Friday, September 28, 2007

Free Legal Advice

As you know, I am an attorney. I'm also pretty good at my job, which involves going to court and trying cases. You'd be surprised how many attorneys never set foot in court. And you probably wouldn't be surprised at how many do but shouldn't. But for wahtever reason, when I started trying cases I found my little niche in life and therefore, when I give you free legal advice about what to do when you find yourself in front of a judge, you'd better listen. You never know when you're going to find yourself trying to explain something to a judge. Especially some of you who live in the south and have a lot of guns.

At any rate, while in court this morning, trying to explain a case to a judge well into his 80's, and failing to do so even though I was pretty much screaming by the end of it, ("NO YOUR HONOR, NOT STATE, CASE!!!!") (The difference between those words was actually crucial, a minor yet frustrating point that should discourage any rational person from pursuing a career in the law), I chanced to see something that inspired the following free advice.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you're involved in a work place situation where, say, I don't know, someone hasn't installed a lift-rig improperly, and since you're, again, hypothetically, PMSing, you do the only rational thing and shoot out his knee-caps. Not that anyone I link to would do that. cough-Maggie-cough

When you appear for the subsequent and inevitable court date, do you appear wearing a) your nice Sunday dress; b) a professionally tailored suit of some sort; c) something more casual but washed and ironed; or d) a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt reading "Alcatraz Psycho Unit Outpatient"? In my opinion, and remember, I'm a very experienced attorney and therefore well-qualified to comment on these subtle nuances, a-c are accpetable, while d is probably not the way to go. Oh, sure, you might think this is obvious, but based on what wandered into court this morning, it's not that obvious to everyone.

16 Comments:

Blogger eclectic said...

You're just trying to rack up pro bono points with this, aren't you? ;)

8:26 PM  
Blogger Zoe said...

What if someone appeared in something resembling a catholic school girls uniform? Would that be acceptable?

10:02 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I said it was an accident! The other knee was just to make sure they knew what an "accident" was!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Brighton said...

If one were to perhaps, hypothetically walk into court dressed like that, then they deserve whatever hypothetically comes their way.
Hypothetically.

5:17 AM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

Visit my neck of the woods, you'd be amazed the types of things that aren't obvious to everyone.

When I did CASA work, I had to remind clients to show up with shoes on when we'd go before the judge.

5:22 AM  
Blogger puerileuwaite said...

Since there apparently IS a precedent, then I will demand that "lift rings" be installed at every urinal that I use. This will negate the need for a second set of hands.

And thank you for the legal advice, for it made me realize that my Angus Young schoolboy shorts and "Kill 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out" t-shirt may be a wee bit "inappropriate" in court.

Also, even though you didn't mention it, I shall forgo my "killer" Al Pacino "No, YOU'RE out of order!" impression. Instead I shall adopt a much humbler and terrified "Please don't send me to jail, my ass was designed to be an OUTPUT device only, and is precision calibrated for that function" demeanor.

So instead, I'll wear judicial robes, a powdered wig, and I'll act as if I'm constipated. For imitation, they say, IS the sincerest form of flattery.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Rat In A Cage said...

I've always said, "You don't have to be smart to be a criminal."

That's unfreakingreal!

9:29 AM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Limpy, are you telling us that someone really did arrive in court wearing a T-shirt reading "Alcatraz Psycho Unit Outpatient." Idiot.

I used to have our Commonwealth’s Attorney (state prosecutor) lead short workshops to help the social workers I supervised be prepared to testify in court. Once he said to us:
“When Judge S. is on the bench, remember to look directly at him. There are two reasons for this: (1) to be sure he is listening to you and not day dreaming and (2) because Jude S. is stone deaf, refuses to admit it or wear a hearing aid, and he needs to be looking at you when you speak so that he can (maybe) read your lips.”

I have heard of “blind justice” but Judge S. was my first encounter with deaf justice.

10:45 AM  
Blogger The Recovering Straight Girl said...

Whew. I'm glad you let me know. I might be in court soon and I was wondering what to wear. I think I might go with the Catholic School Girl's Uniform as Zoe suggested.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Yeah, we Southerners with lots of guns (which is a redundancy) don't need no fancy lawyering.

Hell, everybody know that a Dale Jr shirt is the only way to go.

8:32 PM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

LOL. Living in the south, I have to say- Syd makes a good point. Dale Jr apparel is appropriate for most any occasion!

5:32 AM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

You almost made me miss my days in court.

Almost..... ;-)

6:41 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Eclectic, did it work?

Zoe, I can't possibly answer that without pictures. Preferrably color.

Maggie, tell it to the judge sister.

Trish, I guess when you're already at the bottom, you can't get hurt falling any farther.

Tysgilr, was one of your remindees the judge?

Pug, I would pay hard money to see someone walk into court with a judge's robe and powdered wig. Good times.

Rat, nor, apparently, does one need a good sense of fashion.

Nick, indeed, this is 100% true. Saw it with my own eyes. As for deaf judge's, I have yet to deal with that, but I have had elderly judge's doze off during trials. Usually the attorneys just exchange glances and then one of us will say something really loudly.

RSG, again, this is something I'm going to need photos of. And I'll bet Zoe would like a set too.

Syd, who are you kidding? No one wears a shirt to court down there!

Tysgirl, I just know that ther'es a #8 wedding dress out there somewhere.

BP, almost indeed.

9:50 AM  
Blogger little sister said...

Great advice, Limpy. I learned quite a bit when I worked for a lawyer who also was the part-time town judge. Thought I learned a lot about how to conduct one's self in a court room, but now I'm not sure how valid the advice was. See, after I got a new job, it was discovered that guy was turning in receipts for judge's conferences that never happened. He stole a whopping $2700 from the City of Carmel (Indiana - not California) and was disbarred for it. When he asked me to create those receipts (using my nifty desktop publishing skills which were rare in those days), it occurred to me how handy it was that those conferences took place near his son's home in a western state, but I never thought about investigating it.

Luckily, no one ever thought of deposing me. I heard they grilled his computer dude and other court employees for a whole week about who "formulated" the fake receipts for the dishonest part-time judge and whether anyone got a payoff. Apparently, they spent nearly $2700 asking all the wrong people the wrong questions.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Party Girl said...

I'm a firm believer in "stupid people shouldn't breed." But they keep failing to listen. Therefore I am going to make the un-pc comment of, I'm guessing Ms. Psycho patient has about 3.5.

How'd I do? Do I win a prize?

...and Zoe stole my question. Damn, late to the party again.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Lil Bit said...

You're a LAWYER?!?!?!!!!!!!

*running away screaming*

LOL, kidding.

Really, dude, I had no idea.
I'm learning alllllll kinds of shit today. LOL

10:35 AM  

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