Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Smiling Cannon Fodder

Apparently, I have a sadomasochistic streak in me.

My partner and I have been doing a decent amount of work on this particular case. This case has been going on for some time and we had finally made progress towards settlement when things came unglued. The relationship with the opposing parties and their counsel has been anything but pleasant. Name calling, blatant disregard for respect and decorum accompanied by a wicked case of halitosis is what we dealt with every time we interacted with opposing counsel.

As this case has progressed, my partner has started to handle more of the ‘partner-esque’ aspects of the case (meaning he is now directly calling the shots). Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) my partner has started taking the lead in these interactions, meaning that we will be the example of professionalism (all I want to do is punch this opposing lawyer in the face which I’ve been told is unprofessional).

Today he directed me to handle the latest contested motion that the other side has seen fit to file. The partner gave me my marching orders and off I went to Court to zealously advocate our position.

It is an ominous sign when you get cut off in the middle of your argument by the Judge.

It is a things-are-going-from-bad-to-worse sign when the Judge tersely tells you that you need to stop talking because nothing will change the Court’s mind.

The oh-shit moment is when the Judge starts ranting while beginning to yell about your firm’s (read: my partner’s) actions in this case.

There I am, the psychological equivalent of standing naked in the middle of the court with the Judge reading the riot act to me. Weirdly, I know that there are 40 pairs of eyes behind me staring at the back of my head (or my ghetto booty) and I haven’t hit that ‘flop-sweat moment’.

I was taking one for the team, getting publically torn to shreds and told of the many unpleasant things that are going to happen to me as a result of upsetting the court. I’m standing there, oddly calm while stifling a smile (almost like I’m enjoying it…?).

It was a surreal experience. One that I hope to never repeat again.