Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

If Lawyers were efficient robots: Is it real, or is this guy paid to blog?

Mind you, some lawyers are paid to blog. How much city-funding is going to this firm so this guy can blog on government-time?


A Monday in the life of...
Monday, 8:00 am.

computer. emails.
client conference

Major Metro City Hall
scheduling conference
Federal Judge
insurance bad faith case
win on summary judgment [outcome predicted to the client? Naughty, naughty.]


8:15 am.

things on my desk

initial disclosure statement

trespass and nuisance lawsuit against Major Metro City, involving all kinds of property law questions that I am woefully ignorant about because Property Law was my least favorite class in law school

How did you pass the Bar?

8:24 am.

classmate assistance
land condemnation matters
dedication and drainage easements

8:38 am.
move from his small boutique firm
mentor at my former firm

practice area didn't match local partner objectives

8:48 am.

drafting initial disclosure statement
archives: 29 year-old maps and diagrams

without having the faintest clue as to what I should be looking for

14-page report drafted by our private investigator

The lawsuit alleges that Major Metro failed to maintain a few storm drains, which caused a large "pond" to form adjacent to Annoying Homeowners Association's property.

site visit: The logic of engineering vs what actually happened vs what they are saying

I recall observing, during my site inspection last month, confirmed by this report, that the ponding appeared to have been caused by the grass on AHOA's property being sloped up-hill away from the water, when in fact the plat of dedication expressly states that Major Metro City has a drainage easement over the property that requires AHOA to maintain the grass so it is always sloped downhill.

9:01 am.
private investigator.
exact elevation of various points on the map, including the elevation of the grass at the edge of the ponding water. But there's no elevation reported for the other side of the grass.

Surveyors gathering evidence:

If that elevation is higher than the elevation at the edge of the water, that's concrete evidence that the grass's gradient level is improperly sloped up-hill. So, is there a way to measure the elevation at that exact point? "Yup, no sweat, but I can't do it, you'll need a professional surveyor."

9:48 am. Legal Secretary personal problem

9:50 am.
City Hall
review the file

settlement committee meeting with Major Metro City and I want to make a good impression [why is counsel more concerned with the impression of the City; unless he's defense counsel for the municipality in a 42 USC 1983 claim.

Lawyer drafts memo [CFE] copies of letters A, B, C, and D out of the huge file in this major police pursuit case.

Legal Secretary File Plan: "She does it in 3 minutes flat. She rules."

10:14 am.

immigration law
pro bono client

10:30 am.

  • Non-principal spending time [client fees] reviewing files

    Review documents in preparation for meeting at City Hall even though I don't need to since I won't be doing most of the talking anyway.

  • Pass off on work not yet started; requires client to prompt counsel to do investigation, analysis.

    Rehearse what I'll say if Partner puts me on the spot and says, "UCL, why don't you go ahead and start..." in front of the committee.

    10:50 am.
    Frequent visitor to Municipal Courthouse

    How to spot an attorney: Look for lost people drifting toward courthouse, but changing path

  • Law Enforcement Litigation Journal

    but eventually find my way to City Hall. Up the elevator and into the lobby of the civil law department with 12 minutes to spare. Sit in lobby and read a copy of the magazine, "Municipal Litigator" (or something like that) and wonder if our firm carries a subscription.

  • Separate vehicles, travel costs

    11:12 am. Partner walks into lobby to join me and we chat for a few minutes about issues in the case.

    11:15 am.

    They rebuff the public; and cheer having to pay lawyers high fees to get the right thing done

    Partner and I walk into the settlement committee conference room, and all the City folks stand up and, basically, start cheering and chanting Partner's name. She's all smiles. I'm impressed. She must've pulled something off for them very recently, that I don't know about. They really like and respect her, and I'd like to know how and why. After the introductions, Partner does most of the talking, and I jump in on occasion to answer specific questions. As the discussion progresses, the following highly intellectual thought occurs in my head: "This is really frickin' cool." I sit and watch major decision-makers talk about how to resolve broad police conduct issues that will affect millions of ordinary citizens. I actually watch one plaintiff's past lawsuit result in a real-life tangible change in police policy before my very eyes. How cool is that!? Do I sound like a 15-year old yet?! I can't help it! This is one damn cool job!

    Give me a break. The only reason you have a job is that the public is regularly promised one thing, and the city doesn't actually follow up but for a costly lawsuit. That's not responsive government, but arrogance. And you wonder why the Iraqis are fighting "democracy". Holy Crap.

    12:00 pm.

    Prepare for overnight hotel visit

    Law firm is located on the other side of town; lives between law firm and the city.

    Return to office. Check emails. Realize I'm getting off-schedule for my planned 2-hour drive to Resentful Smaller City, where a deposition will take place tomorrow. Scurry around looking for 2 case files to grab, stuff one in briefcase, carry other in hand, and off I go.

  • Has a dog, Mom lives in that city

    12:30 pm. Reach home, which is on the way to Resentful Smaller City, to change into jeans, pet doggie, and grab some more stuff on the way to my destination. Decide not to eat lunch because Mom, who just so happens to live in Resentful Smaller City, will undoubtedly have something delightful for me upon my arrival. Make note to self to write down in blog journal that I am not a mama's boy.

  • How much is the client charges for this meal at Moms?

  • Why are police records being reviewed in a non-secure area?

    3:00 pm. Reach Resentful Smaller City and devour duly-prepared lunch at Mom's house. Take shower. Spend next 3-4 hours in Mom's living room reviewing police reports, medical records and legal pleadings in preparation for tomorrow morning's deposition.

  • Tort: POlice allegations related to insurance

  • Deposition basis for summary judgement

    This case, unlike most of my cases which are insurance coverage/bad faith cases (80%, the other 20% being Major Metro matters), is a pure insurance defense tort matter. I took it voluntarily when Partner asked for volunteers, because it was located in Resentful Smaller City and also because it's good for me to brush up on my "ordinary" tort claim skills now and then. The depo will be of the plaintiff herself, who is making an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against our client in a road rage incident, in a case which may be dismissed on summary judgment depending on how the depo goes. How will the depo go? I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning.

    Law enforcement's out of court statements are admissible to impeach when they involve verabl acts: Lying about the reason for the stop; whether complaints are rebuffed; excuses tiven to ignore taking a complaint; pointing to their gun; threatening to hadncuff and detain a victim of a crime.

    Why is video-taping of law enforcement [for purposes of impeaching law enforcement] considered "harassment"; but law enforcement can video tape the public because it is in "plain view"?

    Why does law enforcement not get court-sanctions for trumping up charges?

    WHy no Brady-violations for failing to turn over the "unofficial database records" that are not documented on the incident reporrts?