Thursday, June 28, 2012

Of Tilapia and Adjectives ... the Undervalued and the Overvalued

The Poor Tilapia

I love Tilapia, there I said it, I believe it is an undervalued and misunderstood fish. I am at heart a Tilapia advocate. To me, Tilapia is an inexpensive source of quality protein. In the line up of food choices I think it is pound for pound or dollar for dollar an overlooked bargain. I choose to defend the Tilapia because the truth is this:

1. Tilapia is farm raised as a product. In the wild, it is native to Africa but it can be raised on local farms for consumption. 75% of the Tilapia market comes from these farms, and is not part of the natural environment. For this reason some might put there nose up at this type of fish. I eat salmon as well but Tilapia has it's place.

2. Tilapia can be prepared within a diversity of tastes, styles, and flavors. This fish doesn't over power, it is a sharer. It co-exists peacefully among the other food groups. It is neutral like Switzerland. It will take on and accept just about any and every sauce. Talk about friendly, the Tilapia is the United Nation's answer to global peace. 

3. Tilapia is safe. There are those that are concerned that these farm raised are fed feces and other waste matter. First, Tilapia eat lots of stuff, they are omnivores, just because they eat lots of stuff does not make them bad. The key here is that much like many other things we eat (pigs, chickens, etc.) their fish bodies don't retain contaminants. They process waste into something useful. One of the marvels of nature. Even though raised unnaturally they process and grow perfectly.

So what does the Tilapia have to do with practicing law?

I have personal injury cases that are undervalued much like the Tilapia. People seen from the outside may display no signs or obvious symptoms of injury or disease. We are not supermen and women with X-ray vision. We merely judge what we can see, and what we cannot see stays hidden.

Value is always a Perspective. It is an opinion. Nothing more or less than that. My job is always to advocate for my client's position. I can bring their injuries, their damages, and most importantly the impact to lives into view. I bring out and demonstrate value by painting and illuminating perspectives. This may be accomplished through MRI findings, medical experts, health records, and police reports. And finally my client's story.

TAKEAWAY: The unseen needs to be made seen to bring full value to any case or situation. 

To the Overvalued ADJECTIVE

Well to balance out the undervalued Tilapia I place the much overvalued Adjective. People call me and launch into stories about what happened to them. Invariably they love to use descriptors. Words to describe can muddy the waters of the facts. Most commonly the police get a litany of words thrown upon them, many not very flattering.

The police were mean, nasty, belligerent, stupid, etc. etc. Sometimes stories are top heavy with emotional adjectives and lacking in content. The true substance of the story is based in fact. What I, most Judges, and people really want to know is what happened? What did you see or experience? What was said? Who said it?

To know if and where and when your rights were in  fact violated we need to remove adjectives. To see if you have valid defenses we need to cut to those most powerful FBCs.

THE FBCs (Facts Beyond Change)

Every case or situation has facts beyond change. Either it is or it isn't. If you ate or drank, what did you eat or drink? When did you eat or drink? An old TV show called Dragnet had a detective named Friday.

Police detective Friday when investigating a case loved to say, "just tell me the facts ma' am OR all we want are the facts." Facts are the most powerful part of any good story.

Can we tell the story, and eliminate all the adjectives? 

I think it is possible and helpful to first eliminate the fluff, in other words, the opinion about the facts. Clearly and succinctly we must give the who, what, where, and how. This elimination of adjectives is most appreciated by lawyers, and judges because it removes many of the polarized emotions that go along with victimization. They hurt me is an opinion, better is:

1. they placed the cuffs upon me
2. it left marks upon my wrists
3. I sought medical attention for the bruising
4. the doctors diagnosed a sprain/strain

They hurt me is now made real by the facts. Because to many people, they hurt me is so nebulous. How they did they hurt you? Where did they hurt you? It is the same for they violated my rights. How did they violate them? Where did they violate them? In the world of legal cases, the facts will make it or break it.

To be most effective, facts must have a chronology, and an order. This happened at this time, and then this happened after. Cause and effect is a principle and law that everyone can relate to.

So in closing, facts and Tilapia are of high value while emotionalized adjectives not so much.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850