Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

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Life during Wartime

After three tries, I find that I cannot write the story of my preparation for today's court hearing followed by the hearing itself without either invading client matters needlessly or being so vague as to render my story in the form of "you see, there was this guy, let's call him Guy A, and he had this thing, let's call it a Thing, and a dispute arose over this other thing, which we'll call an Other Thing, and...". It's just as well; anyone who goes to local bar association meetings can attest that lawyers, when socializing, do not talk about vacations, or great books, or cool music, or even the best place to get barbecue. Lawyers talk about "war stories". They spin long, involved yarns, novels which are always entitled "cases I have tried". I have my own list of "cases I have tried". I do not have quite the Penge Bungalow Case of Horace Rumpole fame. I tend to do a practice which runs rather a wide civil gambit from extremely complicated and arcane insurance company insolvency cases to down to earth consumer cases. For some reason, the consumer cases make the most fun stories. I have to edit out all the "really good parts", of course, because my clients' privacy is extremely important to me. I have to pretty much stick to non-embarrassing things that don't reveal anything "fun", and pretty much stick to what happened in open court.

The "Case of Who Ran the Light?" is fun, because it was my first jury trial, a very small case taken on to help a friend out. The "Case of the Installer who Took the How-to-Install Seminar Six Months after He did the Installation" makes for a scintillating "oh my goodness" story, particularly as the other side's experts all admitted under cross-examination that they wouldn't accept that installation, either. It was more fun than tinkertoys. The "Case of the Man who Claimed the Check was Forged" stands out in my memory, as it is the only time I can remember a court reporter looking at me after a deposition and saying, spontaneously, "That MAN's LYING to you!". The great "There's a reason why they call it drywall" collapsed walk-in freezer case is my most recent jury win, but the title hardly qualifies it for a place in the literary pantheon.

I think I will save my stories for another day, as this journal need not be as war-torn as the average cocktail hour at the average local bar association. But I am amused that I always want to tell the stories of the small cases, rather than the "We received court approval for the rehabilitation of a billion dollar life insurance company" type of cases that are my "other" life. I guess I am grateful I get to see both sides of practice.

Still, I think my journal is better as a refuge from cases, than as a narrative device to discuss them. But if you see the "Who Ran the Red Light" saga here, you'll know I've developed that fatal disease called "admission to the bar".
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