Brilliant Trial Lawyer or Simple Ass?

by Jamison Koehler on December 9, 2011

MR. KOEHLER:  Objection.  Relevance.

THE COURT:  Mr. Koehler, you can sit down.

MR. KOEHLER:  Your honor, this is absolutely ridiculous.

MR. RIORDAN:  No, it’s not.

THE WITNESS:  No, it’s not.

MR. KOEHLER:  It is completely irrelevant.

THE WITNESS:  What’s ridiculous is how [the petitioner] gets away with all this stuff.

THE COURT:  I really can’t properly judge the relevance until I hear a limited amount of this and disregard it if it turns out to be –

MR. KOEHLER:  Thank you.

THE COURT:  — irrelevant.  All right.  The witness can answer the question.

Reading the transcript from a hearing you have done is often a revelation.  Sometimes you come across like the brilliant trial lawyer you think you are.  Other times, when you find yourself whining, interrupting the judge or bickering with the witness, you just come across like an ass.

While the trifecta above suggests the latter, it also includes one of my favorite situations; that is, when the other side – or its witness — starts to rule on your objections.

3 Comments on “Brilliant Trial Lawyer or Simple Ass?

  1. I learned early on to bribe the court reporters to take out all of the “uhhs and ums” from my questions/arguments. That helps. But I’m also guilty of a bit of historical revisionism when recalling my brilliant trial tactics. Good post.

  2. Unsolicited tip I once heard and adopted: Never say “Objection, relevance.” Say “Objection, irrelevant.” Much stronger and, I found, likely to get the judge truly consider the objection.

  3. The only thing more painful than reading a transcript of argument or cross examination is re-reading an old blog post. Some things feel good, but aren’t really good at all.

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