and sometimes it means being a warrior and being very, very tough with the other side. I often say I do live in a war zone for woman, and, believe me, it's a very ugly war zone. The people who do heart surgery they see a lot of blood... and often the person who is being operated on doesn't see as much blood as the surgeon sees in the operating room.

Well what I do is a blood sport. It has serious consequences, however.  So I'm doing battle with some of the best and most highly paid attorneys in town. And often they'll play dirty.  It will be ugly.  It will be vicious, behind the scenes. And I'm ready for that.  I'm ready for that battle.  And that's why they know they have to take me seriously, because I will do anything and everything that is legal and peaceful to win for my clients, and I'm ready to fight back.

I'm not the shy type.  If they're in my client's face I consider that they're in my face. And they're going to have to go through me.  And it's not going to be pretty if they attack my client.  I mean, I'm going to stand up for them.  I am going to be strong, and they're going to have to do what is right and what is just and the only way for them to make peace is going to be to do justice with my clients.  My clients know that and the opposing party knows that.  So when the smoke all clears and the shouting stops we're going to have to have a just result. And then, and only then, are we going to be able to shake hands on it. And the battle will end.

Are there things that lawyers shouldn't do in order to advance the cause of their clients?

Gloria Allred: All lawyers are governed by the canon of ethics of their particular state bar.  And there are many lawyers, including high profile lawyers, who have crossed the lines and done things which they should not have done, which they knew they should not have done.  And they've gotten in trouble.  The trap door is open and they've fallen right through.  They've been disciplined by their state bars.  Sometimes they've been criminally prosecuted and it's the end of their careers. 

And it's really very, very sad when that happens.  I'm happy to say that we've been practicing for 35 years. We've never been disciplined at all by the state bar.  We've receive many, many commendations from other lawyers for the great work that we've done for our clients.  We are very, very careful to always follow the ethical canons which govern us, and we do so because we know they're the right thing to do. They are the guidelines and they have to be respected, and we will not cross them for anyone or anything, or to achieve any result.

But we can do what we can do, and we can do it well and win those hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients by acting in an ethical way.  There are a lot of battles we can fight.  We know what the weapons are that we need to fight them.  And we use those weapons to the fullest extent possible. So, unfortunately some other lawyers don't exercise the best judgment that they could exercise.  They take unacceptable risks when they cross those ethical boundaries and we refuse to do so under any set of circumstances.

Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman

"I'm doing battle with some of the best and most highly paid attorneys in town, and often they'll play dirty. It will be ugly. It will be vicious behind the scenes and I'm ready for that."

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