"Don't Taze Me, Bro" -- Behavior Modification for Trial Lawyers

My how time flies.

Or maybe I'm just behind the times.

A week ago I blogged about the utility of shock collars as behavior modification devices for trial lawyers. And I immediately knew that the title of my next blog post on the topic would be some version of that phrase that entered our shared consciousness:

Don't taze me, Bro!

I knew there would be some nice Youtube mashups of the famous incident. But I had forgotten how long ago that happened.

It was during the Kerry campaign.

Seriously. Who knew?

Seems like it was only last week--like when I asked for some Tase-Worthy trial lawyer conduct and didn't receive any comments.

**ahem**

After the jump, some of my own thoughts about Taze-Worthy antics, just to get you started.

I suppose trial lawyers mean well. But some of the stuff they do is worth at least a few thousand volts. 

To wit, any of the following statements would get you a dirty look in my office (in the absence of a tazer or something better):

Can you handle the charge for me in that case I think I told you about one time? You know the one. Tomorrow.  OK.

Can you to handle the appeal from this summary judgment entered against us. I think you can basically just use our trial court brief.

Don't spend any time on this.

When is our brief due? Tomorrow? Great, I'll take a look at it now.

Here, look at my brief and and make sure its ok to file. Tomorrow.

Oh, I hope you don't mind. I made some changes last night. Is that  a problem?

Don't we have to use Times New Roman? 

How many extra pages can we get?

We can e-file right up until midnight, right?

Attached please find my edits and a transcript my the closing argument.
There's some great stuff in there for you to use.

Loved the brief. How come you didn't include a section on . . . ?

Loved the brief. Best thing I've ever read. Gosh, there's a lot of editing on the bill.

Why so much research? The client doesn't like research.

I'd like you to handle the argument. On Monday.

Should I get a record?

You mean I should have gotten a record?

I'm sure we made a record.

Well, I thought the court reporter was taking it down.

I'm sure I objected.

Should I have objected?

I wanted to object, but the judge was getting really cross.

I didn't want to object in front of the jury.

I handle my own appeals.

If you wanna get tazed, just bring some of that to my office. This kind of stuff is why I have been known to tell trial lawyers the brief is due before it is actually due.

Why do such things make an appellate lawyer's head explode? Because the act or statement betrays an entire misunderstanding of what appellate lawyers do and what it takes to do it effectively. 

But that is a post for another day.

C'mon, appellate lawyers. I'm sure you've heard these before, or statements very much like them. Put them in the comments!

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Joe Hood - September 28, 2011 8:36 AM

Before we start listing the things that lawyers who try cases do wrong, we need to remember that there wouldn't be any appeals if they weren't trying cases. They're busy too, and they don't always (if ever) have the luxury of having the time appellate lawyers have to think about the consequences of a tactical decision.

Kendall - September 28, 2011 9:01 AM

I don't mean to pick on the lawyer who's genuinely busy. Indeed, one of the main reasons to hire an appellate lawyer is to "slow the game down" -- have someone around who has time to think about the whole case at once.

But I don't really think that anything on my list results from being busy. I see busy lawyers all the time who handle deadlines and competing priorities with grace. Others never do. What's the difference between the two kinds of lawyers?

Often, it is disorganization and bad planning. Or maybe even failing to say "no" when there really isn't time to do something--a very very hard thing to do, no doubt.

And I will also confirm that I can plead guilty, at times, to all of the faults in the previous paragraph!

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