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Free at Last

Free at last! Free at last!

Yesterday, I had a particularly rolloer-coaster-ish day at work. I had planned to meet my client after lunch to continue our trial preparation. I had arranged for my law clerk to act as opposing counsel to grill my client for cross-examination. She dutifully prepared a slew of questions, as I received a telephone call from the Court. The judge's clerk started off the conversation very directly: "Your trial is on Monday and we haven't received the pretrial submissions..." I stumbled for an answer. Each Courthouse, and often each judge, has different procedural rules. In many cases, pretrial submissions are provided at the time of trial. At least that is what my two partners told me. Accordingly, the slew of pretrial submissions had not even been started, but here I was with the Court on the phone wondering why the documents, actually due 7 days in advance of trial, were nowhere to be seen, even though the deadline came and went.

As a kid, I used to commonly forget to do homework or lose things, so I developed a bullshitter's repetoire of deflection techniques, sorta like responsibility jujitsu, for such occassions. I immediately deflected the blow and countered. "You haven't received them yet? There must have been some sort of oversight. I will make sure they are in your office by tomorrow." Everything I said there was accurate and truthful. I verified that he hadn't received them, explained the oversight (mine), and offered a solution. And it worked. The clerk thanked me and I assured him that if he did not see it today, he'd get it hand-delivered the next day. And with that, I went into triage mode.

Triage mode simply involves gathering my resources, prioritizing the emergencies and taking care of the biggest problem first. The first thing I did was get my clerk off of the cross-examination stuff and into some research needed for the pretrial submissions. This was a project expected to take a few days at least, and here I was with about 1/2 of a day. I then canceled my appointment with the client, with the hope that we could reschedule for Friday. I sought the help of the brains of the firm to set me on the right course, informed the head of the firm of the problem so it wouldn't come out later and look like (a) I did something wrong and (b) hid it, and I went about busting my ass getting about 5 different documents together from scratch.

My morning was a race of adrenaline as I prepared the pretrial submissions. My afternoon, though, came with a bit of a surprise. As I eyed the clock, wondering if I could find time for lunch, I received a telephone call from the defendant's counsel. Instead of the incompetent woman who had been litigating the case from its inception, a mild-mannered gentleman was on the other line. He explained, "[The incompetent woman] had to take emergency medical leave. (read: bitch went crazy). I'm going to ask the Court on Monday for an adjournment."

My brain was racing. An adjournment meant a few things. First, since it was a medical emergency, it was going to be granted. Second, the case would be pushed back for weeks, if not months, to accomodate the Judge's schedule. Third, I would have that much more time to worry about this case. Fourth, the pressure for settlement would be off. I gulped down that reality hard until I saw the silver lining. The gentleman added, "Has there been any talk of resolving this case?" BOOM! or CHOO CHOO! if you prefer.

I explained the present problem with settlement. The liens, also held by the defendant, were too high, so without waiving liens, we could not accept the present settlement offer. The crazy female attorney said it couldn't be done, so I offered another solution: offer us enough additional money to cover the amount liens. And the gentleman replied, "Let me get that for you."

When we hung up, I was relieved. He seemed pretty sure he could make it happen. But until then, I still had to prepare the pretrial submissions as though the case was going forward.

For the rest of the day, I worked tirelessly on some papers that would probably never see the light of day. I was hopeful about settlement, but this new guy might not know about the obstacles he would face.

I completed all of the pretrial submissions and put my feet up, satisfied, around 4pm yesterday. At about 4:15, I learned about the other documents overdue with the Court. Shit! And it all started over. For the next three hours, I raced to put together two more documents. If I left anything out, it could hurt my (potential) trial, but part of me also felt that settlement was inevitable. Those are odd competing factors. On one side, I had to work fast to get it to the Court on time. On another, I had to work smart, because if I left something out, I might've been precluded from using necessary evidence at trial. On yet another side, none of it likely mattered if the case settled.

This morning, I came into work and received an email from the defendant. They couldn't waive the lien, but he did get me enough money to cover it anyway. Success!!! All of yesterday melted away. I was a free man! Now, I just need to get my client to sign some papers. He has consented, but I have to make sure he doesn't get feisty.

So, no trial for Jordan. Part of me is disappointed that I didn't get to do my first trial. Part of me is ecstatic that all of the stress and preoccupation distracting me over the last month is done. All of me is glad about this weekend.

Atlantic City is a go. I'll be heading down on Saturday with Alceste, Bacini Mary and KJ. I always read about their AC trips via I Had Outs and had bumped into them in AC on more than a few occassions, but I had never made the 2-3 hour drive with the crew before. It looks like I'll be heading down Friday early morning with Alceste and KJ so they can play in the $300 Borgata tourney. I may even choose to join them in that event as a self-congratulations for the settlement. Alceste plans to head back to NYC that night, and I may join him, but otherwise, I'll try to crash wherever Bacini and KJ are staying and/or catch a late night bus back. It all depends on how the poker is going.

I feel so relieved in so many ways. AC is just a cherry on top.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:05 AM,


At 4:49 PM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

That's great news about your trial. Now go kick some AC butt!


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