Well, I have to be careful answering this one. Pretty much everything we do is confidential, so I am going to change a few of the minor inconsequential facts, and certainly will mention no names, but here goes:
1. Once I was questioning a witness who was not particularly thin, and I felt someone tapping my shoulder. This was right in the courtroom. I turned around and I saw another lawyer I knew well. He bent down and whispered in my ear the following: “What are you trying to do Tilson, impress the Judge with the weight of the evidence?” Needless to say, it took me awhile to regain my composure. However, it sort of made my day.
2. This is another weight-related entry: Once, not long ago, I was jotting notes during a court proceeding. Suddenly, and with absolutely no warning, the chair on which I was sitting in the courtroom fell apart. Now, I’m not particularly light, but I don’t think I’ve ever been heavy enough to break a properly functioning Courtroom chair. Nevertheless, it did provide a comic moment for me and the other people in the room. It also gave us a much needed momentary break.
3. This isn’t really a single event, but is more a string of them: I won’t mention names, but there are a couple of lawyers against whom I have had Court proceedings, whose company I find very enjoyable. Some of these people have styles of doing things that are both humorous and serious. They make the stress of the practice of law much easier to deal with. I guess I can’t really give specifics without giving away potentially confidential information, but I want to thank Dusty Redmond and John Berger for their wit and skill in many of the matters I’ve had against them!
4. I once saw a very gifted lawyer get up in a Courtroom during a Motion argument. His opposing lawyer had given a tremendous argument in support of her client’s position on a tangential Motion in a personal injury case. I had the next hearing and was just in the audience watching at the time. My acquaintance got up, said only these words, and then sat down: “Your Honor, my client’s position is that that is wrong.” My first impulse was to jump to the conclusion that his comment was entirely inappropriate, too short, and not responsive to the other side’s position. But, then I started thinking more about it. I pretty quickly concluded that what that lawyer was really saying between the lines, was something like this: “What the other lawyer just said in her remarks was absolutely correct. I have no legal argument contrary to anything she stated. My client doesn’t like the fact that the law is the way it is, and wants me to go on record objecting to it. I can’t give any real legal argument about it, so I am going to tell the Judge in no uncertain terms that while what the other side said is legally correct, my client does not like it.” The more I thought about that, the more I concluded that it was a pretty good response. And, it also made me smile. He could have responded with some off-the-wall frivolous rant, but had the wisdom and good sense not to.
5. On a final note, I will say that I’m sure every lawyer who goes through decades of practice has heard a lot of incredible stories from people involved in Court cases. Unfortunately, almost everything involving those stories would reveal confidential facts, so I can’t get into those. But for anybody who is thinking about practicing law, and who thinks that lawyers live in a droll and boring environment, let me say this: you are very wrong!