Dear Mr. or Ms. Commercial Litigator in the Courtroom Sitting Next to Me:
Hi, my name is Namby and I am intruding on your domain. This is your typical courtroom experience, not mine, and as this is a foray that I seldom make, I am trying to take in all that I witness and learn the secrets to your exorbitant billable rate. I bill at a little less than your paralegal bills at and, as such, I know that I have something to gleen from your awesomeness.
Or at least your firm’s perceived awesomeness.
As far as I can tell, your firm is in the AmLaw 100, your clients are big fancy banks, financial institutions, and Fortune 500 companies. Your gold Rolex is nice, your five thousand dollar suits are nicer, and your Louis Vuitton tie is…just effing obnoxious.
Me? I am sitting in a decent suit, without a watch and with a sensible tie that offends only the fashionably challenged. Or those that don’t like Pink Paisley.
Anyway, why am I writing you this open letter? Simply put, you are a disgrace to the litigating community. Yes, I am talking to you with the fancy suit, big ego, and no clue at what the eff you are doing in front a judge. I spent two hours of my life watching you in action today. Not because I wanted to get out of my office and enjoy the special (as in the Olympic sense of the word) behavior of attorneys that don’t appreciate the art of clarity. I spent two hours of my life that I will never get back watching you today because I was stuck at the end of your court call. In other words, I may spend the majority of my day chasing ambulances or defending the rights of the downtrodden, but even after a stroke I am a better lawyer in the Courtroom than you will ever be.
That’s right, you know shit about being before a Judge.
I watched every Tom, Dick, and Harry (as well as a few Michelle’s, Tiffany’s and Fugly’s) fumble their way in front of the judge. The Judge would ask why and you would not answer the question. The Judge would ask ‘why?’ again and you would launch into a soliloquy about the justness of your position and how some bureaucratic functionary has totally screwed up your life. Those seated behind you were watching with great interest the calamity that you were performing before the Court and we were stifling laughter the whole time.
The Court: Were you able to get a response from the Defendant?
You: Well, you see your Honor, they raised a procedural argument in our last phone conversation—
The Court: That’s all well and good, but did they file a response?
You: Your Honor, the issue here is that they believe that—
The Court: DID THEY FILE A WRITTEN RESPONSE???
You: [Deer in headlights look]
The Court: I think you need to get me an answer to this question before we move on.
Here is my advice to you, your pedigree, and to your brain: When a judge asks you a simple question, answer it. Don’t spend twenty minutes talking about irrelevant minutiae that no one gives a flying hoot about, let alone the judge. You are wasting the Court’s time and, more importantly, my time.
Also, if you spend so much time discussing things that don’t answer the Court’s simple question, you never know who is going to be in the audience. Such as an ambulance chasing attorney, one who writes for Bitter Lawyer, and will do everything in his power to mock you. For the rest of his life.
Very truly yours,
The Namby Pamby
Post image from Flickr