Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There was some sweating, some heavy breathing, and I was not wearing all my clothes

I woke up early today and was filled with a desire to be productive. I caught an earlier train and got to the office early to attack the ever increasing mountain of work applying for permanent residency on my desk. It was going to be a no-client, no-court day, thus casual all work Wednesday. Hoo-rah.

Then at 9:28 the phone rang:

Opposing Counsel: Hey there, I was just wondering if your Supervising Partner was going to be in court today for the case that we have up.
Me: What time is the hearing?
Opposing Counsel: 9:30.
Me: I see. [Oh fuck]
Now, I know my boss's schedule for the day and I know that he is not planning to be in court today. I know this because he dressed much like I am, only more Tiger Woods-esque. I run to his office and explain the situation. His response is quite simple: "Oh fuck" (We are pretty sure we just didn't get the notice of the court date). In my unshaven, no-tie, no hair product casual day, I saw fit to wear a sport coat (or as I framed it to one of my co-workers, 'It's like a purse only for a man').

In the words of my boss after we got done unsuccessfully searching a few offices for a spare tie, I was dressed for court.

Federal Court.

So yes, 9:33am. Sport coat on. Heading quickly towards the elevator with my boss giving me the quick and dirty on what to do. 9:34am in the lobby and I run the two blocks from my office to the Dirksen Federal Building.

9:39am: I am outside the court room and I foresee a few problems:
  • I don't know a thing about the case.
  • I have no idea who the opposing counsel might be.
  • I'm not sure if I'm there for the Plaintiff or for the Defendant.
  • I've never done anything in Federal Court.
  • I'm dressed like a bum.
  • I'm sweating.
About 30 minutes pass and I'm up. Turns out that I was there for the Plaintiff (I figured this one out on my own) and there were a fleet of sharply dressed defense attorneys that surrounded me at the podium. But then it happened for the first time ever on the federal record:
Good Morning Your Honor, I'm Namby Pamby on Behalf of the Plaintiff...
The good news was that the Defense lawyers were bickering about some procedural issues between the various defendants. The judge asked them about the facts of the case. All I had to do was say, "That sounds about right to me" after a long winded factual discussion about my firm's client. The judge wasn't too pleased with the defense lawyers, told them they had to get their act together, and that was that.

So that was my first foray into the land of the Federales. Totally unplanned. Totally off the cuff. Totally awesome. I love my job.