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OCTOBER 2013 NEWSLETTER - Levity Series
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"A Little Levity Please!" Series

Editor’s Note: Let’s face it – the practice of law can sometimes be a little stressful.  Even if you’re the type who thrives on stress, it can still be good to crack a smile every now and again.  In this “A Little Levity Please!” series, WLALA will feature stories designed to bring a little humor to your day.  Submissions welcome from all members!

By Heather Stern

A part of me will always be a New Yorker. New Yorkers won’t agree, since I grew up in Michigan and only lived in New York City for a few years while in college. But I love it, it changed me, and I identify with it, so tough luck New Yorkers, I claim it as part of me.

Therefore, I was very happy a few years ago to participate as co-counsel with a New York City lawyer in handling a lawsuit venued here in Los Angeles. The New York City lawyer was a tough, experienced, somewhat arrogant character, who had been brought on board in part because certain discovery was occurring there and also because there was a possibility of another, related lawsuit to be venued there in the future. So we had to work together closely.

It soon became apparent that he had a certain, shall we say, coastal prejudice. Perhaps it was the three-hour time zone difference – pursuant to which he was always up earlier than me, pinging me and my colleague with questions, to which our answers were always necessarily delayed. Or perhaps it was the weather – pursuant to which I think he always envisioned us practicing law tanned, in our sunglasses and shorts, on the beach. Or perhaps it is the difference of a city in which Wall Street is king, versus a city in which Hollywood is king. But, for whatever reason, he did not take me or my firm nearly as seriously as he took himself.

One day, early in the morning, he wrote an email to me and my colleague with a series of five enumerated questions, accompanied by commentary, asking for our response. The questions were good questions, important to the case, and we thoroughly considered how to respond. My colleague then took the time to carefully and precisely set out our thoughts, supported by a detailed analysis, backed up by citations, and informed by our collective wisdom and experience. It was good lawyering. 

But there was one problem. My colleague had hit “reply” to the email and then scrolled down and typed his responses in the space below each original, enumerated question in the initiating email of the chain – and he had not changed the font color to clearly segregate the original question from the response.

The New York City lawyer hit the roof. Almost immediately after receiving our response, we received a not-so-nice reply back, the upshot of which was that the most important thing to good lawyering is to always know when to change the font color.

It didn’t take us long to come up with a response:

T h a n k f o t h e  a d v i c e

Perhaps you had to be there, but it was pretty darn funny. P.S. No, this did not seem to improve bicoastal relations.

Heather Stern is WLALA’s Communications Officer and Partner at Kralik & Jacobs LLP.


*If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact the WLALA Communications Officer, Heather Stern at