Friday, December 19, 2008


They're annoying enough to have to deal with in just about any respect, but they're especially annoying to have to deal with when they're lawyers and you're stuck in depositions with them for days.

I spent all day Thursday in deposition with the biggest ass of a lawyer. I've been in deposition with him before enough to know what to expect; but, Jesus, it just seems to get worse each time. This time may have been the worst of all. He was ostentatious, theatrical, condescending, sarcastic, and insulting to my witness - - I told him at one point he was being insulting and uncivil, which was completely true; I mean, that's how bad it was; it's extremely rare, in fact I think that's the first time EVER, that I've said such a thing, or rather HAD to say such a thing, to a lawyer I was going up against.

This guy deposed one of my witnesses, an employee of a client, whom I may call as a witness at trial. Not one of my most important witnesses though, by far. (And this guy knows that.) The deposition lasted 8 hours, with a 45 minute lunch break included in that time. We did not finish. We're starting back this morning - about 4 and a half hours from now, as I write this. See, this is how annoyed I got by the deposition yesterday: while I did get several good hours of sleep tonight, almost 5 hours, nevertheless when I did wake up this morning, the wheels in my brain started turning so fast with thoughts about yesterday and about what I want to happen today that I was automatically wide awake, and finally recognized that I just wasn't going to go back to sleep, and that it was best just to go ahead and get up and let all my thoughts flow and get them organized and make a plan, and just generally get prepared for the day ahead.

But there's one thing I would like to say about these kinds of assholes in general, because I've always thought this, and I feel like I've been consistently proven correct. Assholes tend to act out, out of some kind of emotion or other; usually having to do with a desire to intimidate, to try to make people cow to them ... but not out of any actual, legitimate basis of being in the right. And they can get so swept away in their sense that by merely expressing greater outrage than anyone else in the room, they will come out the winner, that they can end up underestimating other people in the room, and end up, finally, digging themselves in a really deep hole of shit, that's blatantly obvious to everyone. I mean, it's like they're the only ones who DON'T realize what an asshole they're being.

Yesterday morning, about an hour into my deposition, this asshole lawyer was "trying" to get the judge on the phone. I put that in quotes because it was really just a threat, but he put action to his words by picking up the phone and dialing numbers ... except that the call didn't go through, the speaker phone gave off an annoying electronic sound to tell you the number you'd dialed is not valid, and I don't believe that he ever actually intended to GET the judge on the phone when he went through the motions of dialing a number ... he had no legitimate complaint, in my opinion (and my co-counsel's opinion), and I can't imagine what he could have actually said to a judge yesterday directly that would have even passed as a superficial claim for any kind of relief whatsoever. And this dude is totally using up that threat too much anyway for anyone who deals with him to give it any real belief; I mean, this is probably the 5th time I've been in a deposition with him in which he threatened to get the judge on the phone, as if that even constitutes a threat (in each case I believe the judge would've been annoyed to have been interrupted with such stupid objections had the judge even deigned to get on the phone with us), and out of all of those times, only 1 time did this guy actually dial the number correctly or finish dialing or whatever such that anyone at the court actually even answered the phone. He's just being an ass, is all, and trying to intimidate the witness, by making the witness think he or she has done something really wrong enough to warrant a call to the judge, when all the lawyers in the room know that's not the case.

In this case though, the guy didn't rattle my witness with his stupid gestures. But immediately after that, he tried to intimidate me. And see, here's the thing that I don't think he knows: it's really fucking hard to intimidate me. And that's not because I'm an asshole in like, who would posture and whatever right back; it's because (a) unless we're in front of a judge where it matters and where we're asking for a ruling, I'm not going to do more than just express my objection. The rules don't require, or actually even allow as a general rule, me to give my full reasons during deposition, they just require me to object if I want to preserve an objection for argument at a future point in time, and there's no relief that I can gain by arguing the point during the deposition; as long as I object for the record, I've done my job; why waste my time getting into an argument that neither of us has the ability to win at that particular time? and (b) I think you look pretty ridiculous getting all red-faced and angry over stuff I think you're wrong about, or at least stuff where I at the very least have just as much an argument against as you have for; and (c) when it finally comes down to it, as long as I still think I'm in the right, then I don't give a fuck what you think or say. Talk yourself red in the face; you're not going to make me change my mind. And (d) in general I also don't care to even have my pulse raised in reacting to you. I admit that unfortunately sometimes I do get so irritated and offended that I can't help but feel a rush of adrenaline in my body, which quickens my pulse and sharpens my tone of voice; but for the most part, where I don't see the necessity for that, I try to let things roll off me like water off a duck's back, and you're frankly just not going to achieve whatever level of intimidation or fear or anger or whatever it was in me you were hoping to achieve. You want to try to make me look stupid by being argumentative and sarcastic and condescing and insulting? Go ahead, give it every effort; but don't imagine that I give a fuck about it, except to think about how much of an ass you're making of yourself. And, finally, (e) given all of the above, I am in the end totally comfortable actually arguing the point with you; I only argue when I feel I have an argument, and when that's the case then I feel confident in my basis and my opinions and have no problem whatsoever expressing them to you - - you're not going to catch me making an objection without a clearly articulable basis for it that I believe to be well-grounded in the law.

Of course, sometimes assholes don't respond to my approach; they don't back off, even when I refuse to engage. Yesterday, after I thought he'd exhausted himself with all his threats to call a judge and cease our deposition and seek an order compelling the witness to answer his questions [read: compelling the witness to give the answers he WANTS versus the answers the witness believes to be the right answers], the asshole lawyer turned his attention to me yet again. I objected to one of his questions; just stated my objection - we're not allowed to explain our reasons on the record during deposition, pursuant to court rules; just saying "objection" preserves your right to argue the point later, if it gets in front of a judge. And usually the trouble is that people sometimes try to sneak in the basis for their objection when they object in deposition, in order to clue in their witness as to what they think is wrong with the question, and give subtle (or sometimes not at all subtle) guidance as to how the witness should answer. (That's why we're prohibited from explaining our objections during depositions, btw, essentially.) So anyway, I said "objection." But the witness of course is required to answer anyway, which he started to do ... until the asshole lawyer turned to me and in an exasperated huffy voice said "WHY are you objecting to THAT?!" So annoying. Implying I'm out-of-my-head wrong, and somehow hurting him by stating "objection." So I explained to him my basis for the objection, which showed the flaw in his question (which has assumed a fact not in question, although not quite even; it was assuming that my witness had a certain opinion, which my witness not only had not stated but that I knew my witness did not share ... sort of a "when did you stop beating your wife" kind of question, but rather it was a "why do you consider such-and-such unimportant" kind of question). So after I gladly explained my basis, which had the benefit of allowing my witness to hear what I was thinking, I then told him that I'd be more than happy to state the basis for each of my objections going forward, as long as he would agree not to object to me providing speaking objections (which is what they're called, when you explain your reason, which is what the rules of deposition actually don't allow us to do). And the cocky asshole, not wanting to look like I'd gotten anything over on him, said "well I just wanted to know your basis for THAT objection, but sure." (Which then prompted my co-counsel, the attorney for a co-defendant, to say "can I have the same deal?", because like I said it would be awesome to be able to state my reasons for my objections on the record, like I did then when asked but usually can't do because the rules don't allow.)

Well, that was a long rant, but damn, sometimes you just need to vent about the stupid little things that other people do that you unfortunately just have to put up with, no matter how inconsequential.

And now, on this Friday that's the last Friday before Christmas, I get to go back into deposition with this asshole - first to finish up yesterday's witness, and then to start on another. I don't expect to be done before 6 pm ... and that's if we're lucky enough to finish; if we're far from finishing by 5 pm, then I'll call it a day then and make him reschedule the rest ... that'll be up to him, as to wether to finish quickly or reschedule. Our fucking rules don't put a limit on the length of time you can depose someone. Which I think is outrageous. But whatever. Merry fucking Christmas!