Ridiculousness

Picture of Banana Lady taken from Judge Posner’s opinion.

As it turns out, it was in fact a banana, and she was absolutely not happy to see Judge Posner.

The ridiculous isn’t entirely new to Judge Posner. He’s seen lawyers treating his courtroom as a schoolyard and issued benchslaps complete with pictures of men burying their heads in sand.

But he doubtless never expected to be writing an opinion chastising a woman in a banana suit….

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Want to see what it looks like when a fourth-year Weil Gotshal associate plans to marry a family law practitioner from a small firm? It looks like it’s going to rival the epic display of elegance and class that is the upcoming Kimye wedding.

Please save the date for the “Boss Wedding,” which is what they’re calling this dignified affair…

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So a guy hurt himself doing something that most of us would consider stupid. Then filed a lawsuit. It’s all hilarious.

Spreading stories about frivolous injury claims poses a moral quandary. While snicker-worthy suits like those often chronicled at Overlawyered are highly entertaining, the thinly veiled motivation behind circulating these tales is eroding confidence in the courts and promoting the dangerous assumption that all plaintiffs are crazy people trying to get rich quick. It’s all about using wacky outliers to convince everyone that the system is “out of control” before the next time some company poisons a water supply or something like that.

But there are some wacky lawsuits that need to be discussed because they ask something more fundamental. Like this one where a physical trainer decided — for no real reason — to do something EXTREME, got an EXTREME injury, and filed an EXTREME lawsuit.

And the fundamental question posed by this case is why we’re seeing more and more people with all of the sense of entitlement to do “whatever they want, whenever they want,” yet simultaneously possessing none of the commitment to personal responsibility for the consequences…

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He hit random keys or wrote, ‘I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job,’ over and over.

– An anonymous source describing stenographer Daniel Kochanski’s “bizarre antics” during numerous trials, which have caused judges to hold reconstruction hearings to repair the record in many cases.

(There’s much more to this story, so keep reading to see what happened.)

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Robert Richards IV

Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison. He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.

– Defense attorney Joseph A. Hurley, commenting on Judge Jan Jurden’s sentence of probation for DuPont heir Robert H. Richards IV as punishment for the fourth-degree rape of his 3-year-old daughter. Jurden noted in her sentencing order that Richards would not “fare well” in prison.

Darrious Mathis: too handsome for rape?

I had him stand up. I told the jury I wish I had what this guy’s got. Don’t take my word for it. Look at him. A lot of women like this — and some men, too.

Dwight Thomas, one of the attorneys who represented Darrious Mathis during his first trial, issuing remarks on having to “work with what you’ve got” as a defense attorney in a rape case. Thomas’s defense centered on his client’s good looks, a strategy that resulted in a hung jury.

At his second trial with a different attorney — one who did not use the “too-handsome defense” as aggressively — Mathis was convicted of kidnapping, carjacking, possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime, and assault with intent to rob and rape.

It’s fun to look at lists of bar exam passers. You can celebrate the success of your friends and derive schadenfreude from the failure of your enemies. And you can marvel or laugh at the names that some people have been saddled with by their parents.

We recently learned about two bar passers with such wacky names, it’s a miracle they survived the playground — then graduated from college and law school, and passed a very tough bar exam….

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Cleary Gottlieb switched over from “summer casual” to all-year business casual between my summer and starting full-time, so I never experienced a mandatory business attire office. Some senior folks would kvetch about the falling standard of decorum, but I suspected those guys were really just annoyed that they’d built a truly impressive suit collection and sat idly by as their wife started letting the tailor needle her, and for what? Younger lawyers rejoiced because not having to blow out a suit collection amounted to a functional bonus. I never experienced the full-on business dress policy, but personally, I could never imagine wearing business attire every day if for no other reason than business attire isn’t really conducive to the 18-hour workday.

More than a decade into the business casual movement, there are still holdouts demanding a return to the formality of the good old days. The problem with all these irritated partners is it’s not really possible to preach business attire without looking like a tool….

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That’s the only conclusion you can reach after reading the court’s new guide to typography. The federal rules say remarkably little about typeface, and the Seventh Circuit was having none of that vagueness. But instead of making a simple, concrete rule to guarantee that lawyers submit something that won’t make the judges — or their clerks — bleed profusely from the eyes, they churned out seven pages of pedantically detailed instructions. They even explain the difference between 12-point and 14-point fonts using many more words than “the second one is bigger.” Apparently the Seventh Circuit cares more about encouraging clean typefaces than efficient writing.

If you’re practicing in the Seventh Circuit, you need to read this curmudgeonly tract — and if you’re not, you can just giggle….

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“Playing Lecture Bingo gets 20 minutes in the corner”

The actual practice of law is much more rigorous than law school. Law school is basically college with lucrative summer jobs and crippling debt. Drinking every day, last-minute cramming, and generally winging it on exams are not out of place. That said, continuing the college-honed approach to my class work in no way conflicted with my understanding of proper professional behavior. I could slap together a paper for “Law and Super Mario Bros.”[1] or whatever seminar I was in and immediately shift gears to drafting well-researched and meticulously prepared memos for partners for my summer gig.

So while ATL is on record as a proponent of encouraging law schools to offer more concrete professional training, it’s not necessary to make class run like a day in the office of the worst partner or in the courtroom of a judicial diva.

That’s why, even though justified as an effort to train students to succeed in the persnickety world of trial practice, we really don’t need this professor’s three-and-a-half pages of single-spaced rules drenched in condescension….

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