May 19, 2005

Letters From Lawyer Camp, Part Seven - Making Mom Proud

Just got done with the big mock trial at the end of Father Justice's legal boot camp. I wound up doing the closing for my team (defending a PO-lice officer in a Fourth Amendment lack of probable cause/excessive force case).

They get a bunch of Fed'ral magistrate judges to come in and do the final trials. After we were done, mine sidled up to me and said, "How long did you work on that closing?"

Here was one of those questions you really don't want to answer until you know where the guy is going with it. I didn't want to say that I'd slaved over it and have him tell me that it blew fetid dingos' kidneys anyway. At the same time, I didn't want to admit I'd knocked it together in a hurry and have him say something like, "Yeah, I could tell....."

So I hoom and hommed and, lamely, came up with, "Oh, well, you know - the usual amount of work."

So the judge said, "That was one of the best closings I've ever heard."

Wow. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but, well, wow. I don't get that kind of praise very often, and especially not for my speaking skills - most people who know me think I'm pretty reserved and tight-lipped. But getting up on your hind legs in court is not unlike performing on stage, something I've always enjoyed. You play a part, a character that isn't your ordinary self. (I find the same thing to be true about blogging and have sometimes mentioned the Stanley Ipkiss/Mask difference between plain ol' Rob and Robbo the Llamabutcher. Those folks who are gonna meet me at Jawapalooza this weekend are probably going to be pretty disappointed.)

Anyhoo, I was extremely pleased at the compliment and was only slightly put off when he went on to tag me about reading my notes from the podium. I restrained myself from pointing out that if he'd written the damn thing an hour before trial, he'd be sight-reading to.

So it's all over now. I'm gonna head back to my room, get in a nap and then see about getting myself packed up. I head out tomorrow morning and will be on the road most of the day. Regular blogging will probably pick back up next week.

Then again, those few of us hanging around tonight are probably gonna blow our per diems in the bar upstairs, so who knows? I might feel inspired before then. Just keep checking back to see.

Either way, Yip! at you later.

Posted by Robert at May 19, 2005 02:47 PM

Congrats! That's a lovely compliment to be on the receiving end of!

Posted by: RP at May 19, 2005 02:57 PM

Well done lawyer llama! "Yip, Yip, Hooray!"

Posted by: ahriman at May 19, 2005 03:02 PM


"And when a duly-appointed constable of the law apprehends some wretch, some guttersnipe, some misbegotten ruffian from the lower classes, the great unwashed (if I may be so bold), the veritable hoi polloi, who are we to stop him in the exercise of his just duties?

My good jury, the streets will not be safe for good folk to walk if we permit these plebeians to ignore their duty, which is -- after the doffing of cap and the utterance of "g'day guv'nor", or "bye your leave, captain" -- to step into the gutter (whence they came) so that the gentlefolk might pass.

And if said wretch fails to pay due regard, and a constable of the law is moved, out of sense of duty or common proprietary, to strike such wretch about the head and shoulders with his nightstick, are we to say that justice has not been done? My good jury, I dare say that had the constable not knocked some sense into the ruffian, it would do nothing other than to encourage this and other bold improprieties. I should hope the wretch would get a clubbing, and indeed, were I or the good members of the jury there to witness the incident, we ourselves might be so moved by the outrage that we would reach for the club, walking stick, (or other blunt instrument) ourselves . . ."

(end excerpt)

Seriuosly, though -- excellent work. Now get back to the young Llamas and your garden!

Posted by: The Colossus at May 19, 2005 03:18 PM

Very impressive, Robbo.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at May 19, 2005 04:40 PM

Congrats on the pat on the back from one of the magistrates. In the real deal, the judges almost never comment on a lawyer's technique in an active case. But always be polite, if not friendly, to the court staff because it is the right thing to do. In return, they will occasionally give you a bit of inside baseball. I had a case a few years ago in federal court where I was appointed. At the last minute, my client asked for a continuance because he "wanted a real lawyer, a paid-for lawyer." Amazingly, the judge gave him a short continuance after taking a short recess to confirm that the "paid-for lawyer", a well-respected member of the defense bar, had in fact been retained. At the end of the hearing, the deputy clerk asked me to stay a moment. The judge left the bench and everyone else walked out. I went up to the deputy clerk, expecting to get chided for some breach of courtroom etiquette. Instead, she said--"I think you should know that during the recess the judge said 'I don't know why the defendant is hiring that guy. [LMC] would do a better job.'" A rare comment like that will keep me going for weeks.

Posted by: LMC at May 19, 2005 04:47 PM

Congrats Robbo! You gonna be better than Sam Watterson and Bebe Neuwirth combined!

Posted by: Gordon at May 19, 2005 04:50 PM

well, robbo. well done; well done indeed.

why are we not surprised?

Posted by: mom at May 19, 2005 05:21 PM

Well done, Robbo!

Make me proud to pay my taxes! ;)

Posted by: Kathy at May 19, 2005 06:54 PM

This colleague recognizes that is HIGH PRAISE, indeed!

Well done, counselor.

Posted by: Christina at May 19, 2005 10:44 PM

Nice work, Robert.

Posted by: jen at May 20, 2005 07:04 AM

That will do, Llama. That will do.

Posted by: babs at May 20, 2005 02:56 PM
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