Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bad Attorney Bad!

A judge scolded me today.

As I walked into my office this morning I was told that MM was on line 1 waiting to speak with me. Great. "You have to go to court for me today." He gave me a bare-bones description of what to do and I scampered into a suit and directed paralegals to pull the file for me knowing that I needed to be out the door in about 7 minutes to meet the motion call.

I have never spoken in court before, and honestly had made a goal in law school to never speak before a judge. I guess I am a failure, because today I was forced to speak. About a motion that I knew nothing about. Anyone reading this knows as much as I know about the file. MM had several false assumptions: 1 the other side will show up and do most of the talking, 2 the judge knows this file really well so you won't have to explain anything, and 3 it's not a big deal.

Sorry, but the other side was not present. The judge didn't remember the case, nor had she read the motion (Hey, neither had I--What a weird coincidence!), and she became pissed when she read the motion and wanted me to answer her questions. I thought this was uncalled for, considering that I introduced myself as the attorney on behalf of the file, filling in for MM because he had a personal emergency to attend to and that I was unfamiliar with the file.

She became snippy with me and I immediately ceased being respectful towards her. Screw that--I will not kiss the ass of a person who is treating me like dirt. Even as the 'smart' part of my brain was directing, 'call her your honor,' and 'apologize profusely' the controlling part of my brain willfully ignored these requests and instead I became sort of brazen. I think I even wore my super-disturbing facial expression. So she scolded me in front of a full room of attorneys for being unprepared and I still didn't apologize or really acknowledge what she just, and just asked her again to grant my motion. She did, after adding a little more scolding for good measure. Her job is to uphold the law and the rules of the court, not act like the courtroom is her own little kingdom. This was an uncontested motion--all she needed to do was nod her head and tell her clerk to stamp it. Instead she had to be a bitch and purposefully try to humiliate me. If this was a case that I had worked on I would have been mortified, but since the reason for her wrath was out of my control it didn't really bother me. Her clerk was a sweetheart though, and seemed to have a lot of sympathy for me--so I treated her very well.

Additionally--below is a list of some more unprofessional attributes she could have noticed:

tongue stud? check.
visible primary-colored striped toe socks? check.
failure to shower this morning? check.
shoes with soles hanging loose? check.

Quite the charmer I am. Actually, I am pretty proud of the way I handled this situation because I wasn't cowed by the judge nor her meanness. If I have to be a litigator, at least I should be able to retain my dignity.


At 10:58 PM, Blogger Sue_Donim said...

Hmmm, what is it about perfectly nice lawyers who suddenly become out of control Judges?


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