Exact Approximations

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Performance Review

I just got the transcript from my very first deposition. I immediately did an intense read of the entire thing. Marked up all of my self-determined mistakes. During the second read, I marked the deposition for actual testimonial content. As though witness testimony matters or something.

I found 17 spots where I messed up. Mostly places where I could have made an objection or jumped in and coached without getting into trouble. Of the 17 mistakes, 2 were egregious: 1) I told my client to slow down and not be nervous, implying that she was nervous; and 2) I made a stupid psychology comment in the context of a "vague as to time" objection. Basically, my client was asked howPlaintiff would behave when angry. I asked during what time period, because perceptions of how a person expresses anger can vary depending upon the perceiver's age. Dee-dee-dee. Why didn't I just tell her that my witness saw Plaintiff express anger ten different kinds of ways...? Grumble.

On the plus side, my review led to giving myself 1 Gold Star. For not objecting. At the time, I remember thinking "gee, there is no foundation, this assumes facts not in evidence... But I'll just shut up anyhow soas not to tip Defense Counsel off." I said nothing. The question was phrased in such a way that my client could answer honestly, yet, had Defense Counsel followed up, unpleasant testimony might have come out. Fortunately, I held my tongue, said nothing, didn't tip Defense Counsel off and we all moved forward.

Sigh: 17 Outs to 1 Safe. Lexie not happy.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Networking with the Right People.

This week, we have computer geeks coming in to pitch us their plan for our all-over system upgrade. Today's presentation was brought to us by Bob, computer dork extraordinaire. He totally dug me. It was so obvious.

Republican Paralegal and I were in the conference room getting the low down from Bob, when Republican Paralegal left to go get The Boss. Bob and I sat alone and he started asking about where I went to school, what kind of law we do. I kindly answered all of his questions, pretending to be super-engaged, asking him the same questions back. After the small talk, we got down to brass tacks:
Lex: "So, Bob. If we get all this new stuff you've written out here, will that allow people to track the internet activity of each individual's work stations?"
Bob: "Well, that would take extra programs..."
Lex: "I'm just wondering if it's part of what you're pitching."
Bob: Grinning. "No, that would take some more. Currently, and even if we installed this new stuff, a person would have to physically go in and view your history."
Lex: "Yeah, that gets deleted all the time."
Bob: "Cookies and everything?"
Lex: Aaaaahhh.... he's worried about me. "Yeah."
Bob: "You're fine. [The Boss] doesn't currently have any other way of knowing what you're up too."
Lex: "Oh no, not me...."
Bob: "Sure thing." Wink.
Lex: Grinning. "Do me a favor, if you install anything like that, just come by my office and let me know. I would be super-interested in understanding how such technology works." Eyelash bat.
Bob: "I'll be more than happy to. I won't tell anyone." Puts up his pinky finer like we're going to swear on it or something. More smiles.
Lex: "That would be awesome. And I'll push for your company to get the job. Deal?"
Bob: "Deal."
~ Enter Republican Paralegal sans The Boss ~
Lex: "Bob..." Hand outstretched. "It was very nice to meet you. Hope to see you again."
Bob: "You too Lex."
Lex: Off to blog about Bob.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Morning Talk

At work this morning, Republican Paralegal, Office Manager and I were talking:

Republican Paralegal: "I was at church last night, running the youth activity, and the kids were having so much fun. Our church is renovating the informational desk..."

Lex: Interrupting. "Your church has an informational desk?" That's weird, wouldn't a church Informational Desk consist of a table with a Bible on it?

Republican Paralegal: Annoyed. "Yeah, it does. Anyhow, we let the kids tear some of the old stuff down, and one little girl hit another little girl with a sledgehammer."

Office Manager: "Oh my gosh, was she ok?"

Lex: Less interested in the health update. "That's what they get for destroying the House of God."

Republican Paralegal: "Geez Lex..." Turns to Office Manager. "Yes, she's fine. Her mom came to pick her up and take her home, and she started crying because she didn't want to leave."

Phone rings. Call for Lex. Conversation with Client. Client ends call with "God Bless You."

Lex: Walks back into hallway and asks Office Manager and Republican Paralegal: "How do you respond when you're an Atheist and someone says God Bless You, without being rude?"

Republican Paralegal: "Just say thank you."

Lex: "Okay, so no trying to convert them huh?"

Office Manager: "You're an Atheist?"

Lex: "You didn't know?"

Office Manager: "I didn't."

Lex: "Yeah, it's no secret. Haven't you seen my screensaver? It's a picture of a dinosaur and it says 'never forget.'"

Office Manager: "No, I've never seen it.

Lex: "Yeah, I'm not down with God. I think religion is a mild form of socially-induced schizophrenia." Waved my hands in the air like a crazy person. "Ooooohhh no, there's a Big Man in the sky watching everything I do and he knows all my thoughts."

Republican Paralegal: Shocked.

Office Manager: Shocked. "Social schizophrenia huh..."

Lex: "Yeah, totally." Walk back into my office, ready for the day's work.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Funny Depo Quotations

I'm reading a deposition of a treating doctor in one of our cases. Asking him some background questions, he stated that he had given a deposition in a previous case - not as a defendant - but as a treating doctor involved in the plaintiff's care after the "injury." When questioned about how he fitted in, the doctor replied:
"The patient attempted suicide. She was taken to another facility and resuscitated. During the resuscitation, the patient swallowed one of the medical devices, a nasal trumpet. Then, she had subsequent problems."

So the lady tried to kill herself, failed, and swallowed the orange nose piece we've all seen at the dentist (you know, the one that gives you the happy air--laughing gas). Then the lady has the balls to sue the people that kept her alive because her dumbass swallowed a big orange thing.

Question: What would be the measure of damages for a person who had self-determined to end their life? I mean, how can you argue future damages and lost earnings? How can you argue pain and suffering? How could your family argue loss of love and affection if they were going to have to deal with your death anyhow?

I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever take such a case.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dear Miss Manners,

Fuck off. Get bent. Send your germaphobe followers to Formula 409 land.

Best, Lex Fori.

I was in a bathroom stall today with a chatty woman and her chatty friend:

Chatty Woman: "Oh my God, I was like, totally in here yesterday, and this lady came out, and she seriously didn't even wash her hands. I was like, soooo grossed out."

Chatty Woman's Friend: "Ewww... That is gross."

Chatty Woman: "I know, totally" High voice. "Isn't it?"

Toilet: Flush.

Lex: Walks out of the stall, passes sinks, and intentionally brushed myself against the stupid broad. "Oops, excuse me. I'm so totally sorry." Leaves the bathroom, all germy n stuff.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Reporting In.

Oh man, the deposition was Awesome!!! The Boss left me to do it alone. I was scared, but tried to hide it beneath all my green. About five minutes in, I realized I had yet to make an objection. So I just started throwing those fuckers out every 5-7 questions, just to screw with his tempo. Wasn't even quite sure why I was objecting most times - I just went with "If it sounds wrong, object." I really should have taken some moot court or trial practice courses. Who knew I'd end up a civil litigator? In any event, it got to the point where he'd ask a question, and then look at me for my response. Awesome. I totally heard the Star Wars music.

Anyhow, I was slightly insulted today when a fellow attorney failed to notice the level I'm playing at. Elevator talk, as always, can clear up confusions regarding the assumptions we make about people.
BigLaw Lady: "Where's your stuff?"
Lex: "Huh?"
BigLaw Lady: "You leave it upstairs?"
Lex: "Leave what upstairs?"
BigLaw Lady: "Aren't you a court reporter? I always see you around and thought you were a reporter."
Lex: Laughing. More Star Wars music. "No, I'm a lawyer." It feels good to be able to say that finally.
BigLaw Lady: "Really? You work for [The Boss]?"
Lex: Dee-dee-dee. There's only two firms on this floor. "Yup."
BigLaw Lady: "What kind of work do you do?"
Lex: Ambulance chasing. You know damn well what we do. "Ah, you know, personal injury, wrongful death. Mostly catastrophic damages type stuff."
BigLaw Lady: "Oh, I'm surprised we haven't..."
Lex: "Seen eachother across the table? I'm sure the day will come. Look forward to it."
BigLaw Lady: Awkward smile. "Me too."

Yeah, see you then lady. I'll kick your ass. Well, The Boss will kick your ass, but I'll be spottin'.