Monthly Archives: November 2009

I Want A Lawyer

Sick I have the flu and this is my bed, right now. What is missing from this photo is me, pretty freaking sick, with four-hour-old Pibb Extra and 40-minute-old Shiner Bock to my right. In this photo, I’m partial to the boxes of Benadryl and Actifed, Hint of Lime Tostitos, Kleenex and iPod.

I’d give details on the competition (we won; we lost) but as you can see, I’m supposed to be reading. Apparently Trial Techniques, Criminal Procedure, poetry, a Lexis outline of Crim Pro, and my notes from my first and for my second meeting with a real doctor for my fake Counseling, Fact Investigation, and Interviewing class. Well, the class isn’t fake. The meeting we’re both attending is fake. I keep using that word.

Aside: The best thing I learned all semester1 was that “You have the right to remain silent” is not the Right You Want. What you really, really want to say is “I want a lawyer.” No “maybe.” No “I should talk to a lawyer.” No. Get serious with this. Feel it: “I want a lawyer.” This is when better protections attach. ← You want better protections to attach. And go ahead and repeat it. Anything special happens, like the police move you to a new room, it cannot hurt to say it aloud for kicks.2 Do not mess this up and then come crying to me.3

More later. Srsly. But I have to get better and have so much to do before my first final next Friday.


1Okay, in the last week, and far beneath “Sit down and shut up,” of course.

2I’m kidding. It could hurt. And how embarrassing to be known as The One Who Repeats Himself Needlessly. Say it aloud anyway.

3This just makes me homesick for Arkansas. I remember the day my brothers very seriously told me to always ask, “Am I being detained?” If not, then shut up and leave. (The trick you go to law school for is knowing what it means when the cop says, “Why, yes. You are.”)

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Trial Team Practice II

Alright, we have sound. But we were dead Friday night. Utterly lame, tired, pained, not in a courtroom. However, this is Conor’s cross of his actual co-counsel playing a hostile witness and she is good at what she does to both Conor and Eric. Conor says, “This is horrible.” Eric: “I feel your pain, man.” Naoshi can destroy either of them with a few sentences.

To explain just a bit – Eric and I are the Defense team for competition. Conor and Naoshi are the Plaintiff’s team. During competition, we four will not face each other, but the Defense team will serve as favorable Plaintiff’s witnesses, and the plaintiff team will serve as our favorable witnesses. The non-favorable witnesses will be played, at competition, by other teams therefore we four give each other a hard time on cross so nothing will surprise us. This leads to the most amusing moments we have, actually.

A few moments from this incredibly poor round:

(1) My response to the judge, which is really in response to Conor: 0:11-0:13. “Any objection, counsel?” “None, Your Honor.” “Except it’s a waste of time.”

(2) 2:19-ish I cannot begin my re-direct. Just blanked. I walk over to Eric and say, “Gimme a sentence.” “A sentence?” “Yes. How does this start?”

(3) 3:29 Naoshi (the witness) lists off a litany of facts favorable to my side, ending with “…scaring employees.” Eric begins clapping. It was a really brilliant moment, there, N.

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Trial Team Practices

What we have here is the gold standard in stressed-out procrastination. I won’t fit in a skirt tomorrow after this – I’m moving on to tortilla chips with lime. I wonder if we have beer…

So Magnolia has me thinking I want to intimidate people. If at all possible.

Ha ha*. I kid. Mostly. There are a couple of other Southerns in my sphere right now and it appears that one advantage of the southern charm is that the other side just likes us and begins to spill in deposition, expert interviews, etc., and then we can go for the jugular in the nicest possible way in the courtroom. The two times I’ve needed this advantage thus far this semester, I’ve had it.

At any rate, I was able to edit my trial team videos. (It only required $29.99. Not that I assume anyone other than fam wants to watch videos of me or Trial Team practice, but I’m a gawker by nature, so maybe you are too – my aunts definitely are), and I think two things:

(1) I am more commanding without the voice. And when not pumping up the hair.

(2) I am more commanding when I know the case. In theory. One takes Trial Team more seriously. Apparently not seriously enough to record /sound/, the whole point of the exercise, but whatevs. Watching action and movement in the well of the courtrooom is good too.

What I love about this video is Conor just about to object and then not, me grabbing things from and off of opposing counsel/’s desk (because that is so real), and Eric and Conor’s “Is she still going” poker faces. This was a thirty minute vid.

The next video is Eric cross-examining a witness. We cross up close and personal to both witness and jury. We direct from behind the jury. This video is short and just shows standard practice, really.

This one is really just for us and is therefore not cut down to a reasonable length. Cross-exam / objection mannerisms / laughter. 2:02-3:45 Extended objection by Conor.

You know, I think the whole Nancy Grace thing is coming. Watch for it.

*If, in reading this, you are uncertain as to whether a specific statement is meant seriously or not, simply apply this rule of thumb: If the statement makes you consider filing a lawsuit, I was kidding. Ha ha! – Dave Barry

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Four Letters: Pibb, Cute, and Then Some

I’m busy. And apparently competent. To stand for sandbagging, as my fabulous professor put it.

2L Bites. Hard. I didn’t know this. So I’ll tell you something you don’t want to hear: I don’t think in sentences that don’t include four-letter-words any more. Sometimes that’s the only part of the sentence I get out. I believe how I put it was: Law school has simultaneously expanded my vocabulary and reduced it to a series of four letter words.

I go days without doing anything but sitting in front of a computer. I go weekends without responding to emails and saying anything more than “Go. away.” to people. I want to see “Paranormal Activity,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and I can not miss whatever the second “Twilight” movie is, but until they start playing these movies at 1:00 A.M. downtown, I’m out. I no longer want to read. I never thought this possible. (I also never thought I’d fondly remember 1L and long for the good old days.) I am interested in books the way I’m interested in art and music that I no longer get to look at or listen to. What a lovely idea. I do get out, though. Because I now understand why we drink.

Because, not unlike right now, my head’s gonna explode. Because I should not be doing this, but should be writing a direct exam, two closing arguments, and the rough draft of a note. However, if you’d seen the various other ways I’ve blown a perfectly good “working” morning, you’d wonder why I wasn’t updating the blog on 2L. So, a few notes for the memories –

My videos are getting better for whatever _that’s_ worth…

I taught myself a while back to forego “ums” when speaking professionally by popping my wrist with a rubber band. Low-rent but effective. I’m going to have to start doing that and like, now, to stop the “Shellie Stephen-zzzz, for the Defen-zzzz.”

(This particular video is an opening statement. The class is pass/fail and I finally realized I was spending too much time on this class. I want the skillz, but I must prioritize. Fifteen people in this class. A bazillion at Trial Team competition in a few weeks. (That just made me physically ill.))

Speaking of “like, now,” my latest review from the head coach on Trial Team practice: “You said “totally not troubling” – my goodness! You might as well have said ‘like totally not troubling’”. I laughed out loud.

And speaking of laughing out loud, at a recent Trial Team practice (10-25-09), I videoed my partner, Eric, and myself but they are thirty minutes long (no sound) and these .movs will not import into iMovie so I can cut them and make a perfectly hilarious montage with music or sound effects. The first few minutes of “Mime Trial Team” has me in highly animated form, talking to the team about something very important, I’ve no doubt, then flipping my head over and pumping my hair for my performance. It’s all about what matters. (Edited: this is now edited and on youtube; url edited above. Still sans sound.)

I’ve got thoughts on Learning Sneaky Lawyer Tricks and How I Now Love Them and Use Them Mercilessly, How I Talk to Everyone in Cross-Examination Form, and Becoming So Liberal You Should Put Me On House Arrest Now Because For the Love of Cthulhu We Do Not Kill People On My Watch.

It’s only by the grace of Pibb Extra and the woman who assures me my paranoid ideation is cute that I’m getting by these days. Srsly.

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