Helping the Court Reporter

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A clean, coherent, and intelligible deposition transcript is invaluable to a trial attorney. It can prevent the waste of hours of trial preparation spent decoding same. It may also be the key piece of evidence used to impeach a witness during cross-examination and question his or her credibility.

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With that, know that the court reporter is your friend — help your friend help you. To do so, see this article that list best practices and suggestions for handling a court reporter at a deposition. A brief must read for any trial attorney.

When you’re taking a deposition, you know that ensuring a complete and accurate record is vital. So don’t take the person who’s dutifully taking down the proceedings for granted: Assisting the court reporter is not only polite, it might be the key to a clean depo transcript to use at trial.

Helping the court reporter start even before the deposition begins by

  • Showing up early to organize documents for convenient reference and mark them as exhibits.
  • Giving the reporter a copy of the case caption so the transcript will include the correct case name and court number.
  • If the deponent is an expert, offering the reporter a written glossary of unusual terms that will be used during the deposition.

Read more: Give the Reporter a Hand to Get a Clean Depo Transcript

Bully Times — Be Prepared

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Tough

One day, one morning, one afternoon, it will happen — the inevitable encounter with the bullying lawyer. As I continue to acclimate myself with the practice of law in a new environment, with a new town comes new rules. For that reason, amongst many, I immediately identified with the following article. The writer outlines the importance of young attorneys standing ready to confront the older more experienced attorney that may will bully you. The author details how the foe may present him or herself in a number of disguises. Bullies do not always appear as the big bad wolf, they may very well be the sly cunning fox. Either way, it’s important that you stand your ground. Of course, we all make mistakes and can learn a great deal from the more seasoned attorneys; however, never allow that to compromise your ability or confidence to perform well. More experience is simply more “practical contact with and observation of facts or events.” Not superiority.

It Was Just a Routine Motion

One of the first matters I worked on involved drafting a relatively routine bankruptcy motion to reject a contract for a corporate debtor. After filing and serving the motion, I received a call from counsel to the counterparty to the contract. He immediately lit into me, accusing me of filing a frivolous motion, threatening sanctions and questioning my qualifications — that’s the G-rated version.

Whoa. I was shaken up. This guy was pretty seasoned, at least in terms of years of experience. At the end of the conversation I was convinced I had really messed up, and that my legal career was pretty much over.

Read more: You Will Be Bullied — Be Prepared

PA Supreme Court shifts the world of products liability

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The PA Supreme Court recently shifted the world of products liability with its opinion in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc. While scholars and attorneys continue to dissect the 137 page opinion,  “what can be said immediately about this landmark decision is this: (1) the Court has not adopted the Third Restatement (although the Third Restatement is extensively discussed); (2) Azzarello v. Black Brothers Company (Pa 1978), which created Pennsylvania’s idiosyncratic version of Section 402A of the Second Restatement, has been overruled. BUT (3) there are many stated variables and contingencies that will have to be carefully evaluated and clearly will have significant consequences in pending and yet to be filed cases in Pennsylvania state and federal courts.” Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel member Bill Ricci.

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Proper Objection, or Not?!?

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Two of the potentially most important areas to understand for a deposition are proper and improper objections. You’d be amazed at just how many improper objections are frequently asserted.

And so the saying goes, “one lie can ruin a thousand truths.” In the context of depositions, “one improper objection can erase your good standing, while one waived objection can ruin your case.”

The two most often improperly used objections in a deposition are relevance and hearsay. It is not necessary that the question itself be non-hearsay or relevant, only that it must be reasonably capable of leading to admissible evidence. Put simply, “If the question may lead to admissible evidence than it is relevant.” (See link below)

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The NEXT Chapter…

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Philadelphia City Hall Backdrop

This is a professional legal blog and I aim to operate it as such. Yet, there are exceptions to every rule and here is the place where one applies. The recent lapse in post, as well as changes that may occur moving forward call for an explanation. Here it is…

I married the love of my life on August 10, 2014. Very soon thereafter, I accepted an attorney position as a litigator practicing insurance defense at Baginski, Mezzanotte, Hasson, & Rubinate in Philadelphia, PA.

The change has been met with nonstop movement and a huge increase in responsibility. I mention this because naturally as I continue to increase my depth of knowledge in this new practice area a majority of my post may center around it. To do so without notice would be inapt.

Practicing in Philadelphia has been both exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, there is the ever-changing rules and practices of Pennsylvania courts and on the other, there is the thrill of walking into City Hall every other day. The two contrast – among many – balance out quite nicely. Nonetheless, the objective of this blog is to share everyday lessons learned by a young up and coming attorney. I plan to continue doing so only in a slightly different form. Be sure to follow…

Publication: Social Media 101 – The Rules of Engagement

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Social Media 101

Social media is a cluster of global Tweets, shares and content embedded in every corner of the web. No longer is it only used by the young and restless. Each day over 190 million Tweets are sent, while approximately 265 million people check their Facebook pages. The dynamics of Social Media has changed everything, making it more imperative than ever that we use it properly. One mis- Tweet, mis-share or upload can cause you, your client or your firm tons of money and irreparable harm.

You are what you Tweet

Those words ring true now, more than ever. Despite this notion, the glaring social media gaffes of others continue to amaze. Social media titans such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram grant us an immediate connection with the world — our own, readily available soapbox to project our voice for the world to hear. When used properly, they are amazing tools: a means to share opinions, personal experiences and information. However, it all comes at a great price of responsibility.

As the old adage goes, “to whom much is given, much is required.” Quick and convenient access to social media elimi- nates the filtering process that would natu- rally occur when publicizing one’s feelings. Therefore, it is important not to allow the relaxed forum to delude you. You are still responsible for your thoughts and actions, arguably to a higher degree when those thoughts are posted and made available for anyone to derive their own meaning.

I originally wrote this article in February of 2014. This piece is an updated version of that post, geared toward young attorneys and their clients, further highlighting the importance of proper use of social media. It was published by the PA Bar Association Young Lawyers Division in the Summer 2014 At Issue publication.

To read the article in its entirety see, Social Media 101: The Rules of Engagement

 

Widener’s Delaware Journal of Corporate Law Receives Top Honor

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Delaware Corporate Law Journal

The Delaware Journal of Corporate Law recently took a distinguished top honor in a national ranking of law reviews.

The Journal ranked first among student-edited journals that specialize in “corporations and associations” and in “commercial law,” based upon citations in federal and state court opinions over the last eight years. The ranking, from data compiled by Washington & Lee University School of Law, also placed theJournal seventh out of 372 specialized student-edited law reviews for citations overall.

This means that courts cite articles published by the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law more often than any other corporate and commercial journal in the country, and that only six other journals in any field are cited by courts more than the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law.

The ranking was based on printed law journals published in the United States.

Established in 1975 to keep business-law practitioners abreast of critical issues, the Journal has continually provided the nation’s legal community with well-researched and analytical articles. Its location at Widener Law in Wilmington, Del. puts the Journal in a unique position to maintain a corporate law focus. It is published three times each year. Subscribers include The United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Delaware Supreme Court, Delaware Court of Chancery, Time Warner Inc., DIRECTV Group and numerous national and local law firms…

It is great to see my law school alma mater doing great things. Congratulations to all of the students, both past and present, that worked so hard to achieve this accomplishment.

See more, Widener’s Delaware Journal of Corporate Law leads national ranking.