Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Art of War - coping with conflict


Most people engage in litigation only once unless they have a very understanding spouse. At the outset, there is a lot to be gained by reading the Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is not only a manual of warfare, but a sage guide to engaging in conflicts both business and personal.

For those potential litigants who do not have the time to read the Art of War, here is the take home:

Twelve lessons for litigants from the Art of War by Sun Tzu

1.    Do not first fight and then look for victory.
2.    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting, next attacking in the field, the worst strategy is to besiege as prolonged warfare is expensive.
3.    Rapidity is the essence of war, take advantage of your enemy's unreadiness, march by unexpected routes and attack unguarded spots.
4.    The object of war is peace.
5.    When attacking leave an outlet free to make your enemy believe that there is still a safe road of escape as enemies in desperate straits will show a lack of fear.
6.    If the enemy has achieved an unassailable height before you do, do not follow, but retreat and try to entice your enemy away by threatening another place that he must relieve.
7.    If his forces are united, separate them.
8.    When faced with a superior enemy about to attack, begin by seizing something your enemy holds dear and then he will be amenable to your will (the “goolie manoeuvre”).
9.    Devise unfathomable plans while knowing your enemy’s disposition. Thereby, he must spread his resources whereas you can attack at his weakest point in strength.
10.  Win people over by kind treatment and use them as spies, as intelligence is of utmost importance.
11.  Warfare is based on deception, when able to attack seem unable, when active seem inactive, pretend to be weak so he may grow arrogant.
12.  To begin by bluster and then take fright at the enemy’s numbers shows a supreme lack of intelligence.

Having said that even a small homily from Sun Tzu within marriage is dangerous ground.  For instance, it is difficult to explain to a wife that the “object of war is peace” especially where a daughter in law is concerned.


This is an extract from the second edition of Unleashing the Dogs of Law which the author intends to get around to but for now the 1st edition is not bad. Click here to view the 1st edition.