Link To Guest Website: Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers

Title: “To Get Legal Advice Or Not? Discussing Partner Disputes”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (0s):
Welcome back to radio entrepreneurs. Again, my name is Jeffrey Davis and I am the host of radio entrepreneurs. And also glad to say the founder CEO of Mage LLC management consulting firm in Boston, in the Boston area during these times of chaos. And always since the beginning of radio entrepreneurs, we like to speak with Mark Furman from the law firm of Tarlow Breed, Hart, and Rodgers. This segment is entrepreneurship and the law. Welcome back, Mark.

Mark (28s):
Hi Jeffrey. Great to be with you.

Jeffrey (30s):
I thank you very much, mark. It seems almost impossible to talk about entrepreneurship and not talk about the law nowadays. Everything is so regulated.

Mark (39s):
Well, that’s certainly true. And what I want to talk about today was, you know, what happens when you sense that there’s trouble in paradise, that there’s some kind of issue between you and a, a supplier or party you have a contract with. And, you know, I say business owners take two different paths when problems arise, and I want to make a push for taking one of those paths. I see situations where at a very early stage, the business owner consults the lawyer, and you can see how every email that’s written by business owner in trying to address the situation and position him or her in the best possible light has the fingerprints of a lawyer without using any legal lays.

Mark (1m 43s):
And so the drafts, the texts, the emails are shared with, and the strategy is put together with lawyer and, and as the dispute continues to evolve, every step that’s been taken has been well thought out, not only to the next step, but three steps ahead and how every email or text is going to look in front of a judge or a jury that’s that’s one road to take. And then the more common road is that people don’t get legal advice at an early enough phase.

Mark (2m 32s):
And they just express themselves in emails and texts in a way that may not put them in the best of light and you know, words matter. And of course, lawyers take a lot of time trying to be precise about words and make sure that they’re not subject to different interpretations, but if you late people aren’t really trained to do that. And it gets compounded. If people don’t obey the, what I call the 24 hour rule, which is just if something really hits a nerve and you’re really angry, the best decision may be to do nothing until the next day.

Mark (3m 25s):
So the time to, to reflect, never send an email or a text that you wouldn’t want, that you’d regret having on the front page of the New York times wall street journal or the national news, because these things get published. I don’t mean necessarily to the media, but they get published in court. They get put in on so that everybody reads them. And you’re subject to questions about every sentence and every phrase and words can be twisted or construed in different ways.

Mark (4m 13s):
So my message for today is choose the first stroke. I know lawyers charge for their time, but if there’s a way to maneuver the case strategically to stay out of court, or if you end up in court to put yourself in the best possible light, it’s really important. It makes a difference because, you know, we don’t have any hundred percent cases. If, if I’m representing the plaintiff. If I prove the case by 50.0, zero, zero 1%, my client wins.

Mark (4m 58s):
And if I prove it to 50%, my client loses. And if I’m representing the defense, 50 50 means the defense wins. But if the other side gets to 50.0, zero 1%, my client loses. So every move is important and it’s important to be strategic. And it’s important to have the benefit of people who are trained to see how things are going to play. Not only in the heat of the moment, but how they’re going to play down the road in court.

Mark (5m 40s):
So it’s a collaborative effort. It’s worth the client’s investment of time and money. I’m not talking about small claims disputes, but I’m talking about disputes that matter. And I’m always struck by how many times I think to myself at the beginning of case, after I’ve read the documents, gee, I wish I had gotten involved a couple months before in the background to help out. So that’s my thought of the day, Jeffrey.

Jeffrey (6m 17s):
Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna role play with you cause I like watching your response. I’m going to try some new stuff then. Cause I agree with you with clients. I always tell them, take their time. Be careful because everything’s admissible and you don’t want to just be spending time with lawyers arguing over your letters. So here’s a, here’s a typical client comment to me. Watch I’ll be the client. You can be the attorney, don’t worry, mark. I didn’t send any emails. I only sent texts.

Mark (6m 43s):
Well, they’re, they’re no different. They’re their communications. And you know, there were evidence texts or evidence, emails or evidence letters or evidence and verbal communications are evidence. And the thing about texts, emails, and letters there, what they say is not dependent on what you remember the conversation there, they are fixed, whatever they say, you know, somebody’s gonna read.

Mark (7m 24s):

Jeffrey (7m 25s):
I’ll give you another one. This is a very COVID related and I’ll play again. You’ll be the attorney. I’ll be the client. Don’t worry, mark. I didn’t write any notes. My argument with him was on the zoom.

Mark (7m 40s):
Okay. Yeah. I, I mean, people have to understand that there’s a record of everything and in, in our society and, and you know, if you’ve deleted an email that doesn’t mean it’s cease to exist under device or same for texts, same for phone logs. You know, it’s just, and there are people, you know, make, take a copy of everything that’s on your device, forensic people.

Mark (8m 23s):
And so,

Jeffrey (8m 26s):
So if you were, if you were supervising me on the zoom and you were just about to give me, as you always do need some negative feedback, I could actually have my phone taping this zoom. So let’s say I’m an employee or an employer who does that? I taped the zoom. Where does that stand?

Mark (8m 48s):
Well, I mean, taping is, you know, you, you you’re suppose in Massachusetts, it’s a, it’s a two party consent state. So we’re recording. Anything requires the consent of both parties. That’s, you know, people can routinely give it. But I just, my overwhelming advice is, you know, don’t think there’s protection from any particular type of communication. If, if you know, you want to say something like you cheated me now, I’m going to screw you.

Jeffrey (9m 37s):

Mark (9m 41s):
You know, you, you want to, you want to say that whether you put it in writing or you say it orally, it’s not necessarily going to help you. In fact, I can’t really think of a circumstance where that would help. You might make you feel better emotionally at, at, at that particular moment. But in terms of a legal matter, it just isn’t going to help. But a a a, so I just treating all communications as like they could determine the outcome of the dispute is what’s important. And that’s why you need to be strategic.

Mark (10m 25s):
Think things through, get advice and not speak out of anger, no matter how motional the situation, you may feel. You’re being cheated by a partner that you’ve been defrauded by another company that you’ve been unfairly misled in a material way, poorly treated, no matter what the anger that can, somehow that can sometimes come out, leads to what I’ll call unhelpful communications. One thing we don’t want to do when our communications is snatched to feet from the jaws of victory, and you know, the people who are going to decide the case, they have emotions and certain things that people say will impact them.

Mark (11m 20s):
Different people get affected by what’s said in a different way. But remember, we’re talking about difference between 50% and 50.001%. It’s a pretty, there’s a pretty fine line between winning and losing.

Jeffrey (11m 41s):
Well, we’ve been speaking with mark Furhman shareholder director at Trello burrito, Hart and Rogers, our weekly segment of entrepreneurship and the law mark. If someone wants to find you and get some good advice before they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, how would they find you?

Mark (11m 60s):
I can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5 or an M Ferman, F U R M a

Jeffrey (12m 14s):
Right. And you’re going to have to go now because you’re going to be teeing it up today with tiger woods, correct?

Mark (12m 20s):
Yeah, maybe next week after we’ll see if he plays in the masters, but you know, if he was playing miniature golf today, I might be, I might be invited to play.

Jeffrey (12m 35s):
Yeah. This was the one and only mark for a man with entrepreneurship in the law. This is radio entrepreneurs and we’re going to be taking a break.

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