“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.”

It's not much of a taunt, is it? In fact, it's positively foolhardy insofar as it encourages the name-caller to abandon his verbal attack and start throwing hard and pointed objects.

As adages go, it's not bad. There's some truth to it. Granted, even the harshest and coarsest of names will have no impact on Green Berets or Navy Seals, though it's best not to test their thresholds for verbal abuse. And sticks and stones aren't likely to hurt them either, so it's probably better just to play nice.

Nevertheless, for sensitive souls like trial attorneys – who so desperately want to be loved by everyone – being called an unkind name can be devastating, it’s alleged.

Surely you can sympathize with the sorrows of a sensitive solicitor:

“All I did was ask a simple question of the witness and the opposing counsel objected! I was flabbergasted. I didn't object when he asked his questions. And then the judge sustained the objection! What, I can't ask a question without being slapped down like a little child? I was so humiliated.”

But that was just a hypothetical, and that didn't happen to a real attorney, but here's something that did:

Collection Solutions filed suit last December against several New Jersey law firms, accusing them of cultivating professional plaintiffs in a “Mafia-style” racketeering scheme to shake down corporate targets with bogus class action suits.

In their motions to dismiss, the now-defendant firms, two of which have also filed cases in Pennsylvania federal court this year, complained that Collection Solutions used the term “Mafia-style” to describe their tactics, a term which has now shown up in the headlines of several news articles and editorials, including this one.

All they did was use Mafia-style tactics and then someone came along and accused them of using Mafia-style tactics! That is so unfair, so hurtful, so mafia-like.

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