"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." - Sun-tzu

I love baseball. The strategies and tactics of the game are fascinating, and there are so many life lessons to be had from the sport. Consider this: Barry Bonds is the all-time Major League Baseball leader in home runs and the all-time leader in intentional walks. What does this tell us? When your opponent truly believes you have the skill and ability to succeed, you may have already won the battle. This is leverage.

As in baseball, leverage is the driving force behind a successful resolution of a civil lawsuit. A track record of success provides leverage, as it informs your opponent that you have the requisite skill to succeed. Sufficient capitalization provides leverage, for it lets your opponent know that you will not be outspent or outlasted. Access to information and witnesses provides leverage, particularly in the crucial early stages of a case, for this access can assist you in understanding and crafting a narrative. These are only a few examples.

It is in the attempt to gain leverage that we sometimes lose our way. Barry Bonds took steroids. Some lawyers have fallen short in a very public fashion. The same will to win that makes us successful in the first place can serve to cloud our judgement.

Subduing one's opponent in litigation without fighting is a true skill. Doing so ethically, this is the supreme art of war.