We’ve all been there.  We’ve all sat on a crowded train and seen a woman with a bulge and thought should I offer up my seat or am I about to embarrass both of us.

On the other hand, I’ve often seen people wearing those “baby on board” badges and thought “really????”

What about older people.  I once had someone offer me their seat.  I must admit that I was rather tired and gratefully accepted but I did wonder whether that meant that I’m looking much older than I feel.

The reality is that looks can be deceptive and whilst trusting your judgment often works wonders, sometimes you need some guidance as well.  The tell tell sign of a pregnant woman rubbing her stomach, or an older person looking uncomfortable at least gives you some justification for making the offer.

So what about in business?

What tell tell signs should you be looking for that you need help?

Well certainly if the other side say “we don’t need to spend money on expensive lawyers” it’s definitely a warning sign, especially when you know that you can call me up and I’ll give you an honest view for no charge.

I’d also be on alert if anyone was refusing to give me any information.  A refusal to answer straight forward questions about a property or company my client wants to buy, without a good reason almost certainly means there is something to hide.

In litigation, it’s often parties who refuse to disclose documents or file very vague pleadings that set off warning bells.  On 4th March 2021 I sent them a letter, a copy of which is attached to this pleading, which they never responded to, is much clearer than “I wrote to them but they never answered” which is a good (although not definitive) indication that the other side have something to hide.  It’s usually the client on the other side, and not their solicitor that has something to hide, as the solicitor can only draft something that is as good as the information their client supplies.  A solicitor would never deliberately be vague unless they have to (or they are not very good at drafting!)

Other signs are easier to misinterpret.  People often think that an early offer to settle, or mediate, is a sign of weakness.  Whilst that might have been true 20 years ago, these days it often means the complete opposite.  If you’ve got a good case and are confident of your position, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by sitting down round the table with the other side, looking them in the eye and telling them to their face everything that is wrong with their case and all the reasons why you’ll fight to the death unless they make a sensible offer.  What’s more, if the other side then unreasonably refuse to either mediate or make a sensible offer, you know you’ve got a much better chance of getting a higher costs order.

If you’re involved in anything legal and you’d like a second opinion on what to do next and what your options are, drop me a line at stephanie@kleymansolicitors.com and we’ll set up a zoom call, or a meeting as soon as we can, for tea and a chat.  No cake as I’m neither fat nor pregnant.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Good at reading the signals.