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“The wise person, even when remaining quiet, says more than the fool who speaks.” (author unknown)


My belief is that the words above have application in many facets of life other than around the card table.  I base this primarily on my 13 years as a trial lawyer and 32 years practicing as a commercial real estate broker.  Though there are many examples available, I will cite one each from my trial practice and my commercial real estate practice.


In the 1970’s, I represented a defendant in a difficult criminal matter in a McLean County jury trial.  As I am giving my closing argument near the end of the trial, one juror with arms crossed, in the back row, began shaking their head side to side as if to let me know “No Way – You are Cooked” – the verdict was Guilty!

Subsequently, we appealed the verdict and sentence to the Appellate Court – it did not reverse the verdict and sentence but did send the case back to the trial court for resentencing by a different judge and we received a favorable outcome for my client.


Now, let’s examine a commercial real estate transaction from some time ago.  My long-time clients asked me to list an excess vacant commercial/industrial lot for sale.  Over time we reduced the price to what my clients deemed to be a firm and non-negotiable price.  Quite some time later, I received an email from a broker that I was not familiar with.  The email presented me with a “Residential One-Step Contract Form” at substantially less than our ‘firm price’.


The seven-page ‘form’ was titled in bold on page one as a Residential Sales Contract.  Also on page 1, was a notice that it is intended for purchase of 1-4 unit previously occupied residential dwellings, including condominiums and zero-lot line units.  The form also called for acceptance by my clients within a time frame that could not be met.


I advised the Broker that we had to have the ‘firm’ price agreed to and that the acceptance time needed to be extended into the following week so my client’s attorney could review it prior to signing, not after signing as provided in the original document.


Late on the following day, I received an email from the broker indicating the client would jut move on and buy something else if we did not accept their offer.  After thinking about it, I concluded this was a last-ditch effort to see if we would respond in their favor.  My clients had made it clear to me that the ‘firm’ price was ‘it’.  So, I decided to not contact the broker that evening or the next day to see what might happen.  The next afternoon, I received a text from the broker asking if the ‘deal’ was dead?  I responded via text that ‘It is dead, Thank You!’.  A short time later the broker called me and indicated that we had a deal per the Seller’s terms.  All went well and we went forward preparing for the closing, which did take place.


Forms can be very useful and appropriate when matched properly to the real estate transaction.