October 24, 2014
I’ve rarely demonstrated any respect for the legal profession. And really, what have they done to earn my respect? Let’s take today as an example.
I had to give a deposition in a lawsuit today. Almost three years ago I was involved in a car accident and I had to go to downtown to meet my lawyer, who was assigned by the insurance company, to discuss what was going to happen. Yes, the accident was almost three years ago. “Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine,” said Sun Tzu. We’ll see.
It was nasty out, cold and rainy, and the one and only other time I had to give a deposition it was nasty out, cold and rainy, but that time I was taking the Staten Island ferry to Manhattan, this time I was taking the subway to downtown Brooklyn, a nearly better situation.
I was on time and no one else was. First to arrive (15 minutes late) was my lawyer, who looked, talked, and acted like Willie Degel, from the Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout.
Next to arrive (30 minutes late) was the opposing lawyer. During the course of my disposition, he asked me my address, I told him, and then we had an off the record sidebar about whether or not he once had an office in my building. He was adamant that he did. I was adamant that he did not, on the grounds that he claimed that my building was two stories when it in reality six stories. Good lawyer that he is (though probably not) he challenged not his own faulty memory but mine, until I showed him my ID with the floor of my apartment on it. Of this I am sure: my building has more than two floors, otherwise I am somehow hovering many feet in the air when I come home.
Yes, he challenged me on if I was lying under oath about how many floors my building has. Luckily, that was as contentious as the session got.
While we were waiting for the stenographer, there was plenty of time for small talk. First, my lawyer showed me a picture of his neighbor’s house, all decorated for Halloween. I still have no idea how this came up. One moment he was talking about how his office had a faulty vent, the next minute he was showing us his neighbor’s house the way other people show their newborn’s pictures. Then he talked about his house out in the woods. Then he asked the other lawyer about his iPad and suddenly the light bulb went on over my head. That explained how he afforded the house.
I know the stereotype is that lawyers are all rich, but I also know that isn’t true. These guys made good money I am sure (one of them talked about how he was buying a second house) but the secret of their wealth?
They are ridiculously cheap.
My lawyer talked about how he didn’t buy an iPad until he had gotten enough gift cards as presents to cover it. The other lawyer said he bought his iPad refurbished from Apple. My lawyer chimed in with the fact that he bought a refurbished coffee maker. The conversation then steered to discount batteries before the stenographer finally arrived (45 minutes late).
Everything went normally from there until we realized the stenographer was a loon. First, she couldn’t begin until she had two glasses of water. Oh, sorry, I need to be accurate- she needed one and half glasses of water, sitting at the ready beside her. And it had to be one and a half because she made a point of spilling out half a glass.
Then, she would not stop blabbering about her dog.
“My dog hates this weather.” “My dog hates when I leave him.” “My dog yada yada yada….”
It all went well until about 20 minutes into my deposition when, interrupting a lawyer, she yelled “do you hear that noise? WHAT IS THAT NOISE????” The lawyers heard nothing but I, sitting closest to her, thought I heard the sound of people from below the window. But nope, that wasn’t it. She was hearing “cartoon characters” from “under the table.” She got under the table to find them too. (Unsuccessfully.)
The whole thing wrapped up in an hour and if it goes to trial, it won’t be for at least a year. Too bad, because I’m looking forward to finding more about those discount batteries.