Monday, June 30, 2008

Trouble in River City Episode 5: Confidence Restored

Click here for the previous episode of Trouble . . .

When I walked into my GC’s office, she saw the signs of concern inscribed across my expression. “Superstar ?”, she asked without hesitation. “Yes”, I said. “He wants me to economically model our litigation,” the words came spilling out without any apparent exercise of volition on my part. “I have never heard of economically modeling litigation; I went to one of the best law schools in the country and I have never heard of it. I have a lot of CLE, I have simply never heard of it. I heard of ADR, mediation, arbitration, third party neutrals, and I got A’s in civil procedure and federal jurisdiction—I have simply never heard of economically modeling cases”.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “I haven’t either”. “But I have heard that since Superstar has come back from the MBA program at this local University, he has appeared to have acquired a number of new notions about the law and lawyers—it is a passing fad. These unusual ideas have not made their way into any of the well known, established schools. Moreover, I am sure that there is a simple explanation that we can get from Professor Prestige, at my law school. He wrote the authoritative case book on civil procedure. I have remained in touch and we can call him and get an explanation; I will help you prepare your response to Superstar.”

Professor Prestige had a national reputation. He was often a talking face on TV and sought out by the media to opine on noteworthy litigation. His case book, The Essentials of Civil Procedure, had become the standard text around the country and was in its fourth addition.

My CG placed a conference call. “Nonsense,” said Professor Prestige, “Economically modeling cases—never heard of such a thing.” The imperial tone of his response gave one a sense of confidence. As the conversation was ending, Professor Prestige, was complementing my GC on her career: “Well Ms. Ruddock (he was known for addressing everyone in this formal manner; it distanced him from his students) you have had quite a successful career. If you are near the Law School be sure to stop by; we would love to have you talk to the students.”

As the conversation was ending, I said automatically, “Professor how many cases have you actually tried?” The question was like sending an electric shock. ‘Tried!” said the Professor with the most imperial tone of the entire conversation. “I study the law and I am up to date with every reported appellate case on civil procedure,” he said in manner the suggested that further conversation on this topic was not welcome.

-Larry Salibra
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