Turn weaknesses into strengths.
This is when things start to get graceful; when you can find a way to turn something that should be working against you into an advantage. Haigh isn’t a lawyer, and this was his first time in court. But as Shang pointed out:
“When you’re showing up in small claims court, it’s not a literal battle between you and the other side. It might feel like it, but you’re really trying to impress the judge. It’s an arena for regular people to settle grievances. So Christian’s weakness–no law degree–became his strength.”
.. Turn strengths into weaknesses.
Haigh won, but Equifax appealed the judgment, and it sent a high-powered lawyer from the law firm of King & Spalding to oppose him–along with an in-house lawyer and a company vice president. It would have been natural to be intimidated, but Haigh said he realized this could actually be a good thing for him.
“Equifax, being a large national corporation, part of their litigation strategy is to hire the best people, so they hire King & Spalding. But they’re not really thinking through the fact that King & Spalding probably doesn’t go to small-claims court very often,” he told me.
Sure enough, Haigh writes in his blog post, this benefited him when the company’s lead lawyer didn’t know (or seemed not to know) that in small claims court, hearsay evidence is admissible. Thus, he wasted time and effort arguing that Haigh shouldn’t be allowed to use a report about the Equifax breach from Senator Elizabeth Warren as evidence.
As the great philosopher Wayne Gretzky once put it, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. And I guess you lose 100 percent of the small-claims court cases you never get around to filing.
.. Keep showing up.
As long as I’m punctuating these principles with quotes, how about one supposedly from Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
.. “we realized if they pursued their cases in small-claims court, it might be a good opportunity. So we put out an announcement that we would fund Equifax cases, and they really started coming in.”