Monday, June 26, 2006

Story for the day

I've been kicked out of bowling alleys before. Two of them in fact. Neither time was it my fault, though. But the groups I was with got a little rambunctious. Well, now I can say I've been kicked out of two bowling alleys and a courtroom. I also think that this was not my fault. But it wasn't my attorney's fault either, really.

So we were sitting at one of the counsel tables in the courtroom, the attorney I work for and I. The clerk come to our table with nine of my attorney's court files and tells her they are ready to be set. So far so good. My attorney checks here schedule and sets the nine cases for a morning session in a couple of months. These are default, non-contested divorces, they take maybe five minutes a piece of the court's time. The clerk sees that my attorney has set all nine for one morning and informs her that my attorney is not allowed to set more than four cases per session. My attorney say, "OK. That's fine. But the judge lets me do this sometimes because the cases are really quick. Can I ask the judge if it's ok?" The clerk mutters something and walks off. So my attorney writes a note on a post-it and sticks it to the scheduling page asking the judge to call her if there is a problem with setting the cases thus.

A few minutes later, the clerk comes out in a huff and begins berating my attorney for putting a post-it note in the scheduling book, saying that my attorney should not be going over the clerk's head. My attorney says, "OK, well I'll just talk to the judge when she gets back then." My attorney looks at me and rolls her eyes a little, and being the sycophant that I am, I return the gesture.

At this point the clerk starts yelling at me and my attorney, suggesting that my attorney is setting a bad example for me. My attorney then goes back to the other clerk's office (there are two clerks assigned to this particular division) to make some copies. The clerk follows my attorney all the way back berating her the whole while. My attorney comes back out, having finished her copying and also having told the clerk that my attorney wouldn't have to set the cases for hearings if the clerk would do her job. My attorney sits back down at the counsel table with the clerk standing right up next to her. My attorney looks at the clerk and says, "I need to talk to my intern." The clerk says, "You can't do that in hear." So we got up and left.

A few things are worth noting. First, the judge for whom the judge worked was out of town so the was a retired judge presiding. (Hell of a nice guy, as a side note) But the judge was back in chambers and so wasn't privy to these going-ons. Secondly, there were a handful of litigants waiting in the pews of the courtroom who were snickering at the clerk's behavior, perhaps egging her on. Thirdly, in a discussion with some other attorneys after this incident, a couple of them had had run-ins with this clerk in which she said they were being disrespectful and chewed them out. Also, I have spent a fair amount of time in courtrooms this summer and last summer, and I'm always very quiet and respectful. This is the first occasion I've been anything but a total credit to both the organization I was working for and my law school. On this occasion, though, I rolled my eyes, and I shouldn't have. That was my mistake.

So that's how my day started. The afternoon court appearances (in a different circuit, miles from the crazy clerk) were without incident, like every court appearance before this morning.


Blogger warm fuzzy said...

what a nutball.

6:32 AM  

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