The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Prep for Trial

As the outdoor air is transitioning from a mild breeze to a sharp chill, I am reminded that the semester is about to come to an end for law students everywhere. I am reminded of this not because of the weather change, though, but because the law school kiddos have started back up with their "OMG FINALS THEY'RE GOING TO BE HERE SO SOON I MUST GO HIDE FOREVER AND STUDY BUT FIRST I HAVE TO PUBLICLY WHINE ABOUT IT" cries. And that's cool, I did the same thing. I didn't start whining 'til the week before, but I whined a lot, heck yes I did.

Anyway, I used to do my public whining by blogging about finals, and I'd post my study tips every semester. But since I'm all Esquire-y now, I've gotta find a new way to fill the finals-blog void in my life. And since we here at Incidental Justice are all about providing positive learning experiences to readers, I'm going to share some real-life advice to prepare you for your legal career. Because I promise you, they won't teach you anything practical in law school.

These, my friends, are a few of the steps you need to take to properly prep for trial:

  • Stock up on junk food ahead of time - Lots of it. And buy it in bulk. This is a stark contrast from my finals rule, in which I state that one needs to make as many trips to the convenience store as possible. Don't go to the convenience store when you're prepping for trial. You're going to run into someone you know there, and then they're going to start telling you all their legal/emotional/life problems, and then they're going to want you to wave the Attorney's Magic Wand and fix it all. You barely have enough time for your own petty problems, let alone this guy's.
  • Watch My Cousin Vinny -  This is hands down the most inspirational legal movie EVER. Yes, I know that in The Rainmaker, rookie attorney Matt Damon (super delish) won millions of dollars for a family whose son died of cancer. But by gosh, after watching Vinny question a guy, I get fired up and I'm ready to whoop up on some folks in the courtroom. I have a feeling you'll be fired up, too. And If you've got trial this month, you're in luck - basic cable is airing this movie every seven minutes these days.
  • Quietly whine to yourself - You're going to get frustrated at some point while you're prepping for trial. But even if you're thinking "I am truly screwed," you need to keep it to yourself. So feel free to quietly whimper... just don't let anyone hear you. And then eat some of the junk food you stocked up on.
  • Suit up, you sexy thing - After you've done all this prepping and whatnot, you're going to look like you were hit by a truck. But no more of that! Time to put on your pretty face and dress for the best. You, my friend, have worked your tail off for this trial. You're a sharp attorney, and you deserve to be lookin' sharp on your court day. Plus, studies have shown that jurors tend to vote based on which attorney is more attractive.
Of course, in addition to all of this, you should probably be interviewing witnesses, prepping your arguments, and reading documents until your eyes bleed. But you probably already knew that.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon... Again

(Part two in a multipart series. I swear I'm not picky.)

Date: November 9, 2010
Location: Sonic
Conversation topic: Bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, no bread

Transcript:

Me: I'll have a Diet Coke and a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce only and no bun
Near-incomprehensible voice over the speaker: ...No bun?
Me: No bun. Just lettuce.
Voice: I have a Diet Coke and a bacon cheeseburger with no bun, will that be all?
Me: I only want lettuce on the bacon cheeseburger.
Voice: Just lettuce?
Me: Yes, lettuce is the only topping I want.
Voice: So you just want lettuce? No bacon and no cheese?
Me: No. I would like bacon and cheese on my bacon cheeseburger.

Glad we cleared that all up. I checked my bag after they brought out the bacon cheeseburger. They forgot the bacon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post-Election Walk of Shame

I slept in my clothes last night. I'd had a long evening watching election results, and as I strolled down my staircase this morning, I looked like I was having a post-election walk of shame of sorts. I wandered over to the kitchen, still in rumpled clothing from the day before, and the once-crisp campaign stickers that were clinging to my shirt were starting to curl at the corners. I had been a believer last night, but this morning, I felt like a sucker.

I brewed six cups worth of coffee as I listened to George Stephanopoulos and the rest of the Good Morning America crew. I only drank about three of those cups, but perhaps I should have looked into gulping down the rest. It was going to take a lot to cure the election hangover, and even if caffeine wouldn't fix it, at least it would be a nice distraction. The election news on the television was the same as last night - America decided to go mostly Republican. This meant I got to spend my morning being even more cranky than I usually am, and that's a hard thing to do.

I made an omelette. The omelette wasn't intentional - I was planning on making regular ol' scrambled eggs, but I got distracted and forgot to actually do the scrambling. So as I was eating this unintentional omelette, I got to hear all the morning punditry - "This means blah blah blah" and "What's going to happen in 2012 grumble grumble" and all of that exciting stuff. It's the same drivel we've been fed for months, except this time around, the pundits had more material to work with. Every number had to "mean" something, and I'm sure that for the next week, I will get to hear even more analyses of the meaning of each one.

However, in my cranky, groggy, omelette-induced state, I decided that I was not going to look into the deeper meaning of what happened last night. I know that some people like to pick apart the implications and analyze "what's going to happen next," but for the moment, I'm just going to accept the fact that we got screwed. Maybe, once post-election hangover wears off, I can take a look at what happened and think about the future. For now, I will sip my coffee and take it like an adult.