Let’s face it—when we usually think of judges, we think of them as little more than stern, humorless authority figures, perpetual bearers of a dour expression as if to remind all onlookers of the immense gravity of court proceedings.
I thought I’d seen just about everything in my 25 years of practicing law. Motions challenging the other side to a fistfight, personal insults hurled during depositions, judicial orders imposing a “time out” on misbehaving lawyers—you name it.
From time to time, I’ve had an opposing party claim that he was going to “wipe his backside” with a legal document like a contract. Rude, yes, but what if a contract was actually written on toilet paper? Would it still be enforceable? If a contract is required to be reduced to writing (and not all of them are), does it matter what it’s written on?
The courtroom is not supposed to be a violent place. After all, our modern system of justice where parties resolve their disputes before an impartial third party (the judge) and/or a jury of their peers was intended to replace trial by combat-in which parties settled their differences by fighting it out (usually to the death). For most of us, the closest we’ve come to seeing trial by combat is our
No matter what kind of plot twists, turns, and unexpected, you-didn’t-see-this-one-coming moments that you may see on television legal dramas like “The Good Wife,” they will never compare to the shocking moments that you can see on a regular basis in the legal world.
There is a lot of weirdness in the legal system, with strange-but-true figures and events that even a fiction writer would be prone to dismiss as too outlandish. If you don’t believe me, just check out the following examples.
Lawyers have gotten the nickname “mouthpieces” for a very good reason — people can get themselves into a lot of trouble for what they say. This is especially true in criminal cases, where there is a right to remain silent for a reason, but also in civil cases.
As I make my way through the day to day drudgery that usually characterizes the legal system, it is easy to overlook the humorous moments that happen—and believe me, they do happen. Just consider the following incidents:
In many aspects of life, there’s something to be said for the element of surprise, whether it’s catching your spouse off guard with an unexpected gift for no reason, or simply changing up your usual dinner order at a favorite restaurant.
Belief can be a powerful thing. Sometimes, the law will, under certain circumstances, show deference to that belief, such as the individual who recently persuaded the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow him to have his driver’s license photo taken while wearing a spaghetti strainer on his head (he claimed to be a practicing “Pastafarian”).