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SEPTEMBER 2014 - A Little Levity
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A Little Levity

by Heather Stern

When I officially passed the baton of the newsletter to WLALA’s new Communications Officer, Jennifer Leland, I gave her a thick, heavy binder of past newsletters, passed through the ages by Communications Officer to Communications Officer, for time immemorial, or at least for the last few years.  In exchange, she gave me an equally weighty charge: to write one last humor column.  Flattery will get you everywhere with me, so I agreed.  But no one story was calling out to me to be told, so instead, I will share with you three, brief, Strange But True items.

If the barn doors are open, what do you do?
  Yellow pad in hand, I trekked down to a conference room to meet with a more senior lawyer who wanted me to research a few items to assist in an upcoming filing.  The lawyer had just recently enjoyed a hard fought win at trial, and was affecting a cool and suave attitude to go with his status as victor.  As he took me through the background facts he wanted me to understand, he reached a point where he leaned back in his swivel chair, stretched his arms and folded them behind his head, and propped one of his legs up, ankle across his knee.  It was a posture of supreme confidence and indifference marred by just one, slight, little fact: his fly was wide open.  I was saved by the dilemma of wondering what to say when he noticed it himself.  Without batting an eye, he smoothly reached down and zipped up his fly, and continued with his recitation of the facts without missing a beat.  Phew, that wasn’t awkward at all!

True confessions better left unsaid.
  Back in the day when it was brand new to make a telephonic appearance to Court, a lawyer I knew decided that he would make his telephonic appearance from his bubble bath.  Why?  Because he could.  According to what he told me, he poured a nice big tub of steaming hot water for himself, added in some fragrant bubble bath solution, slowly lowered himself down, and dialed in on his portable home phone.  I like to imagine what his face must have looked like when he learned his matter was last on a very long calendar.  But as far as has been reported to me, he saw his fantasy through to the wrinkled end.  Without being caught.

Be careful what you ask for.
  A stock deposition question is to ask the witness some variant of whether he or she is presently taking any medications that might affect his or her ability to testify.  But until I received this particular answer, I had never given any real thought to what I would do if someone answered in the affirmative.  The witness was a third party deponent I had spent a lot of effort to track down and convince to testify because what he had to say was very helpful to our client’s claim.  By rote, I asked him the question, and in reply, he rattled off a list of unfamiliar chemically-sounding names.  I paused, but couldn’t help myself from asking, what are they for?  “I hear voices,” he said, calmly and matter-of-factly.  All I could think was, now that was unexpected!


Heather Stern is the WLALA Secretary.  Ms. Stern is Partner at Kralik and Jacobs LLP