Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lions, Tigers, and Lawyers….Oh My!

Note: The author is fully aware of two individuals in particular that frequently read this blog who are currently in law school. The author is also aware of two other individuals that might possibly be readers of this blog that are in law school. And the author knows of at least one other individual who reads this blog who is considering law school. And still, there are three or more others that the author knows that are currently attending law school. Having mentioned that, this blog has been written in no way to be bashing lawyers, nor is this blog to discredit any individual who chooses that career path. This blog is written to simply express some thoughts I’ve had recently about lawyers.

Let’s face it, lawyers have a stereotype, as do most professions. Unfortunately though, lawyers are typically stereotyped in a negative light (note: not all stereotypes are negative, nor are all stereotypes true or false). Many times a lawyer is stereotyped in the same sort of fashion as a politician [Sorry, Julie, two areas of interest for you, but I know you know both those stereotypes exist, and you also know that an individual doesn’t have to live up to those stereotypes. That is the important part!]

So, for an individual like myself, who really hasn’t known any lawyers, or even politicians for that matter, personally, it’s easy to fall under the stereotypical view, especially when all you have to go by is what people tell you: “Those politicians are all lying, cheating, rich people, who will say just whatever they have to say to get your vote.” Uhh, okay…whatever you say…

Yes, I realize that is a dangerous way to live life, but if we want to discuss the topic of believing something based on what is said, versus what we have experienced personally, let’s talk religion! HA HA! Okay, that’s for another blog! HA!

So, somewhat accepting the idea that a lot of lawyers are rich jerks, I’ve just lived kind of like, “Okay, whatever. I don’t know (nor do I really care, since I didn’t know any lawyers).”

Still to this day, I think the only lawyer I’ve known very well at all was Charles Trevathan, but honestly, I never really viewed him as a lawyer, since I never knew him in his law days. He just never took on that role in my life to me. So…I was still going with this negative view, I suppose…

Well about a month or so ago I saw the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose. A good movie, which I probably wouldn’t pay to go see again, BUT I would recommend it to everyone. It is one of those movies that you don’t really have to see more than once, but everyone should see it once, especially if you like movies that will make you think.

In all honesty, after leaving that movie, I had a totally new respect for lawyers. Having had an ignorant view of lawyers, that movie opened me up to the intelligence that is necessary for a lawyer to be a GREAT lawyer. Note that I did say for them to be a GREAT lawyer, I’m not saying every lawyer is brilliant, but those that are really good, I believe are highly intelligent.

In efforts to not give away anything crucial about the movie, I will only make a couple points. First, the lawyer defending the Catholic priest who was under attack by the state for performing Emily’s exorcism was BRILLIANT! I think the quick response a good lawyer must have in order to turn things around on witnesses they are cross-examining is where their true intelligence can shine! The priest’s lawyer in this film appeared to be the underdog throughout the film because she always had leery material from her client to go on, but the way she was able to come up with concrete material to use for attack just amazed me! This lady was brilliant!

It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the movie that I found myself repeating to myself, “BRILLIANT! JUST BRILLIANT!” in reference to her comments made in the courtroom. I literally think I whispered it aloud to myself while sitting in the theatre!

Those who know me, know the value I place on intelligence, so the way this film was able to bring out the intelligence needed for doing a superb job in a career in law to me, truly did redefine my views on lawyers.

Of course, though, an individual CAN be highly intelligent, and I’ll admire that, but they can also be a jerk at the same time…HA!

I say all of this under my current situation…

Tomorrow morning I will be sitting in a room with six individuals and myself. One will be a court reporter, two will be lawyers, two will be relatives, and one will be an ex-relative.

Tomorrow morning is my deposition in my uncle and ex-aunt’s child custody “battle.” And “battle” is putting it nicely. It is QUITE the ordeal.

I’ve taken the stand once already in this trial, but that was only for a few short questions from my uncle’s lawyer, which of course allowed for a few from the cross-examining lawyer. While my uncle’s lawyer has changed since that time, my ex-aunt’s hasn’t, and I’ll have to admit, he isn’t a fun cookie to deal with. While I won’t say my testifying that first time helped my ex-aunt’s side in anyway, I will say I think the “battle” between her lawyer and me while I was in the stand would have gone to him in the end. So tomorrow I plan to gain my respect back. I had never been in a court room before, or questioned by a lawyer, so in an anxious state, I struggled to be “on-the-top-of-my-game,” but tomorrow I hope to be able to keep myself calm enough to be able to let my intelligence lead my responses to his questions and not my nerves!


Yes, when under oath you must answer questions with the truth, and only the truth; however, the truth can be answered in MANY different ways, and many times it comes down to interpreting the question correctly.

Here is an example…

On Friday I had to go to an attorney for prepping for tomorrow’s deposition. My cousin went with me, as she is being deposed tomorrow too. As we were all talking, out of no where the attorney goes, “Do you have the time?” to my cousin. She kind of hesitated, as the question was out of no where and we were in the middle of talking about something else, but she ended up saying, “Uhh, about 10:05.” Then he looked to me, and said, “Do you have the time?” Granted I wasn’t thinking it was a trick, but I hesitated and said, “Uhh, yeah, I have a watch.”

The attorney said I answered with the better answer. While we both answered with the truth (the time WAS 10:05, and I DID have a watch on), I answered the ACTUAL question that was asked, while my cousin answered what she thought was being asked. This is EXACTLY what a good cross-examining attorney is looking for! He wants to be able to ask one thing, but get you to admit to something else. The way my cousin answered it would be what the cross-examining attorney would be wanting. I on the other-hand answered the question he had asked, but not in the way he would have wanted me to answer it.

Tomorrow I MUST be sure to be focused on WHAT is asked and answer it EXACTLY as it is asked.

Tomorrow I MUST realize that irrelevant questions are going to be asked. The attorney on Friday warned us that that would be coming. Depositions allow for that apparently. He’ll start with where was I born and what high school did I go too. How that relates to my cousins custody situation is beyond me, but “my” attorney told me it is allowed in depositions, and he explained that normally the continual questioning about things that have no purpose in the trial are normally just to see if they can get to the person being questioned. This is where I MUST remain in control in this situation and not let him get to me. Here is one of my mottos for tomorrow: I love to talk about myself, so bring it on! HA!

So, in all honesty, I’m viewing my deposition tomorrow as a battle of intelligence. Will my ex-aunt’s attorney be able to question me in a way that will produce answers that go the way he wants them to, or will I be able to out smart his questions and frustrate HIM! Granted, he has had a lot more training in “questioning” than I have had in “answering,” but reminding myself of my ability to answer the “practice question” with “my” attorney correctly as well as the idea that I do consider myself to be a fairly intelligent individual in controlled situations, I have all the faith in myself that I won’t lose my place of lodging following tomorrow’s deposition! HA! [That meaning, I DO live with my uncle right now, and I don’t want to make their side look bad tomorrow, or I might be coming to my blog community looking for housing…HA!]

I’ll end with this…
My final motto for tomorrow: I WILL be a smartass tomorrow! Make that a HONEST smartass tomorrow! (Hey, a smartass can be completely honest, while being annoying to those questioning them at the same time! HA!)


Jennifer said...

I can't wait to hear how it went!

Ellison said...

Depositions suck! I totally feel for you Kim. I've been to a few in my day, and they're never fun. I'm not someone who is easily intimidated, but I have been extremely intimidated in a conference room filled with lawyers, clients and a court reporter. It's tough, but I know you can handle it. Don't let them get the best of you. We'll swap stories sometime:)

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: The deposition went GREAT! I don't know what was up with the fella today, but he was cool today...nothing like the jerk he was the day i took the stand in court. And then he only asked me a couple he asked me a million, a little over an hour's worth, and it was all cool.

I think he decided he liked me after one of the first questions he asked was where did I do my undergraduate work and I said Abilene Christian University and he said, "Aww, Abilene. I went to Hardin Simmons"...HA!

The only parts that were tough were the questions about myself...HA! How embaressing is it when the only questions I struggled on were the ones that really had NOTHING to do with the trial but EVERYTHING to do with myself...HA! I sure did take no joke probably 20 or 30 seconds to answer "What is your class you are currently taking on Thursday nights?" HA! And..."so how many hours are you taking in school this semester?" HA! For the LIFE of me I couldn't remember what class I have on Thursday nights and it took me like 3 times adding up my hours this semester to be able to answer the man...HA!

It's funny how you can be so focused on one topic or area of life that you can forget about things that are so personal and supposidely "obvious" to yourself ABOUT yourself. HA!

Well, my uncle and aunt said I did good, so I guess I have a place of lodging for a little longer at least [phew]. However, it was brought up in the deposition, "So, do you know how much longer you plan to live with them?" To which I replied my pretty common answer of the morning, "I don't know."...HA! I said, "I don't know. It's never been discussed." HA!

However, I am starting to think maybe my ex-aunt's attorney viewed me as less vulnerable or something, because he apparently went after my cousin, who was deposed right after me. HA! She ended up crying, but she was also not feeling well. But it was funny because afterwards, when we all went out to lunch my aunt was saying to my cousin (her daughter), "You're so much like me. You get all frustrated about this, and flustered and let him get to you." HA! It's funny how much her and her mom are alike and how much I and my uncle are alike...he's all calm and laid back. Never loses his cool, doesn't let people get to him. That's pretty much me. Even at lunch our similarities were all aunt and cousin are really picky, my cousin couldn't find ANYTHING that she would eat at this place we ate at, my aunt got something, but didn't really like it. I grabbed some premaid sandwich they had there, and my cousin was like, "'re going to eat that, you can't even tell what that dressing stuff on it is!" I said, "I don't care, I'm not picky, I'll eat anything."

So when we were all eating, I still had no idea what the dressing stuff was that was on that sandwich, but it tasted fine to me. And my aunt looked at me and goes, "is that even any good." and I was like, "yeah, it's fine." And my uncle was like, "Kimberly is like me, we'll eat anything." HA! And my uncle and aunt's attorney was like, "Well I think it looks good too." HA!

Yeah, that was a random story to end this with, but I love how I've seen how much my uncle and I are really similar since I've been living with him. Maybe there is a lot more to genetics than I like to think (I'm a big fan of nurture in the nature vs. nurture issue).