ABA Journal


ABA Journal Podcast

Veteran lawyers share their ‘aha’ trial moments (podcast with transcript)

Nov 4, 2013, 04:55 pm CST


My personal "Aha" moments made me realize how unimportant the lawyer can be at times. One of the classics was in a lawsuit among several doctors, with the plaintiff suing my docs for $10M during the break up of their partnership. The accountant for the medical practice was testifying about the allocation of the profits and expenses. He asked for a calculator, and the Judge handed him an old fashioned adding machine. The accountant started "playing" the adding machine like a CPA's piano, and one of the jurors next to me went, "WOW!!" I knew at that moment they would believe anything the accountant said, and I just hoped he he would give us helpful testimony (he did, thank goodness - we were defending the case with counterclaims, and we settled a couple of days later with the plaintiffs paying us $150k, and we never put on a witness in our case-in-chief).

In another case, my teenage client had been stabbed to death in a ratty little bar by an adult patron. The "bouncer" testified that the teen and the murderer went out into the alley, and the "bouncer" watched the stabbing from the bar's alley door. When I asked him what he did next, the "bouncer" said, "I closed the door.", as though it was just another day. Two of the ladies on the jury with teen sons audibly gasped, and 2 days later the jury returned a $20M verdict for us.

I'm sure everyone has had his/her own "Aha" moments, but it still surprises me how well juries can sift through the facts despite us lawyers.

By JimfromBham on 2013 11 08, 2:36 pm CST

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