Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sparring Sessions

Ramblings Post #181
In boxing, your average contender prepares by dueling in sparring sessions where they get in the ring with guys paid to mimic the style of their upcoming foes. It can be educational, insightful, occasionally painful when you find where your own weak spots are... and they charge tickets for you to see it. So you can pay to watch him spar, and then pay again to watch him box which is a hell of a racket. They ought to be 'shame of themselves. What does that have to do with this entry? This is legal sparring.

Our law school "Mock Trials" are almost upon us, and for the first time I'm feeling a little nervous about this particular legal sparring session.

You see, as part of my law school's program, all students have to put together one side of a trial, as either the attorney for the plaintiff/state or defendant. Opening statements, direct, cross, objections, closing all that, closer to real life than Matlock or Law and Order. During one of those frequent "why are we doing this" discussions the infest law school, I was informed by a classmate, most law schools don't require this, because the truth of the matter is most lawyers don't go to court. The best ones keep you out. Lawyers are by in large negotiators and counselors, so knowing how to effectively run a trial is one more specialized skill in the legal quiver. But then my school also starts you off in Property law, which a lot of schools also don't require, so I guess everyone's mix is a little different.

I work for a living, so I went over my pre-trial motions this weekend, sat down last night and put a few final hours into it and sent if off...incidentally fifteen minutes before the power went off at my house due to the storm that rolled through.

I was feeling good about the whole thing until I got the motions from our opposing counsel today around noon. I thought I had crafted a fairly good argument in mine. I had researched a mix of motion formats from a couple of sources since I figured mine was fairly cut and dried, basic rules of evidence stuff, and cobbled together what seemed like a comprehensive motion. What I got from opposing counsel used the single example the prof sent out as a blueprint, and included what I consider to be a lot more depth than mine. A lot more. I cited rules and made impassioned argument - they cited case law.

I only just got the lasagna right, as evidenced by my previous brief earning a few good comments for being logical and easy to follow. My prof had given indicated it seemed like I was getting it. Did I get smug while I wasn't looking? I'm hoping it's that I just misunderstood the assignment or using the model I constructed was an acceptable option. I was just getting into the swing of this, getting all hyped up to get my Johnnie Cochran on, but now I'm not so sure. Yes, I figured not only would I do all those things necessary to show I understood the procedure (the point of the class)...I would win the case too! But that's just confidence, not arrogance, right?


In any case, its done and gone, and oral arguments are upon me - again. I need to get with my trial partner to see which motion she wants to handle.

Barkeep - one them aperitifs. I don't know why.

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