the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 419: 7 Tips for Winning a Lawsuit | Rebecca Zung Episode Recap

Listen to the episode below

After an incredibly insightful conversation with Rebecca Zung about maintaining your integrity and finding practical resolutions while disengaging from a covert, overt, or malignant narcissist, we’re excited to bring you this special recap episode.

Today, we’ll be discussing how you can position yourself for success in a lawsuit by following Rory’s 7 Tips for Winning a Lawsuit.

These insights have been distilled from the personal experiences and legal challenges that both Rory and AJ have encountered over the years.

Tune in to uncover these valuable takeaways and ensure you’re well-prepared for potential legal challenges.

Key takeaways from this episode

  • What to expect from this special recap episode.
  • Sometimes the only way to win a fight is to not have one.
  • Benefits of having a contingency lawyer.
  • As much as you can, avoid crazy people.
  • Do not read the Lawyer Letters and try not to make it personal.
  • Keep meticulous documentation.
  • Build a timeline of dates and descriptions: the details can become fuzzy.
  • Have contracts and get people to commit what they say into writing.
  • Your interpretation of contracts is pretty much as good as any.
  • It’s often not about achieving justice, but about money and time.
  • What you can learn from watching the TV series: Suits.
  • Do the right thing yourself and try to neutralize the situation.
  • The importance of continually being nice (to everyone).

Tweetable Moments

“The only people who really win in a lawsuit are the lawyers.” — @roryvaden [0:05:49]

“It’s not worth getting involved with people who are super high drama, that have absolutely outrageous unrealistic expectations, who lose their temper, people who fly off the handle, people who are doing crazy things in their personal lives — to the extent that you can, try to stay away from crazy.” — @roryvaden [0:11:44]

“A huge part of the negotiation is trying to generate emotions and get you pissed off and angry and scared and frustrated. Because [lawyers] know that the more emotion they stir up in you, the more likely you are to acquiesce to their terms.” — @roryvaden [0:12:59]

“The person who has more documentation is going to have the upper hand.” — @roryvaden [0:17:09]

“Here’s something else that I’ve learned about lawsuits, your interpretation of written contracts is pretty much as good as any.” — @roryvaden [0:23:52]

“The person who wins is often not the person who is right. It’s often not the person who is ethical. Unfortunately, the person who wins, typically, is the person who has the most money and who has the longest timeline.” — @roryvaden [0:27:00]

“Kindness is not weakness. Kindness is incredible strength.” — @roryvaden [0:38:55]

About Rebecca Zung

Rebecca Zung is one of the Top 1% of attorneys in the nation, having been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Lawyer in America”, as “Legal Elite” by Trend Magazine, and recognized by her peers and the judiciary as AV(c), preeminent rated in family law, the highest possible rating for an attorney by Martindale Hubbell. But her journey wasn’t always easy. Married at 19 the first time, she had 3 children by the age of 23 and then was a divorced single mom when she decided to go back to law school. She went from being a single mom, college dropout, to becoming one the most powerful lawyers in the country at the helm of a multi-million dollar practice. She is now committed to sharing her secrets and empowering others to live their lives at their optimum level of success, professionally and personally.

She is the author of the bestselling books, Negotiate Like You M.A.T.T.E.R.: The Sure Fire Method to Step Up and Win (foreword by Robert Shapiro) and Breaking Free: A Step-by-Step Divorce Guide for Achieving Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Freedom, and is a sought after major media contributor.

Her perspectives are in high demand by television and print outlets, as she has been featured in or on Extra, Forbes, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Time, Dr. Drew, NPR Talk Radio, Good Day New York and CBS Los Angeles among others.

Now, Rebecca remains a partner in Long, Murphy & Zung, and is based in Los Angeles and Florida. She is continuing to serve through her incredible on-demand programs such as S.LA.Y. Your Negotiation With a Narcissist, and the Divorce Delete-Alt-Control Masterclasses. She is also the host of the popular show Negotiate Your Best Life™ which is available on YouTube and as a Top Podcast, and also is a frequent keynote speaker.

Links Mentioned


Rebecca Zung

Rebecca Zung on Facebook

Rebecca Zung on X

Rebecca Zung on Instagram

Negotiate Like You M.A.T.T.E.R.

Breaking Free

Slay the Bully

How to Negotiate with Narcissists with Rebecca Zung

Dave Ramsey on X

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

RV (00:02): Well, I am sad that I have to have this discussion with you or to share this bit of content, but I’m afraid that I do. I’m afraid that this is necessary. And what we’re gonna talk about today is how to win a lawsuit, how to win in a lawsuit. The th there are, it is a reality, unfortunate reality of life that you may end up in a lawsuit. In fact, I remember one time talking to my friend and our client, Kevin, Kevin Harrington, who is one of the original sharks on Shark Tank. And Kevin said to me, he said, Rory, you’ll know you’re really starting to get to be successful when somebody sues you. And the more successful you get, the more likely it is that at some point you are going to end up in a lawsuit. And so that’s why you know, going, go back and listen to the interview that I did with Rebecca Zung on negotiating with narcissists such an, a powerful interview, such a useful and tactical interview to understand just the psyche of who these people are and how they got to be that way. RV (01:28): And also to, to give you some hope and some to, to have you know, some encouragement because it can be a very, very difficult situation. Also, her book, slay the Bully is out, it will be out soon if you’re just listening to this podcast. There you’re still some pre-order bonuses you can get. And some of you, if you’re listening to this later you can check, you can check it out, and she probably has some bonuses still available on her site. But we wanted to release this early so that you had a chance to still take advantage of some of her pre-order bonuses. And and she’s dynamite. She’s one of our clients. I’ve learned a ton from her. I she is the, the preeminent expert in the world on negotiating with narcissists. And so that inspired me to share something that I’ve never shared which is just in general, I’m gonna share with you seven ideas for how to win in a lawsuit. RV (02:20): And she wasn’t necessarily talking about lawsuits, but you know, she is a lawyer and you know, has been a, a high profile divorce attorney. And, and this does come up. And so I wanted to share with you, and I’m gonna have to do this one from a, a little bit of a, don’t ask me how I know but let’s just say that I have been involved in multiple lawsuits. And it really is for someone, if you are a mission-driven messenger, if you’re someone like that, if you’re someone who is in our audience, you listen to this show, this is a really difficult thing because you may have done everything in your power to never get in a lawsuit. You may have never thought you would be end up in a lawsuit. And yet you find yourself in one, one day, and it can be so discouraging because you’ll, you’ll be shocked at how you, you’re someone who wants to pursue the right thing. RV (03:15): And yet you end up in a lawsuit and it’s a very, very scary, can be a very, very scary situation. So, I’m gonna walk you through seven things that, these are seven things that I wish somebody would’ve told me, you know, kind of as an entrepreneur before I’d ever had a lawsuit. So that if I had ever gotten into one, which I have been in multiple ones now, that I would have known. Okay? And so here’s the first thing, the first thing to know, and I don’t know who said this quote, but it’s a good one, that sometimes the only way to win a fight is to not have one. RV (03:54): And in particular, when it comes to lawsuits, this is one where I really would encourage you to, if you can avoid it, avoid it. The only people who really win in a lawsuit are the lawyers. And I don’t, I don’t mean that in a rude way, but that’s, you know, something that people say, and I have found that to be true. And it’s, it’s not like they win and everybody loses, but, but they get paid no matter who wins and who loses, right? They typically are gonna get paid. And so they make, they make money. In some cases, this is not every lawyer, but something that you just gotta know logically is even if you’re talking to a lawyer on your side they get paid, the, the longer the lawsuit goes on, and the more time it takes, the more money they get paid, right? RV (04:45): So they’re, most lawyers are paid hourly, so they’re not necessarily aligned with you on an incentive basis. The incentives aren’t necessarily aligned to end things quickly because they make their money from the time that they spend. Now, I don’t, I don’t think that every lawyer nickels and dimes people and tries to like, drag it out as long as possible. I’m just saying, you gotta pay attention when you pay attention to behavior, how people, what people are incentivized to do, and lawyers, most of ’em that are paid hourly, they’re, they’re incent, they’re not incentivized to do things the fastest possible way necessarily. So be aware of that. But the other thing is, now some lawyers are paid on contingency, meaning it’s basically like commission where they get a percentage of a settlement or the percentage of, of, you know, whatever, if you win. RV (05:36): And if you, if you lose, they get nothing. And, you know, that can be a very powerful very powerful person to have in, in your corner. And, and it was for us, we, we had an amazing lawyer and, and it was our, our hourly lawyers who referred us to a contingency attorney for one of the lawsuits that we were involved with, which ended up being a really, really a huge blessing in our life. And I’m, I’m so grateful to, to Doug and, and other lawyers that we’ve met along, along the way who’ve been important assets and, and advocates for us in our life. And so the, the, but the thing I wanna say here is you don’t wanna get into a lawsuit. You want to try to steer clear of it, because as you’re about to hear, it’s, it’s painful. RV (06:24): And it can be very, very, it’s very financially draining, right? We’ve spent lots and lots and lots of money over six figures. We, well, well, well into six figures we’ve spent on lawyers. And that is a very tough way to lose money. So if you can avoid the lawsuit, swallow your pride, apologize, right? Like, make things right, do what you can to, to stay out of it. Because sometimes the best way to win a fight is to not have one. And I, and generally speaking, this, this is the case. And when we get to number seven here, you’ll understand really why by the time we get through all of ’em, and especially number seven, you’ll, you’ll understand why. And so that’s the first thing. Try to avoid the lawsuit. The second thing, and this may be simple, but it’s worth saying, is avoid crazy people. RV (07:17): , like as much as you can, try not to be in business with crazy people. I love when Dave Ramsey has this thing, you know, when he talks about hiring, and he, he says, you know, one of the things that they do at their company is they always interview the spouses of the people before they hire them. So when they decide, they get all the way through the, the selection process, and they go, oh, I wanna hire this person. The last thing they do is like, go have dinner with the spouse. Because they wanna make sure not only is the person they’re hiring, not crazy, they wanna make sure they’re not married to crazy as Dave says, and there’s a lot of wisdom in that because you get drawn into the drama of people’s personal lives. And that’s a part of this when I’m talking about is, is going, you might think that being around somebody who is crazy on the weekends or who’s a big time partier, or whose spouse is pretty wild for like, whatever that means, you know, the, the Bible would, would call it, you know, engaged in wild living in the story of the prodigal son, right? RV (08:20): You might think, oh, that’s never gonna affect me because that’s not me. And I wanna tell you that that would, is a naive way to think that when people are engaged in wild living, whatever your version is of that, I’m telling you that proximity is power, just like proximity is power, and you can get drawn into good things. You get drawn into the drama of the people around you as well. And you can be a completely innocent bystander to some choices that people make in their personal life that suddenly overtake you, that, that because you work together, or they’re your customer, or you’re their customer, or they’re your vendor, or you’re their vendor, or you are their business partner, they’re your business partner, or like you’re, you know, their, their spouse is wild and they’re a friend of yours, and it’s like suddenly you’re in a car together and one of ’em is driving drunk, right? RV (09:12): And you go like, whoa, how did I get here? And a lawsuit can be like that. You can, you can get sucked into things that really don’t have anything to do with you. And I’m not just speaking from, I’m not just necessarily talking about my experience, but my friends other entrepreneurs, people I know, you know, our clients, we, we hear and see a lot of stuff. And so you wanna try to just not be around people who engage in wild living and do wild things because they, they will pull you into what they’re into sooner or later willingly or not like it’s, there’s, there’s just, there’s a lot to be said for that. And if you have a customer who is giving you a lot of like weird signs in your sales process, don’t sell to them. This literally happened to AJ and I, I mean, this has happened multiple times where we will fire a client. RV (10:03): And this happened to us recently where there was some language that a client was using with us early in the relationship, and we’re like, you know what? We’re not gonna do this. We’re we’re we, we we’re deciding that we’re not gonna work with this person, and we unwind it because it’s not worth getting involved with people who are super high drama, that have absolutely outrageous, unrealistic expectations who lose their temper, people who fly off the handle, people who are doing crazy stuff in their personal life. It’s like to, to, to the extent that you can try to stay away from crazy try to stay away from dramatic, try to stay away from unreasonable and, and try to stay away from just like outlandish, exotic, like, you know, I, I just use the, the biblical term wild living because you get caught up in that, even if, if you don’t mean to. RV (11:05): So that’s the second thing. The third thing, and this is something I really, the, this is one of the most tactical pieces of advice I wish somebody would’ve told me. When I, when I, they, they say, Roy, you’re gonna be an entrepreneur. You’re gonna be in a lawsuit at some point. Don’t read the lawyer letters. Don’t read the lawyer letters. So here’s what happens in a lawsuit. You know, you get, once you get to the point of like hiring letters, these lawyers before they get to court, a huge part of the negotiation is trying to generate emotion and get you off and angry and scared and like frustrated. And because they know that the more emotion they steer up in you, the more likely you are to acquiesce to their terms, right? So if somebody can make your life, it’s, pardon my language, if someone can make your life a living hell, they know by doing that, that you are gonna be more likely to wanna just end it quickly or to surrender, or to give up, or to give in, or to quit. RV (12:18): And so a huge part of, of the letter writing that happens back and forth, it is nothing to do with truth. It has everything to do with getting you off in emotion. And they will lie. And, and this is something that has been very sad for me. I’ve been involved with situations where I could not imagine people that would lie, lie through their teeth, blatantly lie. And they will do it just to, to get their way to win at all costs, to take advantage of you. And one of the things they’ll do, and a and, and a lot of times what people will do if they’re, if they’re skilled in, in legal battles, they will hire the nastiest, scariest letter writing attorneys, and they will, they will hire them for the skillset of being able to intimidate you and scare you and threaten you and twist the truth. RV (13:21): And, you know, those, those letters are not like part of evidence. They’re not like things that get ad ad admiss, they’re not like admissible in court, but this is what the, this is how it works. And so when they send a letter and you read it, you think that what this is, is a matter of, of settling what is the fair thing? And it’s not that, right? If, if you are somebody who is a naive, heart-centered, service centered, mission-driven messenger and believe me, that is me. I operate from a sense of altruism and a sense of service and kindness and, and believing that if I treat people nicely, it’ll come back to me. And that’s worked really, really well. But it is also a place where I’ve had to learn a hard lesson that people will, they will play on that, and they will threaten you, and they will lie, and they will, they will twist the truth to make you feel like you are the person who has done something wrong. RV (14:21): And they do that as a negotiation tactic. And so part of what, part of why you need to have a lawyer is so that you don’t waste your time reading the letters, because the letters don’t have to be factual whatsoever. And so related to that, I would say don’t take things personal. This is part of number three is like once you’re, if once you’re into a loy a a legal situation, don’t take things personal because they’re trying to make it personal. They’re trying to get a rise out of you because they, they want, they want you to want to resolve the situation. They want you to want to acquiesce, they want you to want to surrender. And so the more objective and logical and, and unemotional and even keeled, you can remain the better off you’re gonna be just mentally and emotionally. And again, that’s why it’s like, if you can, if you can avoid a lawsuit, avoid the lawsuit altogether. RV (15:19): So the, that’s number three. Don’t read, don’t read the letters and don’t take things personal. Number four is keep meticulous documentation, keep meticulous documentation. Now, before a lawsuit, what happens is it’s all hot air . People are, you know, saying stuff back and forth, making claims, you know, arguing, you know, intimidating et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s all basically hot air until you actually get to a courtroom. When you get to a courtroom, it actually often becomes very black and white, and it’s like, what is documented? And so the person who has more documentation is going to have the upper hand, right? So this ties in, this, this, this, these next three all sort of tie in together. So you wanna keep meticulous documentation of every, you know, when things have happened. So this is, so I’ll give you number five. RV (16:20): Number five is to build a timeline. Number five is to build a timeline. This is, this is a little bit of advice that somebody gave me that seemed really silly at first when I, when, when, when I first was involved in a lawsuit. As they said, keep a timeline of events, because usually it takes a long time to get into court, sometimes years and years and years. And the details will become fuzzy about how things happened and when they happened, and why they happened and, and what happened exactly. And you know, when you get to a court, it’s all about having your details tight. It’s all about having a clear story and having evidence and documentation that supports it. Well, even a very honest person can lose sight of the actual facts of like, wait, what, when was that? Did that happen first? RV (17:08): Or did that happen first? And wait, when, when did that, and who actually said that? Like, so keep a timeline of dates and, and descriptions. The moment you realize things are turning south with, with a relationship, and you go, Hey, this might be heading towards a lawsuit, or this, this is starting to head towards getting lawyers involved. Build a timeline. And, and or, and if you’re in one, now, go backwards and reconstruct a timeline of exactly what happened. Because even as you can, as you can keep a documentation of the timeline of events, it’ll help you remember important details that you forgot. And it’ll help you corroborate things. And so build a, build a timeline because it also will help you refute things when the other side is intimidating you and scaring you. And, you know, blowing hot air and like doing all these things. RV (18:01): When you have a timeline, you go, Hey, if we ever get into court, even, even though they’re saying nasty things in the letter, and you know, that’s why I say don’t read it. ’cause It’s like, it’s not at all about being factual. It’s, it’s just about getting you emotional. But when we get into court, you go, yeah, I’m not gonna be worried about that because I can prove it because this happened, this happened, this happened, and then I can document all of it, right? So keep meticulous documentation. And part of that is building a timeline that relates. And, and when I say meticulous documentation, you know this ties into number six. Have contracts, have contracts, have dates. Keep your contracts, keep your email threads. If you start to think that something is heading towards a lawsuit, then go do the work now of going back and extrapolating all of the email correspondence and keeping all of the written correspondence. RV (18:54): And this is the other thing, get people to commit what they’re saying to writing. Because I’ll, again, don’t ask me how I know, but there are people who will make promises to you and promises to you and promises to you through the spoken word, and then they will never write it down. They will never, because they can say whatever you, whatever they want, they can tell you, you know, this is while you’re working together or, you know, whatever, like, whatever the situation is of your relationship, they can, they can make you all sorts of promises. They can tell you all sorts of great things and, and they can make you think they would never not follow through. But I’m telling you, this has not only happened to me personally, where they have said something, I’ve completely believed it, and then they flat out lied, completely lied in a court of law, they’ve lied. RV (19:47): People will do this, right? And I’m not, I’m not referencing any specific case or anything here. I’m just saying in general that this will happen. I, the lawyers, lawyer, friends that I have, they tell me, they go, Rory, that happens all the time. People get into court and they lie. That’s what they, they they do hand, you know, they swear oath on the Bible, and then they lie. They, because, because for some people it doesn’t, it’s not about, it’s not about right and wrong, it’s just about winning and losing. And that is really sad. But it’s true. And you, and I’m telling you, it’ll be, it’ll be people you never, ever thought, and it will, it’ll be people who, you know, looked you in the eye and promised you this and that, that they swore up and down they could be counted on. And so get it committed and writing, get it documented. RV (20:37): If you can get it in an agreement, if you can’t get it in an agreement, get it in a written email get it in an, an employee handbook. Get it, get something that says, like, like, Hey, here’s the documentation of when they told me this. And, and I will tell you if somebody is making promises to you, but they, they delay and kick the can on getting it writing, that’s a red flag, a major red flag that they’ll make promises to you, but they won’t commit it to writing because that’s, they know they can be held to that. So that is something that is a red flag. Now, I do believe, you know, this is, you know, something that Dave Ramsey said, which I, I, I agree with him, and I, I, I agree and I disagree. What I agree with is, is he said one time he said, if I can’t trust, if I can’t trust the person’s handshake, then the contract doesn’t matter anyway. RV (21:30): And I do agree with that, right? If I can’t, if I can’t trust their handshake, if they’re gonna screw me, they’re gonna screw me, whether it’s in writing or not. The difference is if I think I can trust their handshake, and it turns out that they’re willing to lie and they’re willing to compromise their integrity later, the fact that I have it in writing means even if they’re gonna try to take advantage of me, I have a real strong negotiating basis. Whereas if it’s just the spoken word, I do not because it’s my word against theirs. And nobody really, you can never really prove that. And in certain places, you know, even recordings aren’t admissible into court. You know, there’s certain circumstances where they are and they are not. But so keep meticulous documentation, you know, that’s number four. Build a timeline, number five, number six, get it in writing and written contracts. RV (22:19): And here’s something else that I’ve learned about lawsuits. Your interpretation of written contracts is pretty much as good as any . Like one of the things that we’ve done at Brand Builders Group is our, our employment agreements, our vendor agreements, our affiliate agreements, our our customer agreements. We try to write them in plain English now, right? I’m like, because we’ve been in situations and environments where there’s been all this fancy legalese, and you’re like, what exactly does that mean? And then you get to court, or you get into, you know, a, a settlement discussion, or you get to negotiations and nobody really knows. Like, it’s, it’s completely up for interpretation. So the, the mistake, another naive, another naive mistake that I made is I kind of assumed, oh, like the lawyers will be able to, to interpret this. They’ll know exactly what that means. RV (23:12): And they’re, and then they read it and they go, no, I, I think I feel the same way as you. I when I read it, I think the same way. And I’m going, well, why is it written in such crazy language? Right? So one of the things that we’ve tried to do is, is a part of attempting to avoid lawsuits, right? We don’t ever want to have to sue anyone. We certainly don’t wanna be sued. But we don’t wanna have to sue people. And we go, we just write that, we write our agreements in plain English so that the goal is not to trick someone. It’s not, at least for us, right? The goal is not to take advantage of somebody. It’s like to lay out on paper and your, if you can’t understand it, then don’t sign it Like it should. It should be straightforward. RV (23:51): Don’t think that, oh, it has to have fancy legalese in order to be enforceable. Not at all. Your interpretation of it is as good as anyone’s. And if you can’t understand it, you shouldn’t sign it. And so that is really, really important. And, and you should, you gotta get things in writing and have a copy of it. Because if not, that’s just a sign that like you guys aren’t on the same page, or you’re dealing with someone who is maybe not super honest and they don’t really have every intention of following through on their word. And that happens a lot. Like if they can’t show you the detail, if they can’t, if, if, if, if they, if, if they get dodgy in any way around, like, you know, hey, we’re negotiating a contract of some type, like we gotta get this thing in writing. RV (24:37): Like, what if, if it’s an agreement, what are we, what is there to hide? There shouldn’t be anything to hide, but just, just beware of that and, and get it in writing. And then, you know, number seven, and, and this is the part that’s most heartbreaking to me, and I hate having to share this, but if, you know, again, I’ve been involved in multiple lawsuits. I’ve been on the board of organizations that have been involved with lawsuits. I have lots of friends who have been involved in, in lawsuits or, you know, been in lawsuits. And when I say lawsuits, it’s like, you know, sometimes it goes to court, sometimes it gets settled and resolved. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of threatening lawyers back and forth. And, you know, it comes to some agreement. You know, sometimes it’s just nasty people saying, if you don’t do this, I’ll then I’ll, you know, take action. RV (25:24): But all of those things, unfortunately, what I have found is that it’s not really about justice. It’s often the, the, the person who wins is often not the person who is right. It’s often not the person who is ethical. Unfortunately, the person who wins typically is the person who has the most money and who has the longest timeline. Because if you have a lot of money and you can pay a lot of lawyer fees, you can scare people, you can intimidate them, and you also can drag things out. You can appeal things. You, you, you can delay things and understand this, that there is a playbook that some people will run against you. And that playbook is to drain your bank account to where you are forced to acquiesce to terms that are terms that, that are less than favorable for you. And it is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever experienced to, to see, you know, to be involved with people that you trust and that you think are good people, but to then watch these scenarios where there is a playbook that they’re running just meant to drain the other side of cash. RV (26:51): And this happened. And, and, you know, here’s another thing you should do. You should watch Suits. I know this is silly, but if you’re involved in a lawsuit, you should watch the, the TV series, it’s called Suits. It’s an amazing show. It’s really, really a, a, a fun show. But if you are new to lawsuit, you’ve never been sued or you’ve never sued someone, and you fi you find yourself where you have to, you should watch that show because it teaches you a lot of just how it works. And you see like, oh, nobody is actually interested in figuring out what’s the right thing to do. No one is really interested in fairness, it’s just about winning. And it is really, I, I hate to paint such a sad picture of humanity, but that is how it often gets to, and that’s why it’s like, if you can avoid the lawsuit on the front end, do it. RV (27:43): Because by the time you get into a lawsuit, it’s like people abandon all ethics, all morals, all decency, all you know, human dignity, all respect, honesty, integrity, those things go out the window quickly. And the name of winning and the name of, you know, taking you to the house and the, and, and, and being right, and being the victor and having power over you. And it is sad, and I’m, you know, I’m hating to to say it, and I’m, this is not just these things I’m sharing with you are not just from one episode in my life. These are from having multiple episodes multiple experiences, some more involved and more painful than others, but witnessing, witnessing them. We have clients at Brand Builders Group who, you know, we, we’ve had, we’ve had four clients that are billionaires, like in the last year and a half or something like four with B billionaires. RV (28:37): We have lots of clients that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re around a lot of wealthy people, and many of them have lawyers on staff and on retainer for nothing other than fighting off frivolous lawsuits, right? Because they’re, they’re so wealthy. And that’s like, I mean, man, you know, on the one hand it’s like, must be nice to be that wealthy. On the other hand, it’s more money, more problems, you know, and people are just suing you for, for insane stuff. And sometimes people pretend to sue you just so that you’ll settle, just so you’ll go it away. So it’ll go away because it’s cheaper to settle the, the matter than to take it into court and pay all the lawyer fees. So this is, it’s, it’s, it’s really sad. Like, and so that’s why it’s like the best thing you can do is avoid this and, and, and avoid people who seem litigious and that, you know, wanna get involved in these, these kinds of things. And I would say, you know, being around people who are narcissistic in nature or in tendency, those are risky ones because like you heard on the interview, or if you didn’t go listen to the interview with Rebecca, RV (29:41): They’re very serious about just demonstrating their power over you, their control over you. And in, in many cases, it’s even more about that than money. They want to own you. They want to defeat you. They want to, in a way, it’s like they want to kill you, even though they may not want to physically kill you. It’s like they want to see you cry, they want to see you squirm, they want to destroy you, they want to destroy your reputation. And it’s like, it’s not actually about who was right or what is fair, or even what the law says. It’s really about who has the ability to persevere longer. And a lot of that has to do with how long can you be peaceful? How long, you know, like, how long can you handle all these nasty lawyer letters and not get upset? It’s also how long can you be peaceful knowing that you have a lawsuit going on? RV (30:31): Which is not it, it consumes a massive amount of stress. It creates a lot of, lot of stress. And the other one is, who has the longer financial runway, right? If someone has a financial runway, and I would say, you know, I would add this to the conversation, not only would you try not, would you try to avoid a lawsuit? I mean, of try to avoid getting into one with somebody, or being around people who might get you into one, but do the right thing yourself. Try to abide by contracts, right? If, if you make a commitment to do something, do it. Because you don’t wanna be on the receiving end of a breach of contract. It’s like, you know, it, it, it comes down. On the one hand, you would say it comes down to integrity, but unfortunately it doesn’t un unfortunately, people can sue you for anything, and they can really make your life miserable, even if you did, not only if you did nothing wrong, but even if you do everything right, they can still make your life miserable. RV (31:24): And so a lot of it just comes down to the people and treating people with kindness and treating people with respect. And I would say this too, like, the more that you, the harder you punch, you know, it’s typically the, the harder they’re gonna punch back. Like, if you get into a lawsuit, it quickly spirals outta control. And that’s why it’s like, I think the strategy is to neutralize, right? Like neutralize, neutralize, neutralize to the best you can. But I, I’ve been a part of multiple scenarios where it was like I was doing everything that I could to neutralize it to not to, to, to go, here’s, here’s how this could go down very amicably. Here’s how we could end this quickly. And sometimes people didn’t want to. They want to bury you, they want you to hurt. And and many times they’re willing to do whatever. RV (32:16): And I know that’s not a great picture of humanity, but that’s where it’s like, you wanna stay out of this if you can. But if you can’t and you get involved, try to stay logical. Try to neutralize and keep documentation and you, you know, build the timeline, get the contracts in writing, keep your email threads, go back and audit that. And you know, I I, I’ll say the other thing is, is be nice and be nice, even, even when they’re being mean to you. Be nice. Because if you end up going to discovery and this has happened to me before, where they can, they can make claims that you’re saying all these nasty things. If you go into discovery, the court can, can say, give me your phone, give me your email accounts, give me your bank accounts. And they get to audit all of them. RV (33:09): And that has happened to us. And we’ve been in a scenario where, where somebody swore up and down that we were doing some things and saying certain things, and that happened. They got to go through all of our email, our financial records, our phone accounts, and it, it sure served us well when they came up completely empty. There was no cussing, there was no, you know, there was, we weren’t doing the things they were saying. We weren’t, we weren’t saying nasty things about them. And you know, for them to be left empty handed shows a lot about our character. And, you know, that was important to us just ’cause it’s the right thing to do, but it also can play really, really well, right? So you certainly don’t wanna be firing off nasty emails about people to them, or even internally to your friends and your family, or, you know, other people in the company like that will come back on you. RV (34:01): And so those are some things. Those are seven ideas for how to win a lawsuit, you know? And namely by winning, we’re saying, try not to have it and try not to get wrapped up in it. And so I do think ultimately kindness and treating people and integrity is the best strategy on the front end. And then, you know, once you get involved, you know, you’re trying, if you, if you get sucked into it, and in multiple cases, we’ve been pulled into it where it’s like, you know, we were either a innocent kind of third party that got pulled into something or somebody came after us. And you know, I do believe where it’s like the truth will set you free in every scenario, the truth has set us free. And one of my biggest philosophies in life is to live a life that stands up to the scrutiny of transparency to go, if someone did audit everything, and they did, they did get access to look at your phone records and your email and all of your text messages and your, where you’re spending your money to go. RV (35:08): I’m not willingly gonna turn that over to somebody just because I don’t want to and ’cause it’s private. But that if somebody did, you go, I have nothing to hide, right? Like, go ahead and look at my e go ahead and look at my internet browsing history. Go ahead and look at my bank account. Like, go ahead and follow, you know, put a private investigator and follow me around. You’re gonna see that I’m an honest person. I’m not taking advantage of people. But that doesn’t mean people won’t try to take advantage of you. It doesn’t mean they won’t lie. It doesn’t mean they won’t say horrible, horrible things to get you, you know, fired up. It doesn’t mean that they won’t waste their money just to try to get you to burn out all of yours. So try to stay out of it. Try to, you know, try to avoid the fight, try to try to be around good and kind people, keep great documentation, build a timeline, get it in writing, and then ultimately realize it’s not about justice. RV (36:01): That’s, it’s often about, you know, who can, who can, who can last the marathon without going crazy or going broke. And if you do that, you, you’ll ultimately, you’ll get there. And I do ultimately believe the truth will, will set you free. So not the most uplifting content I know, but boy, if you know someone who is in a lawsuit or is being threatened by one, I think it would be good to, to share this with them. I certainly wish that I would’ve had something like this in the times that myself or organizations I’ve been a part of or my friends other entrepreneurs have been involved in lawsuits. Because having the perspective of someone who’s been through one that can really be helpful, even, even though a lot of times they can’t share specific details, because a lot of times lawsuits end up getting resolved with confidentiality clauses and things like that. RV (36:56): But somebody can sure give you a lot of perspective. And that helps me too. I’ve, part of how I know a lot of this is, I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve been in a lot of lawsuits, and it’s good to have their perspective to that. For many of ’em, they go, yeah, lawsuits is a part of business and a part of life, and you, you learn to be desensitized to it. Which, you know, again, isn’t the most beautiful thing, but you go, it’s kinda like, you know, paying your taxes or something, you go, yeah, I don’t love it, but I gotta do it and I gotta deal with it. And it’s a, it’s a, it becomes a piece of the business, you know, that you just, you do. So try to be nice to people, do everything you can, but, but I, I think the thing also that I want you to know is that if you find yourself sucked up into a lawsuit, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. RV (37:45): Sometimes people are literally thinking that they can take advantage of you because they, there’s a lot of people who will assume your kindness is weakness, and kindness is not weakness. Kindness is incredible strength. And the people who have misunderstood our kindness as weakness you know, it, it, it ended up costing them, you know, a a, it, it was a misinterpretation right to go. Kindness and weakness are not the same thing. Kindness and strength are the same thing. And, you know, you can get sucked into this. You can be a perfectly honest, hardworking, ethical, kind human and still find yourself unexpectedly in a lawsuit. And people can be trying to just take advantage of you and trying to hurt you even when you did everything by the agreement and by what is right. So don’t take that personal either, ’cause that can weigh heavily on you of like, gosh, there must be something wrong with me. RV (38:54): And, you know, if you listen to the other side, there’s probably a good chance they’re gonna try to make you feel that way. They’re gonna play into that. So you can be a good person and you can step through a lawsuit in an honest, ethical fashion. You can let the facts surface for themselves. Just don’t get caught up in firing off the hate and making the threats and doing those things that will just spiral outta control and it’ll make it more expensive and more time consuming, which makes it even more expensive. and more emotion. It has more emotional cost. So like everything, you know, do your best to be a good person. Sometimes you gotta step in and, and you, it has to get resolved legally. In that point, whoever has the most documentation and details is gonna have the upper hand and just be patient and peaceful and the truth will ultimately set you free. Hope that’s encouraging to somebody out there right now who needs it either today or someday in the future. And thanks for being here. We’ll see you next time.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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