April 29, 2004

Working Late

Normally, I'm one of these people who simply can't stop working. Even when I get tired, push my chair back away from my desk, grab my purse and head for the door, I'm still thinking about work. It has been a real struggle for me over the past couple of years to relax and really let go of work when I go home. I've gotten better at it though. Until last night.

One of my bigger cases is another one of these one plaintiff vs. numerous big corporate defendants type deals. I represent one of the big corporate defendants. Despite the fact that the defendants are big and -- you guessed it -- corporate, many of their lawyers are helpless, clueless creatures. This bugs to me to no end, and since I am neither helpless nor clueless, I always end up volunteering to take responsibility for various phases of the workup of these cases (I set up depositions, subpoena medical records, etc.)

To that end, several weeks ago I set up a deposition of one of the plaintiff's expert witnesses. It was to take place this afternoon at my office. I subpoenaed the witness to ensure he would actually show (you never know unless you send a subpoena), but sadly, the address the plaintiff's lawyer gave me was wrong, so the subpoena was never served. I called him and asked him if he would come to the deposition anyway, and he said yes. So far, so good.

That was Tuesday.

Yesterday I was sitting in my office, minding my own business, being extremely productive (okay, I'm sure I was surfing the net, but we're engaging in the willing suspension of disbelief. This is my story) when my phone rang. It was one of the associates (read: baby lawyers) who works for the plaintiff's law firm. He asked if I wouldn't mind postponing the deposition of the expert, because the expert is a doctor and the only person in their office who knows a lick about medicine is currently in trial in another case. Now, one wonders why they didn't figure out before the day just prior to the deposition that their witness was a doctor, but I didn't want to get into it with him. To be accomodating, I said I didn't have a problem with postponing it, but I couldn't speak on behalf of all defendants. I told him I'd let everyone know he wanted to postpone it and if they had a big issue with that, they could call him. He said even if they did have a big issue with it, too bad for them because he was going to file a Motion to Quash anyway (which would automatically cancel the deposition as soon as he filed it, and we'd have to go to the Judge before we could go forward). No problem.

I e-mailed the defendants and much whining ensued (surprise). Not much later, I received a Motion to Quash from the plaintiff's lawyer over my fax machine, so I called the court reporter and canceled the deposition. Crisis averted, world safe. I moved on to other work and didn't think too much more about it.

I got home around 6:30 or so and was chatting with my husband, Archi-Sapper, while he was making a taco dinner (we've often had taco nights on Wednesday nights......not sure why). As he was dishing up the plates so we could sit down to eat, the phone rang. I went to answer it, and saw the plaintiff's law firm on the caller i.d. I was thinking to myself, "No. There is NO WAY these crazy lawyers would call me at home" (again, willing suspension of disbelief). I answered the phone and heard, "Hi, it's Baby Lawyer from Plaintiff's Firm. Do you hate me for calling you at home?" And I replied, "No, I'm just surprised." He laughed and said, "Well, I was just calling because I heard that you might have gotten other deposition dates from our expert of when he's available to testify." "Yes", I responded.

After talking for a few minutes his boss got there (the one who had been in trial) and she got on the phone. She said, "Well, just so you know, we're ready to take this deposition tomorrow afternoon. Are you?" Incredulous, I said, "No, I'm not. Your associate called me late this morning and asked to postpone the deposition because YOU were going to be unavailable and said that even if I wanted to take the deposition I couldn't because he was going to quash it. Therefore, I told all the other defendants it was canceled, I canceled the court reporter and didn't prepare for the deposition because YOU didn't want to take it. It is too late to change that now." She said, "Okay, well let's pick a new date. Do you have your calendar in front of you?" and I said, "No. Oddly enough, I didn't realize I'd be scheduling expert depositions from home tonight, so I don't." She asked me to call her in the morning and I agreed.

Still stunned that opposing counsel was calling me at home in the evening, I called my boss at her house to regale her with this story. She replied, "You must've made it to the big leagues now, kiddo. That lawyer called me at home a few years ago, but it was at 10:00 at night. She called to tell me I'm a liar." We had a good laugh over that, and I proceeded into the living room to eat tacos and watch American Idol.

Around 10:20 or so, Archi-S and I slipped into bed. We were lying in the darkness and he said, "You aren't tired. What are you thinking about?" I replied, "That crazy deposition." He said, "You shouldn't think about that. I'm sure no one else is." At 10:30, the phone rang. I said, "Who is calling us at 10:30 at night?" He answered, handed me the phone and said, "It's Plaintiff's Lawyer."

At this point, my life officially went from weird to insane. Plaintiff's lawyer told me that after she had hung up with me earlier in the evening, she had sent out a fax to all defendants saying that, although plaintiffs were ready to go forward with the deposition, they would elect not to go forward since we preferred to postpone the deposition (a completely mangled version of what actually transpired, but I expect nothing less from her). In response, one of the defense lawyers in the case (who also happens to be in trial with this plaintiff's lawyer this week and next) fired off a letter in reply. The defense lawyer basically said, "No, we didn't cancel it, we're prepared to go forward. See you tomorrow." Plaintiff's lawyer then became confused and called me.

I had no good advice. I was tired and confused, sitting in my bed next to my husband and dog and wondering where my life had taken such a wrong turn. She said, "Well, I happen to have that other defense lawyer's home phone number. Why don't I conference her in?" *beep* *beep* *beep* And *poof!* we were on a conference call. Understand that even in my most work-obsessed states, I have never once desired to attend a 10:30 p.m. conference call while in bed. Never. Ever. Not once. That said, there I was.

The defense lawyer said, "Well Plaintiff's Lawyer, we're ready to proceed tomorrow, but we thought you didn't want to take the deposition. I don't know how you did it since I was in trial with you all day today, but somehow you filed a Motion to Quash the deposition while we were in trial in this other case." Plaintiff's Lawyer said, "I did not file a Motion to Quash!" at which point I piped up and said, "Baby Lawyer filed one on your behalf." She then said, with as much righteous indignation as she could muster, "Well, we withdraw that Motion to Quash!" I said, "It's a little late for that. It is 10:30 at night." We all chatted inconclusively and then hung up with the understanding that I would call the defense lawyer so we could chat privately.

I clicked off the line and promptly called her back as promised. She really wanted to take this deposition today for reasons that had zippo to do with me. I said I was nowhere near prepared to take the deposition, as I had spent all day doing other work once I found out the deposition was canceled. She said, "Well, maybe your Boss could take it." I said, "Oh I'm sure she's capable, but she would probably want more notice than this." She said, "Well, wait a sec. Let me conference her in." All of these three-ways I was having with various women probably would've been sexy had we not all been lawyers.

My boss wisely chose not to answer the phone, so the defense lawyer left her a message. We chatted after that for a bit and then hung up.

I got to the office this morning and had no idea what the day would bring. I booted up my laptop, went and retrieved my obligatory cup of ice water from the kitchen on my floor, and settled into my office chair. After I'd been at my desk for an hour the phone rang. It was Plaintiff's Lawyer. She said, "Our expert is not available for deposition this afternoon, so there will be no deposition." Thanks. So glad you cleared that up.

Posted by Kitty at 09:25 PM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2004


I've been searching for an accountant for the past few years and I think I've finally stumbled across a good candidate: Don Johnson's accountant. Anyone who can keep Don Johnson in the black for this long is some sort of financial wizard. I can't help but think that one good way to keep your company from tanking is to give it a slightly more officious sounding name than "Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture, LLC."

Posted by Kitty at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2004

Friday Five

I've always thought that Cheddar X asked better questions than the Friday Five, but the folks are Cheddar X are having trouble coming up with new questions. So here are my answers to last week's Friday Five:

1. What do you do for a living?
I'm a toxic tort and environmental litigator.

2. What do you like most about your job?
I like the fact that my work is varied and requires brainpower to do it correctly.

3. What do you like least about your job?
Dealing with obnoxious lawyers.

4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____...
I realize I've missed a deadline (though that happens rarely).

5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
Medicine interests me, but the MCAT doesn't.

Posted by Kitty at 02:49 PM | Comments (4)


I love Hello Kitty and I love purses -- meet the marriage of my two great loves here.

Posted by Kitty at 02:07 PM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2004

Cheddar X

1. What does party mean to you? (I.e. when you go and get your party on, what does that mean?)
Not going to work. Or working from home.

2. What was the first thing you thought or said when you saw your significant other for the first time?
He's so cute! (I was in college, gimme a break)

3. Do you talk to yourself? Why?
Silently, of course. Who doesn't? I talk to myself to work things out in my head. I have entire conversations with other people in my head, particularly if I'm irritated with them, but don't know if I should be irritated. That other person and I will have it out in my head, so by the time I actually see them in person I don't have anything left to say.

4. What's been your biggest personal change in the last ten years?
Being happy.

5. What are you most looking forward to?
Being happy.

Posted by Kitty at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2004

XM Satellite Radio

While in Killeen, I bought myself a toy (not that kind of toy, get your minds out of the gutter, folks). I purchased a unit for my car that gives me access to XM Satellite Radio -- 24 hour, commercial free, coast-to-coast, non-Clear Channel Communications dictated music, comedy, news and sports. I listened to it for 10 hours yesterday on the drive home. After listening to "The Real World: True Hollywood Story" for two hours on the E! channel, I'm concerned that my brain will atrophy.

Posted by Kitty at 08:37 AM | Comments (11)

April 14, 2004

Wish You Were Here

This is a quickie post from scenic Killeen, Texas. My wonderful husband Archi-Sapper flew in yesterday to Fort Hood! I'm so pleased that he made it home safely from Iraq and am keeping my fingers crossed that he won't have to return. As for me, I'm preparing for a trial that starts Monday while he's on post getting de-briefed. Yes, my life is glamorous....

Posted by Kitty at 01:21 PM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2004

Cheddar X

1. When was the last time you caught yourself before doing something really stupid? What was it?
Sadly, I rarely catch myself before doing something stupid. I usually end up kicking myself after I've done it and then wondering why I haven't learned better judgment in my thirty years on planet Earth.

2. What was your last nightmare about?
I don't really remember, actually. Whenever I have a dream whether good or bad, if I don't tell someone about it or write it down the day after I'm likely to forget it.

3. How do you entertain yourself in traffic?
I check email on my T-Mobile Sidekick, sing along with the radio and daydream.

4. Who inspires you?

My boss (the one who left the firm but who is still of counsel), my husband, certain friends of mine (they shall remain nameless -- I don't want to start any wars here), my shrink.

5. What trait in the opposite sex makes you wonder most?
Men who constantly complain that they don't understand women but who never make any attempt to get to know women or figure out what makes them tick.

6. Which of the seven deadly sins is the worst? Why?
Envy. It is very powerful and can lead to no good end.

7. Do you blog on the weekends much or at all?
I'm blogging right now, on a Saturday afternoon. I blog whenever I have time and have something to say.

Posted by Kitty at 02:38 PM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2004

Holy Wars

Today started off on a normal foot. I went to the office (yes, I know today is Good Friday, but I had to depose a doctor in one of my cases and the doctor moved out of state at the end of 2003. He was in town for Easter weekend, and was agreeable to being deposed then. I figure that if God is going to strike me dead for working on Good Friday, he'll have to do it at the local Catholic Church, since that's where I will have spent at least 15 hours this weekend). Now, where was I?

Oh yes, at the office. Where all good stories start.

The deposition began smoothly enough, and I was taking the lead (asking most of the questions), which I always enjoy (it keeps me from falling asleep). Unfortunately, one of my least favorite lawyers was in attendance at this deposition. She is a very nice woman who has practiced law longer than I, but she has this really annoying habit of acting like a 12 year old all the time. I think that she truly believes that giggling incessantly, passing notes during depositions, making crazy hand gestures and generally being disruptive are cute, girly things to do. All of these things just make me want to take my shoe off and slap her in the head with it.

Apparently, I'm not alone in this feeling. One and a half hours into the deposition (mercifully near the end), the doctor stopped in the middle of his answer and said, "I'm sorry but I just have to say something. If you people want to act up and cut up and be disrespectful, then you need to do it outside. I can't believe the way you're treating me, and I would never treat anyone like this. I need to go outside and regain my composure." And he left the conference room.

At this point, there was stunned silence. We took a ten minute break and the doctor came back into the room and continued answering questions, but was much calmer. Happily, the disruptive woman calmed down and was fairly quiet throughout the remainder of the deposition.

I was really starting to like this guy. He had actually quieted down one of the more annoying members of my ilk (lawyers) and had maintained his civility in the process. Cool. Then, the plaintiff's attorney started asking him questions. This particular doctor had treated the plaintiff for mesothelioma -- cancer of the lining of the lung. The attorney for the (now deceased) plaintiff asked the doctor to describe what the plaintiff had likely suffered while he endured his illness. The doctor described the plaintiff's suffering as being like what Christ endured before he was crucified on the cross, only it lasted much longer. The doctor then began crying -- sobbing in fact -- and we had to end the deposition because he was so upset.

I was at this point so confused I no longer knew what to think. Once cool doctor, who silences noisy lawyer invokes name of religious figure and begins weeping during deposition. Folks, that's just weird.

After the deposition was all over, he regained his composure (again) enough to tell some of us who stuck around that he plans to write a nasty letter to the offending lawyer's law firm, as well as to the state bar association, describing her conduct. I wonder if he'll compare her to Judas?

Posted by Kitty at 06:40 PM | Comments (2)

April 07, 2004

Father Time

I'm one of those obnoxiously punctual people. Actually, punctual isn't the word for it: I'm downright early. I started out my life on planet Earth as a preemie (ask my mother -- please, because I'm tired of listening to the stories) and haven't been late since. I carry around novels and crossword puzzle books in my purse, not because I enjoy looking like a bag lady, but to give me something to do when I'm early for whatever event I'm attending.

This penchant for punctuality has served me well in my adult life. As a lawyer, if you're late for court, some judges will humiliate you in front of your peers, some will refuse to hear your arguments on your motions before the court, and some will sanction you. I have also been through more than a few depositions that only lasted ten minutes. Upon my exit from the depositions, I would run into people who were twenty minutes late -- and missed the entire deposition.

So it was with some interest that I read a short article in this week's issue of the New Yorker about how punctuality was such a problem in Ecuador that the Ecuadorans started a punctuality compaign. They determined that their country's lateness was costing them on average $2.5 billion a year.

One of the points made in the article (which I would link to, if I could find a copy of it on the 'net -- The New Yorker obviously doesn't have it, since they want people to buy their magazine rather than reading it for free online) was that lateness was interwoven with issues of class. The article notes, "Lateness can be a way for the rich and powerful to assert themselves, to show how much more valuable their time is."

That really gets at the crux of my biggest problem with people who are chronically late. I understand that I am the one who makes the conscious decision to be obsessively early all the time, but people who are always late are, in my view, narcissistic. Simply assuming that they are so important that everyone else will happily wait for them to deign to grace everyone with their presence just galls me.

Posted by Kitty at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

Bits and Pieces

This is the first mention I've ever seen of a Fruit Fly Fight Club.

And if you need a new way to spend money, check out the new Hello Kitty "reloadable shopping card".

Posted by Kitty at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2004


Apparently, a letter from James Joyce asking a publisher to publish Dubliners is going up for auction. The letter is expected to fetch $54,880. I would only pay that much if the letter makes more sense than the book.

Posted by Kitty at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2004

I Was Wearing Those

I know, I know, I haven't been posting too much lately. I've been crazy busy this week. I had a very important client in town earlier this week for a mediation in a huge case. We settled the case (wahoo!) and took the client out for dinner Wednesday night. We decided to take her to a fun place on the lakefront, since the weather has been so nice. We did not realize that the place we took her to was having biker night that evening (I'm serious). In a hilarious turn of events, the few bikers who did show up were aging fat guys who only wore bandanas to hide their bald spots.

Not much else to report. I'm pretty boring these days, since my life consists almost solely of work. Now that I've mediated one of my biggest cases, I'm preparing for a trial that starts April 19. The only other activity I have planned for the near future is to go shoe shopping this weekend. When my mom was in town last weekend, she made me go through my closet and clean out my clothes and shoes I don't wear any more, and she carted off with the items from my discard pile so my aunt could sell them in a garage sale. Unfortunately, it seems that she absconded with my favorite pair of black Italian leather heels I wear to work every other day. Oops. I see shoe shopping in my future.

Posted by Kitty at 09:43 AM | Comments (4)

Cheddar X Word Association

Mel Gibson - greedy
Pot belly - pig
Pork - fat
New York Yankees - huh?
March Madness - basketball
Iraq - war
Google - search
April Fool's Day - ha!
Sweet - candy
Career - work
Economy - bad
Forest - trees
Jessica Simpson - stupid
Enzyte Smiley Guy - who?
Opening Day - games
Motorcycle - wheels
Highway Patrol - sunglasses
Meth lab - powder
Medicinal Marijuana - good
Fat America - typical
Fast food - fat
Coffee - awake
Commercial flight - scary!
Patriotism - Sam
Treason - awful
Sedition - nope
Final Solution - reprehensible

Posted by Kitty at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)