The Art of Lawyering



  • Okay, so I could totally google this but I thought it might be a good topic of conversation here because why not! Some of these questions will likely be really obvious but... I have always wondered...

    1. Jury System. Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    2. The Gavel. Talk to me about this. ORDER ORDER! BLAM BLAM! Is it just to punctuate that you mean business? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    3. Why did you choose the section of law (family, criminal, etc) that you chose? Or did it choose you?

    4. Bond and bail, what's the difference?

    5. Why on earth did you choose to practice law to begin with? Was it the money or..?

    6. What is the most hilarious case you've worked on?

    7. What is the saddest case you've worked on?

    8. Criminal Justice Lawyer Types: What's the scariest person you've represented?

    9. Would you ever represent someone that is guilty but they wanted you to get them off the hook? Would you lie for them? What's the furthest you'd go?

    10. Do you like arguing? How can you manage to keep your shit together when impassioned?

    Thanks in advance for humoring me <3



  • List of notable clients:

    • JJ that pigeon that looks like it has a mohawk and lives next to the Circle K
    • 1 former Boston Celtic
    • Foghorn Leghorn
    • @Rinel, who is smol birb


  • @nyctophiliac said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Jury System. Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    This is an archaic remnant of British law, frankly, coming right out of that wholly-useless document known as Magna Carta. At the time, the "jury of peers" was to protect landholders against actions by the crown, which generally occurred before crown-appointees. By "peers," the landholders meant "other landholders." While that usually meant that the landowners got away with a lot of shit, landholders could also get really sick and tired of Lord Angus McSheepFucker and his night-time antics one day and let him get strung up for his 134th charge of "anger-banging Lady Smith's blessed flock of sheep."

    As a matter of practice, I do not ask for a jury demand. Juries are stupid. A lawyer asking for a jury, in my opinion, is one who needs to take advantage of stupid people in order to win their cases.

    The Gavel. Talk to me about this. ORDER ORDER! BLAM BLAM! Is it just to punctuate that you mean business? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    The gavel is used to create a loud noise calculated to cut through arguing between parties and/or counsel. It is similar to flicking the light switch on or off. These days, counsel usually don't get into open verbal wars because they usually get warned prior and judges are usually not shy to spending people into a holding cell for contempt of court. At least, 'round here.

    Why did you choose the section of law (family, criminal, etc) that you chose? Or did it choose you?

    You don't often get to choose; fate often chooses you. If you start at a firm or public institution, you do as you're told. If you start on your own, you just take what you can get and figure out what you like; then you play the trading game with other lawyers until you can build up a practice in the area you like.

    Bond and bail, what's the difference?

    Context varies, but bail is usually applied to the amount paid to get out of jail whereas bonds are used in the civil context for a variety of different purposes..

    Why on earth did you choose to practice law to begin with? Was it the money or..?

    I began it as an adventure and ended with a challenging professional career. I like both.

    What is the most hilarious case you've worked on?

    It's not really funny, but I have some funny client names. For example, I once represented a fellow with the last name "Batman," which made motion/brief writing more amusing. I also worked on a case for a client with the last name "Short" who had sued someone with the last name "Long."

    What is the saddest case you've worked on?

    I do not get emotionally invested in my cases. That's a quick way to burn out.

    Would you ever represent someone that is guilty but they wanted you to get them off the hook? Would you lie for them? What's the furthest you'd go?

    Yes. Even if guilty an accused should be defended where the government has committed a violation of their civil rights. All lawyers swear an oath to defend the Constitution in the United States. I take my oaths very seriously.

    To that end, no. I would never lie to or for a client. Lying is an art form that requires a great deal of care and delicacy. I have neither the time nor the inclination to prance about the truth. You win on the truth or you don't win at all. I have fired more than one client for asking if I would lie or alter evidence.

    Do you like arguing? How can you manage to keep your shit together when impassioned?

    I don't mind arguing, but it depends when and where. Generally, I do not argue unless I am being paid or I am to get something out of it personally.

    In a case, I refrain from arguing with another lawyer or my client. In the first case, it is purposeless: I don't need to convince another lawyer that I am right; I need to convince a judge or jury. In the second case, I don't have the time: if a client does not think I am telling them how the law works or forecasting the outcome well, then they can find another lawyer that feels inclined to get a pack of smokes, a short length of hose, and blow smoke up their ass.

    A wise lawyer does not argue against someone. A wise lawyer demonstrates why her interpretation of the law or set of facts should prevail. As an art it is closer to teaching than it is to debating; debates are for arguments that have no right answer, whereas teaching is showing someone else what the right answer is.


  • Tutorialist

    @nyctophiliac said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Jury System. Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    The idea of a "jury of one's peers" actually goes back to old english law, wherein the power of the king to make arbitrary judgments was suspended when it came to certain members of the peerage. In order to pass judgment on them, they would have to be tried in a court before a jury consisting of other members of the peerage.

    This, presumably, meant that you would get a fairer trial because it would be in their best interests to set precedents that protect themselves, and dispense justice on their own terms.

    Now, it just means that everyone has to serve on a jury, which I think is a fucking terrible idea.

    The Gavel. Talk to me about this. ORDER ORDER! BLAM BLAM! Is it just to punctuate that you mean business? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    It originally was used to indicate that the terms of a judgment were decreed and passed (comes from 'gafel', meaning 'rent' or 'tribute'). The tiny hammer was used to clearly indicate this. It just sort of persisted and morphed.

    Why did you choose the section of law (family, criminal, etc) that you chose? Or did it choose you?

    The area I work in now I'm passionate about, but it sort of chose me. There's surely no money in it. If I were an actual attorney (note: I am not, yet) I would probably go where the money is. Tax law or something.

    Bond and bail, what's the difference?

    This depends on jurisdiction, but here 'bail' is usually a set amount that has to be paid in full before release, whereas a 'bond' is a fraction of the bail that serves as a surety that you will appear and make good on debts etc. Every jurisdiction has minor variations, and various laws regarding how bail bondsmen operate if you get the money from a third party, etc.

    Why on earth did you choose to practice law to begin with? Was it the money or..?

    Money was one consideration. I also think it's fun. And I'm halfway decent at it.

    What is the most hilarious case you've worked on?

    I don't know that any of them are hilarious. There are a bunch of crazy people though.

    What is the saddest case you've worked on?

    Pretty much any case involving child abuse. I worked for an agency that investigated this. So many stories, none of which I can talk about.

    Criminal Justice Lawyer Types: What's the scariest person you've represented?

    n/a

    Would you ever represent someone that is guilty but they wanted you to get them off the hook? Would you lie for them? What's the furthest you'd go?

    Attorneys very much strive to not know whether a client is a terrible person, but no, you cannot lie for them. Despite popular beliefs, there are very strict codes of ethics that the legal profession has to follow. Which is why we also get certain privilege and don't have to say shit unless compelled by a court.

    Do you like arguing? How can you manage to keep your shit together when impassioned?

    We're on MSB. So... yes. Clearly. ;)


  • Tutorialist

    @Ganymede ninja'd me!


  • Pitcrew

    @nyctophiliac said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Okay, so I could totally google this but I thought it might be a good topic of conversation here because why not! Some of these questions will likely be really obvious but... I have always wondered...

    1. Jury System. Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    2. The Gavel. Talk to me about this. ORDER ORDER! BLAM BLAM! Is it just to punctuate that you mean business? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    3. Why did you choose the section of law (family, criminal, etc) that you chose? Or did it choose you?

    4. Bond and bail, what's the difference?

    5. Why on earth did you choose to practice law to begin with? Was it the money or..?

    6. What is the most hilarious case you've worked on?

    7. What is the saddest case you've worked on?

    8. Criminal Justice Lawyer Types: What's the scariest person you've represented?

    9. Would you ever represent someone that is guilty but they wanted you to get them off the hook? Would you lie for them? What's the furthest you'd go?

    10. Do you like arguing? How can you manage to keep your shit together when impassioned?

    Thanks in advance for humoring me <3

    1. Judges are more biased and jaded than juries. Also, in several jurisdictions, including mine, they're elected.

    2. It's a politer version of shooting a gun into the air.

    3. I have a birthday card from someone the state executed.

    4. Bail is a type of bond used to secure release from prison, but in reality they're used interchangeably in the criminal realm.

    5. I met people who were affected by the criminal justice system. So it was either law or armed revolution.

    6. I've had some great interviews. One guy was charged with stealing electricity. From his neighbor. With coathangers.

    7. ...all of them. Maybe the asylum case where my client's husband had been murdered in front of her and her children during a church service.

    8. All my clients have been very well mannered and polite. As a student investigator, I interviewed a few people who were pretty obviously professional murderers. I've never felt unsafe in a corrections center because of the inmates. I'm much more afraid of LEOs.

    9. I'm a criminal defense attorney. Most of my clients are guilty, statistically speaking. Guilt is immaterial to my job, except when I'm pursuing a very specific kind of relief in post-conviction proceedings. My job is to ensure that the constitutional protections afforded to all citizens of the country are afforded to my clients. So yes, I'd represent someone I thought was guilty of rape or murder without losing any sleep. I would not lie to protect my client. I haven't had a capital case yet. I will admit that I do not know what I would do in such a situation. But in other cases, no. I swore an oath and will neither commit nor suborn perjury to the court.

    10. Yes, as everyone here who's interacted with me will attest. I don't practice in court, so it's not much of a problem. It takes a lot to truly anger me, even though I'm constantly irritable, and when I'm truly enraged my hate burns cold. You just keep it bottled until you can release it, like any other professional situation.

    ETA: I would and have represented people I suspect are guilty of murder and rape, I should say. And I lose sleep but it's over deadlines



  • @Rinel said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Judges are more biased and jaded than juries. Also, in several jurisdictions, including mine, they're elected.

    my state is like this and it bothers me on so many levels. Stuff like chief of police, judge, medical examiner should not be elected positions IMO. Or if they're elected in some way should be nominated/voted on by their own peers. aka people who can vouch they know their shit.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice

    I've voted Republican in every coroner election I've ever voted in, because the Republican is the only one with a medical degree.



  • @Rinel said in The Art of Lawyering:

    @Auspice

    I've voted Republican in every coroner election I've ever voted in, because the Republican is the only one with a medical degree.

    The last election I was in SC for, there was.... some really minor city position up for election and the Republican was running unopposed. And we're talking REALLY MINOR POSITION. But I knew people who went into a tizzy that it was a PLOT and the DEMOCRATS HAD BEEN WALLED OUT.

    .....the Republican was the only one qualified who also wanted to run.

    Like sometimes it is not some EVIL THING but literally just: this person has the education/training.

    And that's my fear with stuff like coroner, judges, and all being elected positions. The homgwhatifsomeonewhoisn'tqualifiedandisjustgoodatself-marketinggetsin.


  • Pitcrew

    Not a lawyer but I work at a jail in Kentucky.

    Bail is what you need to put up as collateral with the court to be released from jail on your own recognizance. A bond (technically it's a "bail bond") is an agreement between you and a bondsman in which the bondsman covers for you by putting up the collateral for your bail and in return you pay the bondsman like 10% of the bail that they get to keep.

    Bail is between you and the state. A bail bond is an agreement for a bondsman to cover your bail.

    In Kentucky bail bonds and bounty-hunting have been illegal since 1976, being the first state to get rid of them. Now we only have cash bail, and we are considering getting rid of that too.



  • @nyctophiliac said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Jury System. Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    I actually quite like juries. I've found them to be remarkably incisive in unexpected ways when I've spoken to them after court. They frequently come to a "right" conclusion --anecdata only, mind. The last couple of trials I've had, the jury came back with a decision that was basically... what the State offered me in settlement negotiations.

    I think that the truth is often best reached by sifting down between opposing viewpoints. In my experience of most witness testimony, what actually happened is often... somewhere betwixt and between.

    The Gavel. Talk to me about this. ORDER ORDER! BLAM BLAM! Is it just to punctuate that you mean business? What do yall lawyers think about this?

    I've never actually seen one used in court.

    Why did you choose the section of law (family, criminal, etc) that you chose? Or did it choose you?

    inertia. I took the first job I could get in a terrible economy, and then continued to build my career from there. I do think I'm pretty okay at it, though.

    Why on earth did you choose to practice law to begin with? Was it the money or..?

    I had no idea what I wanted to do in real life and law school was a way to put off dealing with that for a few more years. My degree was in secondary education English literature and I didn't actually really want to be a teacher. Who knew?

    What is the most hilarious case you've worked on?

    Most of my shit isn't very funny. We did have an assault 4 once where the defendant allegedly threw a plum at his girlfriend while they were driving. I insistently referred to it as the drive-by fruiting case and made the PA laugh more than the joke was worth. We are the Mrs. Doubtfire generation, I guess.

    What is the saddest case you've worked on?

    A lot of 'em, really. I represent parents who are trying (and often failing) to not lose their children to the State. The worst is when they really genuinely want to try to fix their problems but their mental health is just too jacked up ... or when they are genuinely improved, but their relationship with the child is just plain unsalvageable.

    I've lasted longer in my contract than most do. Turnover is high. Emotions are terrible. But somebody's got to do it.

    Criminal Justice Lawyer Types: What's the scariest person you've represented?

    I'd prefer not to say.

    Would you ever represent someone that is guilty but they wanted you to get them off the hook? Would you lie for them? What's the furthest you'd go?

    Guilty is a legal determination. They aren't guilty until they're convicted. I can and have represented people post-conviction, though. But ... I think the very question of whether you'd rep a guilty person misconstrues the point. My job is twofold: (1) to make sure the authority does their damn job correctly; they don't get a conviction no matter what my client did if they fuck up; and (2) to minimize the damage to my client's life that results from whatever dumbass thing they did to get them into that situation. Is it what they're charged with? Maybe, but that's not the point. The point is, no matter what someone has done, they're not beyond human caring.

    Any given citizen is vastly outweighed by the power of the State. It's vitally important that no individual be crushed under the weight of that authority and power without checks and balances. The individual case is almost not the point. My role is vital, even though there are individual cases where there is literally fuck all I can do besides go "Your Honor, the burden of proof is on the State."

    I don't lie. My professional ethics are extremely important to me, and so is my professional reputation, and I definitely would not compromise either for a client.

    Do you like arguing? How can you manage to keep your shit together when impassioned?

    I find that, when I am prepared, passion enables me to keep my shit together versus the forces of anxiety that otherwise undercut me.

    I don't really like arguing, because I don't really like conflict. I dunno. I definitely didn't decide to be a lawyer because I was like, yay, arguing. But, somehow, here I am.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ominous said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Bail is between you and the state. A bail bond is an agreement for a bondsman to cover your bail.

    This is true! Nobody ever can afford the first, though, so



  • @Rinel Well, if they could afford the bail, they'd clearly be a flight risk...


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash said in The Art of Lawyering:

    The point is, no matter what someone has done, they're not beyond human caring.

    Frame this shit and put it up in lights.



  • @Rinel Admittedly I sometimes have to chant this to myself after they scream at / hang up on me.


  • Pitcrew

    @Rinel said in The Art of Lawyering:

    This is true! Nobody ever can afford the first, though, so

    This is why the state is considering getting rid of bail altogether.

    @Rinel said in The Art of Lawyering:

    @saosmash said in The Art of Lawyering:

    The point is, no matter what someone has done, they're not beyond human caring.

    Frame this shit and put it up in lights.

    We could put a sign up saying that on a few of the inmates' single cells, but I suspect the sheet of paper would blacken much like the Nazi symbol on the crate in Raiders of the Lost Ark.



  • @nyctophiliac said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Just why would anyone ever want to be tried by a court of their peers when the majority of our peers aren't all that smart - why not rely on a professional with experience? (Like a Judge!) Does this happen anywhere other than America?

    While others have talked about the origins of the practice among the English nobles, one needn't look that far back in history to see why some might think it was a good idea. "He's a hanging judge" in the American 1800's comes to mind, as well as more modern examples where judges have been shown to be corrupt and/or biased. Whether that counterbalances the argument that juries are unqualified/etc. is open to debate.

    Other countries do have trials by jury, though I read that much of Europe has done away with them.


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash

    Nobody said it was easy. :p

    My work is one of the things on my mind every time I do confession. 🤷



  • Random thoughts from this discussion.

    • It's amusing that Derp, Ominous, and I probably practice very close to one another. We could probably have a tri-state area meet up or something. Hofbrauhaus I hear is pretty in autumn.

    • The criminal attorneys have a different perspective on judges and juries than I.

    • We all could come together and make a pretty nasty law firm.



  • @Ganymede said in The Art of Lawyering:

    Hofbrauhaus

    One of the places I miss from living in the Cincinnati region.


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