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Latest from The Velvet Hammer

While other attorneys were taking classes on trial practice, this mommy lawyer learned the art of direct exam from watching the best interviewer in the world. Started watching the Oprah Winfrey Show when Cristina was born in 1986.  Finished two children and nine years later when I started working full time again. Earlier this month, Oprah interviewed Meghan and Harry.  She did not disappoint.  The session provides a wonderful lesson on Direct Exam.  1.     …
Have taken hundreds of defendant driver depositions.  Used to have a checklist to make sure I didn’t forget the basics.  Lost that checklist at a few decades ago.  Now as a mentor for young attorneys, have reconstructed one which am sharing with you.  Disclaimer: this is not an outline.  Lawyers love outlines because we think if we prepare everything perfectly, everything will go perfectly.  When an outline is strictly followed, there is no room for…
Am trying to show empathy to our new associate who has been working long hours. Encourage him to make sure to take a day off. During firm meeting raise the issue of not working too much . Then Stritmatter crashes the party. Strit: I’m going to derail this conversation. My father and I worked 7 days a week. That’s how I was raised. Work comes first. If you want to be a great lawyer you…
Trial day 7 Part of a trial lawyer’s worry – is the concern that without a clear cut case, pounding on damages may be too much.  Perhaps jurors will be pushed over the edge into voting against liability.  But while looking at the dynamics from all directions is always a worthy exercise, we are in trial and there is no time to be faint of heart. Mr. P went through torture ending in death.  We…
If the defense was to bring their jury consultant back, there would be major problems.   First, no room for that person to sit.  Second, the jurors’ faces are covered by masks.  You can see no expression.  Every so often you can see someone nod.  But there is no real rhyme or reason to that.  They are also spread out across the entire courtroom.  You can’t glance over at them.  You’d have to scan dozens of…
Trial day 4 October 15, 2020   Did I tell you that Steve F. got in trouble yesterday.  Almost enough to satisfy me.  But not quite. In the middle of damages opening. Tell the jury that the defense expert doctor is going to say the Decedent did not feel pain after he was burned.  Steve is hopping up.  Objecting on top of my sentence.  We aren’t calling any such witness – he charges.  Judge Parisien…
Head over the bridge to Bellevue.  Enter the parking garage.  The gates are up.  A sign is taped over the ticket machine. Free parking.  Slide into a spot.  Walk a few feet to the entrance.  It is all so clean and perfect and sterile as heck.  Miss the cracked sidewalks, scores of people, and general dishabille of King County Superior Court at 3rd and Stewart.  Even the long and twisty security lines.  We are set…
By far the biggest challenge in our covid trial is the mask situation. Never mind that we are in a convention center conference room. Or that the jury is spread out across the ballroom floor. This is from my trial diary – day 1. The defense lawyer is a distraction.  Or rather his facemask is.  It is dark blue with a design that looks like either big diamonds or a faux Louis Vuitton print.  Can’t…
Two months ago we file a dozen tort claims with the city and state. For peaceful protesters who were hurt by the police or in Summer Taylor’s case – killed – while protesting for BLM. We then need to wait 60 days before filing the suit. Instead of having down time, we begin drafting the complaint. I have the great role of being the boss of all and hand out assignments. Lisa – history and…