Monday, December 07, 2009

The Catch-22 in Action

For all of you law school students, wrapped up in the middle of finals studying, I have a hypothetical for you:

You are working on a multi-million dollar case directly for the lead partner on the matter. You have been assigned a dispositive motion that has to be filed and briefed in order to preserve the issue on appeal. The case law is on your side, common sense is on your side Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg are both rooting for you (while wearing a onesie) and now, you come to a professional fork in the road:

Option A: Taking this option allows you to slave over a brief knowing full well that your partner is going to argue it before the court.

Option B: Taking this option gives you total ownership of this process including (1) slaving over the brief that (2) you get to argue before the court.

The common fact between the options: You will lose no matter what.

Which option do you choose?
Time’s up.

I didn’t get a choice on the Option list. It was “you write, I go talk to the judge, any questions?”

Even though I was benched for gameday, I went to Court to hear the argument. I grabbed the seat nearest to the door in the back of the Courtroom and began doing work on another case while waiting for the argument to begin. The case was called, the phalanx of attorneys rose as one and marched towards the bench.

The judge issued his ruling for the other side before my partner could open his mouth.

I snorted. I got up. Left the courtroom. And laughed some more.

The next question becomes where does the partner apportion his blame?