A Workplace Conflict Tip: The angry email

When you receive an angry or hurtful email from a co-worker, don't fire off a response right away. Slow down and give yourself time to reflect on WHY it was upsetting. You need to have an idea of WHY so that you better identify which results will help you feel better. Then think through how to re-frame the discussion to get you there.

Try these steps:

1. Get up from your desk, go get some tea or hot cocoa.

2. When you get back, write a response and save it as a draft.

3. An hour later, re-read the draft and edit to move the discussion in a productive direction.

4. Send the response and give yourself a break from email for a few minutes.

Want more help in your office? Call us at 917-819-5656.

How To Decide Which Criminal Defense Attorney to Hire

You or someone you care about has been accused of a crime. Whether it's a DUI, possession of a joint or something more serious, having a criminal case can be stressful. You need an attorney that's right for you.

Everyone uses different criteria to decide which criminal defense attorney to hire. Some are looking for a convenient office or a lawyer with a certain personality. Others make their decision based only on the retainer fee. Here is advice about finding the best, and the best fit for you.

  1. You Must Be Able to Trust Your Attorney Enough to Tell Them Anything. Communication is key. You must feel comfortable speaking with your lawyer about what you are accused of, what really happened, and other sensitive information in your life. Lawyers also have to speak with witnesses, sometimes even the complainant ("victim"). Lawyers may need to explore very personal information in order to give you the best defense with the most options for success. And you want someone who will talk you through the process, and explain things in a way that you can understand.
  2. The Attorney Should Have Criminal Defense Experience. Don't settle for the friend of a friend who does real estate law. Your time, reputation, and freedom are at stake. Hire an attorney who has criminal defense experience. An experienced attorney will have an idea of how your case will be prosecuted, what the District Attorneys are looking for, and what the standard plea offers are. Basically, they can give you a more accurate assessment of what might happen and realistic options to beat the case.
    Even Better: Experience in the specific courthouse where your case is. 
    Best of All: Experience in front of the Judge or Judges who are presiding over your case.
  3. Your Attorney Should Have A Range of Skills. What do you want? You probably want this case to go away by getting dismissed or winning at trial. If the case doesn't look good for you, you may be looking for an amazing plea that will have very little impact on your life. Here's the thing: what you want can come from many different directions. Phone calls with the DA might result in lower charges. Research might find that the police shouldn't have charged you. Writing to the Judge might get them to agree that the police did not get the evidence in the right way. The point is that you want a lawyer who has as many tools as possible.
  4. What Should Be In Your Attorney's Toolbox? Each of these tools can be used to get results in a different way.
    1. Courtroom skills. Someone comfortable in a courtroom, who can think on their feet.
    2. Out of court advocacy. Someone who is good at negotiation with the District Attorney or programs. 
    3. Someone who can write. An attorney who is good at research and writing can submit an argument (a motion) to the Judge.  Motions can challenge evidence, how the client was treated, and even the charges themselves. 
    4. Attention to detail. You need an attorney who is willing to sit down and look at every piece of evidence to make sure it holds up. 

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, use these tips to find the right attorney. 

Fisher Law Practice provides criminal defense for New Yorkers. We work hard to fight your case and protect your future. For a free consultation, call 917-819-5656

Black History Month Trivia: Have Fun and Start a Dialogue

FLP Trivia is an exciting new spin on cultural enrichment.

Trivia is fun, interactive, and not at all preachy. We currently offer Black History and Women's History trivia. Your staff will explore fun facts, and talk about issues of diversity in a low stress, friendly atmosphere. We can also create a custom trivia set for a specific identity or cultural group, even one for your business' history!

These fun cultural events can be offered during lunch, after work, even as lighthearted competitions at conferences!

Black History Month is already here! Call Fisher Law Practice today to schedule a trivia event in your office. 917-819-5656.

Ace that Difficult Conversation at Work!

From confronting a colleague to providing tough feedback, most people will have a difficult conversation at work. Sit down and take the time to think through these points. With preparation, you'll lower your stress and find success!

Step 1. Think Through What You Want to Say and Accomplish.

What do you want to talk about? Is there more than one topic? Would it be helpful if you had support (like reports, statistics, or reviews)? What are your goals for conversation? Anticipate questions and craft responses that provide answers and stay on message.

Step 2. Prepare Yourself Emotionally for the Conversation.

Do you have a tense history with this person? Are there triggering topics? What's the best that could happen? What's the worst that could happen? How will this conversation impact your relationship? Will it have an impact on other people in the office?

Step 3. How Does This Person Best Receive Information?

  • Tone: You've worked with them for months, maybe even years. You've worked on projects together and sat next to them in meetings. Traditionally, what tone most gets the best results? Formal? Friendly? Do they need a compliment sandwich or do they prefer to get straight to the point? Would it ease the tension if you joked around? Or would it have the opposite effect?
  • Timing: What time of day is she at her best? The least stressed and most open to conversation. First thing in the morning? During a mid-afternoon break? Have the chat when she has the energy to be receptive.
  • Location: What kind of conversation is this? Professional? Personal? If it's professional, what environment would be the most comfortable? Your office? His office? The conference room? The bench outside? If it's personal, would he be more receptive if you went out for coffee or a drink after work?
  • Messenger: Are you the best person to have the conversation? If this isn't a personal issue, would she/he/they be more receptive if a friend or colleague broached the topic?

Why Your Business Needs Onsite Conflict Resolution. Now.

Picture this. Jim and Tabitha are two outstanding employees on your team. Jim is an older, gay white male. Tabitha is an Asian woman in her 30's. They've been working together well for years. But something happened and now they barely speak to each other. Group emails about the current project quickly become tense. You recently heard that a third member of the team, Michael, has been acting as a go-between. Whatever is going on needs to be addressed ASAP because the project is running behind schedule and your client is demanding answers. You have several options.

  1. Shrug and Do Nothing: Tensions rise. The project gets done, but 2 months behind schedule. The client was livid and twisted your arm for a 10% discount off the final bill: $65,000. Tabitha starts to come into work late and call out sick. After several warnings, you decide to fire her, but she quits first. She's a high end web developer and it takes 3 months and $40,000 replace her. Worse, you hear from Michael that she's talking lawsuit. You still don't know what the hell happened!
  2. Respond The Way People Did 10 Years Ago: You mean well, but you don't want to get into the he said, she said. So you order diversity/sensitivity training for the entire office and hope that it works itself out. The 3-hour training costs $6,000. Some people found it helpful, others felt judged and constrained. It had no effect on the dynamic between Jim and Tabitha.
  3. Get Effective, Onsite Conflict Resolution: You bring in a mediator for about $3000. She talks to Jim one-on-one, then to Tabitha. Finally, she gets them in a room together for a mediation. It's two hours of yelling and crying about two incidents at the holiday party. But in the end, there's a hug. Aware how much their arguments have affected the team, they come to you- together-with ideas about how to get the project back on track.

If you do nothing, it costs you $105,000 and you have a fired employee, a late project, an angry client and a lawsuit. If you respond the way they did 10 years ago, it costs you $6000, your office gets an important training, but the dispute is no better. Option 3 is the only one that saves money, helps your staff, maintains your company's fought for reputation, and decreases legal costs. Chose conflict resolution!

Fisher Law Practice provides effective onsite help with conflicts and communication. We also provide training to get people talking. We can come in for a one-time issue, or be available to your staff on a monthly basis. Call us today: 917-819-5656.