Learn a Lesson from David Ortiz...

The latest ruckus involving David Ortiz's comment that "the rules aren't for everybody" during a recent baseball game is a perfectly placed example of what lawyers do for their clients as in mitigate the risk of behavior not particularly attractive. A short cut way of saying this is "PROTECT YOUR CLIENT!" For those of you who don't know, the designated hitter (DH) for the Boston Red Sox serenades his fans with a signature admiration for his "in the batter's box" handiwork. In the process, it roils many a pitcher.  Before "jogging" to first base, Mr. Ortiz lingers, almost "Velcro-like" to the box. His "in your face" offensive style and message to pitchers is hard to miss.

This past week, it gave rise to one player's descriptive frustration. Said David Price of the Cleveland Indians about Mr. Ortiz, "Sometimes, the way he acts out there, he kind of looks like he's bigger than the game…" Price hit Ortiz with a fastball in the first inning of play. So when the extra primo large DH made a comment voicing his apparent frustration with a team of umpires who didn't toss the opposing pitcher for conduct unbecoming, sports writers and media commentators naturally jumped all over the irony.

Enter the law business and life. Whether a client is in: court, a negotiation in mediation or even settlement discussions for a sophisticated advertising licensing issue, alimony issue related to taxation or purely a money matter related to a music contract, lawyers are trained to maximize their client's interests and minimize risk in the process. Training involves countless hours of rule learning inside: the law library, conference room and courtroom.

When a judge is hammering a lawyer about his or her client's conduct, an experienced lawyer may provide the court with the client's rationale in defense, of course, or, alternatively, attempt to direct the court's attention away from the perceived offense by basically saying, "The other side started it. They should be blamed, your honor."

As many litigators know, once you open a line of questioning in court, you better know what the answer is because shutting that door will be next to impossible. This is precisely why lawyers are trained NEVER to ask a "Why" question during cross examination. Too risky.

The concept is akin to: If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

What is the lesson here for our kids? Precisely that.

If you open the proverbial door of discretion by flouting a rule, don't expect mercy when a judge, umpire or official refuses to enforce another one.