trial diary excerpts

The day voir dire didn’t start ’til 4:00: and an updated voir dire do’s an don’ts list

miami2016

Trial day 1: 

Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet. On the little rug in front of the sink.   I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf. It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday. Haven’t changed it yet. The mental math keeps me sharp. Or so I tell myself.

On goes the regulation black.   Black jacket. Black tights. Black boots. Black skirt with little ruffles. The only color is a non-color on the shirt. Flesh toned I guess, in a shade several tones lighter than I. With rouching and gathering to soften the severity. Of my black hair.

I leave my rings on the little metal hand stand next to the orchid on the counter.   There are only two of them. One is a pretty piece of jade from an antique shop on Royale Street in New Orleans. The other is my best friend pinky ring. Shellie and I have matching ones. We do pinkie finger shakes wearing those rings. I always wear them. But not for this trial. Because my right hand is covered with a big band aid. The story involves E.J. my six year old nephew and Nala, but that can be told another day.

After dropping Nala off at doggie day care, get on the freeway. Head to Everett. This will take 45 minutes. Plenty of time to practice opening. Or conceptualize voir dire. Maybe review testimony of the first witness. After all, Steve Hay asked me to try this UIM case not quite a month ago.

It is raining. Gray. Too quiet in the car to listen to these thoughts. So turn on The Appeal by John Grisham. The narrator is real good. Am transported to Mississippi.

Park. Ride up the elevator. Walk a few steps across the courtyard to the entrance. There are no security lines around the ugly courthouse. Sorry if you’re from Everett. But that courthouse is about the ugliest thing have ever seen.

Make it to presiding and the court has just read our name. Don’t care, because Steve (Hay) is covering this.  He waves at me. We get assigned out within five minutes.   I get up before I even sit down and we head up to the fifth floor dept. 12.

Now there is a reason why I’ve just spent so long telling you about trial day 1. When we aren’t even in the courtroom yet. You’ll see soon.

We get there and our judge is Marybeth Dingledy. (pronounced Deengel ‘ die) What a fantastic name.   She is very direct, prompt, makes sound rulings on the motions in limine, has a twinkle in her eye. That’s all good.

So what is the problem.

Well, the Allstate attorney Jodi Held, says that she won’t agree to simply calling a panel of 29 prospective jurors. She’s worried there could be bias against Allstate, so she wants 35. Problem is there are only 29. We need to wait to see if any jurors are going to be released from the other voir dire panels around the ugly courthouse.

So we wait.

And wait.

Each lunch.

Come back and wait.

And wait.

Until finally at 2:30 pm Jodi cries uncle and agrees to go with whatever number there is.

Which turns out to be 31.

And then we wait for them to be brought up.

And for the judge to swear them in and do preliminary instruction and voir dire.

Which means that by the time I start voir dire – it is ten minutes until 4:00 p.m.

Can you imagine how upset those jurors must be. I see a lot of lips turned down Mr. and Ms. grumpy pants. And don’t blame that all. 29 of 31 have been sitting in the jury room all day long. Waiting on us.

Oh, this is going to not go well at all.

I put on a smile and start in.

Have you ever been to a comedy show where the audience doesn’t laugh. Or at a music concert where instead of people loudly clapping for an encore, they just leave. Or at a legal education seminar where people are reading the news on their computers and texting on their phones.

Well, that’s what it feels like when you start voir dire at 4:00 in the afternoon of a jury that’s been waiting for six and a half hours to start.

In the words of Winston Churchill which I keep quoting to my children. “Never. Never. Never give up.” So smile. Push forward. And complete the first 20 minute round of voir dire. By the end these folks are loosening up. Talking and shaking their heads yes and no. Sometimes smiling. They are getting into it.

Then Jody stands up.   And starts to give a closing argument in the guise of voir dire. Which is not really even in a guise at all. She asks a series of questions which requires everyone to nod yes. She doesn’t have them say or explain anything. She just wants them to agree with her.   Does this ever really work. This technique of pseudo-brainwashing. Well, maybe. But not today.

Do you agree Allstate should investigate and look at all the facts and circumstances before they pay a claim. Yes they nod.

They may not be getting anything out of this. But she is. Her voice is getting stronger. She’s becoming impassioned. Says: Allstate has a right to look into the…

And at that point, I interrupt and lob an objection. Sweetly. Which the court overrules. Graciously.

Rick Friedman would be sighing and telling me Karen Karen Karen. What have I told you about objecting so much.

Am unrepentant. It needed to be done.

Jody is thrown off. Actually she probably comes out of her trance and realizes, the jury is just about totally asleep.   It is now 4:20. She’s gone 10 minutes. She calls a sidebar and offers to end her round of voir dire early.   Says the jury is flat. Well, no duh they’re flat. I’m about asleep myself.

So we end the day

My Updated Voir Dire List

  • Make sure you know the judge’s special protocol
  • Stand and face the panel
  • Don’t try to ingratiate yourself with the panel
  • Own the courtroom floor, don’t stand still, don’t pace frantically either
  • Don’t clasp your hands behind your back or in front and keep them out of your pockets
  • Make sure every juror in the room can hear and see you
  • Maintain proper interpersonal distance, don’t stand too far away, don’t get too close
  • Don’t think of it as rocket science, think of it as chit chat…organized, focused chit chat
  • Pay attention to body language – yours and theirs
  • Don’t read questions
  • Create a list of topics but don’t try to follow an exact outline
  • Don’t try to control the panel
  • Give to get
  • Don’t write down answers (there’s not enough time)
  • Have a staff member take notes for you if needed – don’t ask your client to help
  • Make eye contact with everyone, somehow, and don’t look like an FBI agent while you’re doing so
  • Invite the jurors to join the group discussion
  • Be animated, friendly, engaging, interested, open, genuine
  • If you feel phony guess what…
  • Listen to the person who is speaking
  • Listen to their body language
  • Listen to the aura of the entire panel
  • Listen to everything you don’t want to hear
  • Listen
  • Don’t spend too much time talking to a few jurors
  • If any of the jurors are monopolizing the conversation feel free to gently tell them you would like to give others a chance to speak
  • Make sure everyone says something
  • Stop talking so much – the jurors are the ones we’re interested in hearing from
  • Show that you care
  • Smile with genuine interest and friendliness
  • Stop frowning
  • Don’t try to ingratiate yourselfGive tidbits of information about the case, but don’t make an opening statement – the jurors will see right through you and the judge won’t be too happy either
  • Don’t be judgmental
  • Thank jurors when they dig deep to give hard answers
  • Make the court room feel like a safe place for the jurors to speak
  • Don’t think you can build credibility by saying the right things
  • The jurors won’t be focused on figuring out what you think but in forming impressions on what you do
  • Proactively transition between jurors instead of reactively jumping around
  • Be polite and respectful to everyone always
  • Don’t roll your eyes and huff and moan when it is the defense lawyers turn
  • What you do when the defense lawyer is having a turn, is just as important as what happens when you are having yours
  • Don’t talk with your client and act like they are having a roll in choosing the jury
  • Don’t call a juror by their first name, instead use Mr, Ms, or Juror # blank
  • Relax your face muscles and let them speak too
  • If the jurors are answering “yes” and “no” then wake up and smell the coffee – you’re doing it wrong
  • Don’t point at them
  • Keep track of the responses somehow and highlight problem or question mark jurors after each round
  • Don’t look scared even if you are, but it’s fine to admit to being nervous
  • Embrace the cliché – honey works better than vinegar

Photo:  Cristina and I at Southbeach in Miami during a break at the AAJ Midwinter Convention last month.  Note the shadow from the selfie stick.

Trial diary excerpt: The case of the chunk

Chunk-Weigh-2-640x426

This trial diary excerpt is from 2011 King County Superior Court.

Trial day 1

Am not smiling as leave the courtroom.  Judge Hill has just chewed me out.  All my energy is turning inward.  Breathe in.  Breath out.  Walk down the stairs to the car.  And leave.

It starts off as a promising day.  The sky is blue.  There are plenty of jurors available downstairs.  The first round is brought up.  19 are excused for hardship leaving 41.  Just in case, a second group of 20 is brought up.  12 of them are excused.  People are struggling to make ends meet.  A somber pall is cast over the courtroom.  Too many people have to publicly humiliate themselves explaining they are scraping by pay check to pay check. 

The judge reads the neutral statement:

Plaintiff claims, on June 18, 2008, he was driving his truck on I-5.  As he passed under the Holgate overpass, someone dropped a large chunk of concrete onto the freeway.  The concrete broke through Mr. Clark’s windshield and struck his right shoulder.  Mr. Clark claims the incident was foreseeable because of the history of the overpass and its location next to the area known as “The Jungle.”  He claims the Defendant State of Washington should have installed protective screening on the overpass and that its failure to do so was a cause of his injury.  Defendant State of Washington denies Mr. Clark’s claims.  It claims that the bridge was properly built according to applicable standards, that there was no need for screening and the only cause of injury was due to the intentional conduct of a third party. 

The jury doesn’t blink.  But I can feel backs stiffening.  The change in aura is palpable.

Judge H then asks the jury two pages of questions that we had hoped to issue via a written questionnaire but couldn’t due to – no time.  She does not ask a single followup question.  I actually approach the bench and ask if she will follow up with the two people who said they had “concerns” as to whether they could be fair jurors in the case.  She declines and tells me I can.

So I do.

Have never jumped out of an airplane.  But can imagine that feeling of catapulting oneself over the edge into a zone of pure fear.  Because that is what voir dire feels like today.  There’s no dipping a toe in first to gage the temperature.  No wiggling around the edges to find a cozy place to begin.  Have to launch right into the guts of the beast.

The first juror who said she couldn’t be fair turns out to be a former attorney general so she is excused.  A no brainer.  The second juror is number 70 something.  Way in the back.  As soon as I read his bio and see him walk in the room I mark his name (on my chart) with red for danger.  Hate it when those predictions turn out true.

He is a former cop.  For something like 43 years.  Die Hard in the flesh.   He may have retired a year ago but he is on a mission.  Nothing is going to stand in his way.  So when I ask him why he raised his hand as not being able to be fair, he spends the next two minutes explaining how he knows the State is wonderful, the City is wonderful, the officers do a perfect job, the area in question has been handled as best as can be, the bridge in question was built according to standards and there is no way anyone is responsible other than the crazy idiot who threw the rock off the overpass.  Judge H then asks the defense if they have any question, they ask one – and he reiterates his platform with even more vehemence.  I ask that he be excused for cause, she asks him a question which results in him restating his platform before she gently cuts him off and excuses him.

After he leaves, a juror raises his hand to speak.  Says he used to be a deputy knows that area well.  He can totally see how someone could throw a rock off it and why it should have a protective screen.  He is trying to say more but  Judge H cuts him off.  Am grateful for him.  We move on.

It is ugly.  As ugly as I’ve seen.    Another juror says bad people do bad things, that doesn’t make the government responsible.  If they had to screen this bridge, that would mean they would need to screen all of them.   That would come out of the pockets of the taxpayers who are us.  This case is “silly.”  80 percent or more of the jurors generally agree with her.  I ask how many have a different viewpoint and 8 timidly raise their numbers.  

How do you move forward when the jurors are condemning the case before it has even started.  Once you launch you keep going.  That’s how.  With all the positive energy you can muster.

There is a nucleus of six jurors who have said they aren’t just skeptical.  They are so skeptical that they don’t think they can be fair.  We are working to help them get excused for cause.  Right at the verge and

What?  No warning and we’re taking a break at 3:30 and court is over for the day at 4:00.

Am disoriented.  Want to rush up to the judge and yell wait and stop everyone from leaving the courtroom.   But don’t of course.

After the jury leaves approach the bench with the AGs and tell the judge – need to finish challenging that group for cause.

And that’s when she scolds me.

She’s mad at me and I didn’t even know.  Focused on the jury, she’s to my back and haven’t paid her much attention for the past half hour.  Well, am paying attention now.

She is talking and I’m still disoriented.  What is she saying.  Am thinking – need to finish the challenges for cause and she’s saying it’s the state’s turn now.  Waaaaaaaah.  But your honor, I was in the middle of challenging the jurors for cause.

She says that if I was to try to challenge them now, would fall short because haven’t asked them proper questions.    I “asked for it” by having them  judge the case before they heard any facts.  It is my fault they are taking these positions.  Should have asked –  if they are given a legal instruction will they follow that despite their beliefs.   Haven’t used those words.

Head is loopy. In a nanosecond am thinking – have we been in the same courtroom.   Am I losing my mind.  Have I done this all wrong.  Is it my fault that the jurors are speaking about their strong biases, calling this case silly and saying they can’t be fair, they aren’t the right jurors for this case.   Have I wrecked the process.  Did I not lay foundation to challenge for cause.  My head clicks back on right.  No. No. No.

Should probably bite my tongue, but am fighting to seat a decent jury for our client.   Say as respectfully as can – your Honor, the tone of the jury’s discussion was set when the cop got up and made his speech at the very beginning. This all had to be addressed at that point.   She doesn’t disagree.  Instead she says – you should have cut him off.

Wow.

I suppose she’s right.  If I didn’t want to hear the bad stuff and didn’t want the jury to hear the bad stuff I should have cut him off.   But that’s the exact opposite of how I choose to do voir dire.

Ultimately she decides we will end the day after the jury comes back from break.  But I am allowed to challenge them for cause in the morning before the state begins.

And so, I march out of the courtroom.  Focused.  Determined.  Scolded but not repentant.

Ellie – the courthouse dog

 Ellie-e1397678676577-480x640

Am resting on a sandy beach somewhere nice and warm.  Every so often someone gives me a tasty little treat and a sip of ice water.  The breeze gently rustles my fur.  Seagulls caw in the background.

Ellie – time to wake up, she says.

No. No.  Am in a wonderful place.  About to take a dip in the warm water.

Ellie…

Sigh.  Open one eye and look at her.    Her blond hair is in a pixie cut.  Eyes twinkle behind hip glasses.  Today she’s wearing a tailored gray pantsuit.  Quite mod and stylish.  She’s a prosecutor.  This means she puts bad people away.  To me she looks like Tinkerbell. Her name is Paige.

Come on Ellie we need to get going…

Get up as slowly as I can.  Make sure she knows how happy I was until her interruption.  Am wearing my snappy blue vest.    She clips on a leash (not that I need one), and we head to the elevator.  Get out on the seventh floor.  Stroll down the hallway.  Meet another lawyer.  Her hair is long, dark and curly – kind of like Medusa.  She seems alright to me.

Medusa leads us into a courtroom that is not in session.  It is being used as a waiting room.  And there he is – the little boy.  He smiles at me.

While Paige walks me over, I check him out.  Excuse the cliché, but this boy is as cute as a button.  I want to lick his freckled face silly.  But know my manners.  He’s wearing a button up black shirt and a skinny tie.  His hair does that whoop de whoop thing that you can do with some sort of styling product if you’re cool.  He’s cool.

He pats the top of my head and my sides.  Nice.  I lay down and Paige shows him the way to my heart.  Rubbing my belly of course.  Oooh,  that is the best.  Even worth waking up.  Make friends with him a little longer, and Medusa says – okay time to go.

I know what this means.  Put on most adorable facial expression.  Follow the lawyers, little boy and his family members.  Walk across hall into Judge Middaugh’s courtroom.  Paige and the little boy walk up to the witness box.  I know he’s scared.  Can feel it.  The jury box is filled.  The judge and her staff are up on a pedestal.  Lots of dark suited lawyers line tables.    They all smile at us.  Do my best to look coy.

The little boy sits down.  I lay down at his feet.  Paige is perched behind us.  The judge asks the little boy if he knows what it means to tell the truth.  He does.  Medusa starts asking questions.

Little boy is anxious.  So I do my best imitation of a slug hoping it will calm him down.  Periodically Medusa asks if he’d like to pet me.  Of course he says yes (who wouldn’t).  And as the questions continue, he relaxes.  Yup there it is – he just smiled.  The questions continue, he doesn’t want to answer a few of them and doesn’t have to.  He deserves to pet my stomach, so I roll over.

Then it’s over.  But first, Paige gives the little boy a tasty treat.  Which he delicately pops into my now happy mouth.

Stroll out of there.

Back in the elevator.

Back to the prosecutor’s office.

Lie down under Paige’s desk.

Find my way back to that sandy beach.

Photo:  Ellie and Paige at the King County Courthouse in Seattle.

The angry juror: a trial diary story

squaring-off-thumb-450x321-25151 

This excerpt is from a 2012 trial.

Trial day 2

Arrive early to get everything set up for opening.  The Prolumina (tech) guy is there to run everything for Nick the defense lawyer.  He is playing with our big tv.  We are chit chatting and my computer won’t boot up. Are you kidding me.  Hard start it.  Nothing.  Not panicked at all.  Which sounds ridiculous.  Should be hyperventillating.

But it isn’t even 8:30.  No one has arrived except the two of us.  And I’ve never had a computer fail doing an opening in trial.  Which is a dumb thing to say because this could be the first time.

Prolumina guy comes and fiddles around trying to help.  Nothing.  But then everything pops up all on its own.  Sheesh. I then connect the laptop to the tv via a local network linking me to an apple tv device that wirelessly connects me to the tv.  With a little help from G my co-counsel.

Now you’re probably wondering if I am trying to get into a Zen space. Channeling energy. Reviewing a speech in my head.  Taking one last look at the 80 slides in the powerpoint. Saying prayers.   Do I have anxiety.  Am I scared, nervous, excited.

Here’s the truth.  I am serenely peaceful.  I do no further preparation.  I am in the zone where I need to be.

Am chit chatting with Michelle the clerk who says – can you believe that juror (from yesterday).

Now, I haven’t told you about her yet.  It just seemed like such bad luck to do so.  Remember, many jurors were upset they weren’t relieved of duty due to the length of the trial.   Well, after the jury was sworn in and left the courtroom, we could hear one of them shouting at Rhonda, the court staff who acts as the bailiff.

I didn’t dare ask what went down.  But Michelle now tells me that Rhonda said it was one of the worst altercations she’s ever had with a juror.  Rhonda strolls in a while later and tells me that the juror got right up in her face and it was all she could do to calm her down.

We are all going about our business.  Clerk Michelle announces a little after 9, that we are missing one juror.  Guess which one.  We are all taking bets as to whether she will show.  We all guess no.  We are wrong.  She not only shows, but she takes a seat by herself in the courtroom gallery. The better to glare at us.

As soon as Michelle sees her, she hustles her back to the jury room.

All rise.  Judge Wulle enters.  Says – that juror wants to come in and talk to you.   All of us look at each other.  We don’t want to talk to her.   I ask that she be dismissed and an alternate seated.  Nick opposes.  He wants that angry juror to stay to ruin the case.  The court states his concern that she is not only rude and attacking towards his staff, but she is bringing down the rest of the jury and making things miserable back there.  Bill the other defense lawyer says he’s fine with her leaving.  Nick has to be talked around.  He warns that if we lose more jurors then we could be in trouble due to the length of the trial.  It is a gamble we have to take.

The judge leaves to give the angry juror the news.  We wish him luck.  He marches out of the courtroom with great gusto.  Comes back in.  Tells us he informed her she was being kicked off and that she a poor example of what it means to be a citizen.  We cheer him.

She slams out of there.  The whole courtroom breathes a sigh of relief.

Time for opening.  And I let it flow.

All the way up to slide number 75.  An imbedded video clip that somehow has been corrupted.  This doesn’t really bother me at all.  Again – strange right.  Should be having a holy cow.  Have been going for an hour and a quarter.  So we take a 5 minute break which works perfectly.   Fix the problem in under a minute.

Tummy has been rumbling since didn’t eat typical delicious breakfast.  Go into foyer, pull out Cherry pop tart and have at it.

Break ends.  Finish opening.

Photo:  My law partner Keith Kessler and I pretend-angrily squaring off before a boat race at a WSTLA (now WSAJ) convention – the year before I joined the firm.

 

Tips for attorneys: direct exam of a daughter

DSCN1053-thumb-450x337-24723

This is a trial diary excerpt from 2011:

Four more witnesses testify – but only want to talk about one of them.  The 38 year old daughter.

How do you turn a witness into someone a jury will connect with.  Well, for starters you stop believing  you have magical persuasive powers.  Presenting a family member means getting out of the way so they can show their love.  It means creating a safe place.  It means embracing the human condition.  Not in a data collecting, data spouting lawyerly way.

Experiencing Michelle’s testimony is like being tossed about in an emotional cyclone.  She starts off friendly and awkward.  But in a few minutes we are swept along.  It is charming, gut wrenching, sweet, horrible.

Michelle has a scrunched up pile of Kleenex that she smooshes into her eyes.  She doesn’t dab at them.  She smooshes hard.  Keeps her hand pressed there and continues talking without apology.  She isn’t crying for empathy.  She is simply crying.

I would like to cry with her.  Cannot and will not.   Eyes well up.  Stay filled to the brim.  And do not leak out.

Some of the best speeches I’ve ever heard have been at funerals.   Think about the ones you’ve attended.   People from all walks of life stand to speak and out flows prose that touches us to the core.  Rarely are the good ones written down.  The bereft simply speak unhesitatingly from the heart.

This is what Michelle does.

When she is done I feel weak.  Like Whoopi Goldberg after Patrick Swayze’s ghost inhabited her body.  Like JZ Knight after she channeled Ramtha.   You get the idea.  The best way to put on a family member isn’t by carefully crafted questions.  It involves simply being the vessel.

Photo:  Jataun, my god daughter.

 

 

The joys of trying a case…at the last moment: a trial diary story

nic-thumb-450x337-24406

This morning am in a bright red ruffled shirt with the obligatory black.  Here is my confession.  Want to wear an old favorite pair of heeled Franco Sarto boots.  They will look great with the outfit.  There is just one catch.  You see, they have been up on the back top shelf patiently waiting for me to take them to the repair shop.  For over a year.  The toes are a bit pointed and the soles have partially rubbed off at the tips.  Looking up at them as they hang over the shelf, you can see the white rubbed away part.  No holes.  Not quite.  But still a bit shoddy.  Yet they would be perfect.  So (and this is the confession part), pull down the boots.  Pull out a black magic marker.  Scribble all the white away.  And presto.  The outfit is now complete.

Judge D has forewarned us she has a criminal matter that will take a little while in the morning.  We cool our jets until 10:30.  Then the court needs to take a break.  Which means we start day 2 at 10:50 a.m.  Which means we finish the last round of voir dire.  Choose the jury.  Then it is time for lunch.

According to our completely useless trial flow chart we should have already put on three witnesses.

Do not yell, roll eyes, pull hair, or cry.  Gather black bags and hole up in hallway cubicle. Eat bland lunch and put the finishing touches on the opening.

Steve invited me into the case a month ago.  Before ramping up, first waited to see if it would settle.  When it didn’t, there was still two weeks to get it all ready.

How can this be.  Right?  We have cases, like the last one tried, where we spent 3.5 years getting ready for it.  How can we ever do a good job coming into a case on basically the eve of trial.

My favorite program on Netflix is Drop Dead Diva.  There isn’t enough time in this diary to explain this show to you.  But blog entry http://www.karenkoehlerblog.com/2013/02/drop-dead-diva-rules/ gives you an idea.

Here’s what I like about Drop Dead Diva.  You get the client in the morning.  And by afternoon you are trying the case.  How cool is that.

No focus groups.  No written discovery. No depositions.  Just bang – you are in trial.

There is a lesson to be learned here.  Even though a case can take years to investigate, prepare for and build up; it doesn’t take years to try.

Steve has done all the prep work.  He could try this case by himself.  But there is a synergy that comes with having two very different lawyers.  We share the load.  The stress decreases exponentially.  He knows all the details.  I see big picture and first impressions.  We have a broader perspective.

Plus this all really bugs Jodi.  Yesterday she asked Steve if he would change seats with me (I’m sitting right next to her).  Apparently she doesn’t like my whispers.  Today I mispronounce her name at least twice.  She finally gets irritated enough to correct me on the record.  I’ll probably forget it again by tomorrow.

But I’ve digressed… In fact, I was going to tell you my trial tip.  About staying in the moment, preparing for the moment, and not obsessing about tomorrow.

Back to the story.

We do our openings.  I finished the PPT on Sunday.  After all these delays, use version #5.  Version #1 would probably have been just fine.  But give a lawyer more time and we’ll keep fussing with it until the very end.

Jodi or is it Joni…  Well, she does opening the same way she does voir dire.  Monotone.  Halting voice.  No visuals.  No particular theme or train of thought.  It’s just another recycled version of the – she isn’t really injured storyline.

Her unimpressive performance doesn’t give us confidence.  Just because Allstate is being sued directly doesn’t mean the jury is any less jaded about people who are injured in car crash cases.  They believe insurance companies need to only pay worthy claims and that people try to milk the system.

We have some challenges on this case.  And Jodi spells them all out.  Including that P had back surgery on the adjacent level of her spine, just four months before this crash.

We put on the police officer.  Just in case the jury doesn’t believe the crash actually happened.  A coworker.  Just in case the jury doesn’t believe P actually was working at the time and was unable to return to her former position. Then Dr. G the chiropractor.  Except Dr. G is really Nic Bacetich (trial lawyer from Everett).  You see, Dr. G wanted us to pay him $900 per hour to travel, wait and testify.  And by gosh, we just couldn’t quite stomach that.  So Steve deposed him.  And Nic is playing him.  Let me just say this – Nic is one of the best chiros have ever seen testify.  Has a great voice and aura.  Have to squint at him from time to time because it doesn’t even sound like he is reading a script.  It all flows so naturally.  Steve is displaying the exhibits via his ipad which he has wirelessly hooked up to an apple tv device which is hooked to my projector.   It is all really quite lovely.

Despite the monotone, Jodi does a darned good cross.

The day ends with the ex husband.  He’s bought a new jacket to testify in.  He wanders a lot.  But is charming and so very earnest.  Jodi objects half a dozen times.  Which comes across as quite petty.   The best is when she objects to his answer that she asks during cross.  Uh, you can’t object to your own question.  She struggles a bit before figuring this out.  Then moves to strike the answer.  Which is granted.

Photo:  Nic reading the part of the chiro during the trial.  Taken by me.

The day after…a crappy jury verdict

rainbow-thumb-500x500-24093

The day after.

Oprah talks about the power that our bad secrets hold over us.  The amount of time and energy we spend keeping them hidden.  The worrying that others will find out.  The feelings of unworthiness that fester from trying to suppress our embarrassments.

For trial lawyers, the bad secrets are the crappy verdicts that juries render.  Our culture is dedicated to trumpeting big wins but rarely mentioning the small ones.  In hushed tones, we talk of losses that we hear about through the grapevine.  We rarely say anything directly to the attorneys who drop out of sight to nurse the pain.

This month our state bar ran a story that I wrote 8 years ago on humility.    What a coincidence.

Here is what happens after getting yesterday’s crappy verdict.

  • Console client.  Nothing else matters until that is done.
  • Avoid everyone in the office as much as possible.  But can’t really.
  • Make a pretense of working.  Don’t get anything done.
  • Send immediate notice of verdict to everyone at office and on trial diary list – because have made vow to always be all the way real.
  • Wish didn’t have to broadcast verdict.
  • Bet law partners wished I didn’t broadcast the verdict.
  • Think of four or five prominent trial lawyers who have gotten defensed recently.
  • And of how quiet they are.
  • Think about all the lawyers who ask me to work on their client’s cases – even though they know I don’t always win
  • Think about how Steve N brought me in to settle or try a case that resolved last month for a very large but secret sum.
  • Think about the case tried 2 months ago with Steve H that Allstate is whining about.  They need to hurry up and pay that verdict and our fees.
  • Wish this case had turned out as great as those cases.
  • Think about what a crappy company Allstate is and how that complicated this trial
  • Second guess whether should have followed Brad’s advice.  Taken a covenant and  tried liability later against Allstate who claimed the acts were intentional and not covered.
  • Eeny meeny miny moe.  Should have taken his advice or not or should have or not…
  • Mentally bang head against wall
  • Begin to receive slew of condolence emails and inspirational emails.
  • Don’t answer any of them.  Yet.
  • Read most important email from most important mentor:  Karen, I am proud of you because you tried the case.  You learn and get better with each trial and, most importantly, the defense knows that you will try the case.  That fact raises the value of all of your settlements (probably doubles) for all of your other clients.  Tom (Chambers)
  • Read email from Janice Kim instructing me to go watch a movie as soon as possible
  • Email back and forth with Rick Friedman about trying hard cases
  • Put Nala’s leash on and leave office at lunch time with no intention of returning.
  • Get in car and don’t get lunch.
  • Noelle sends me number to call.  Call it.  She is at the Rome airport.   Gives a progress update.  On her way to study abroad in Sienna.  Love you, Bye.
  • Drop Nala off at home.
  • Drive to Salvation Army thrift store.  Look at all the bits and pieces of old stuff.  Find a pretty antique silver tray.
  • Drive across the street to Pacific Galleries.  Very large antique store.  Look at all the bits and pieces and don’t buy anything.
  • Drive to Home Depot and get some more pink annuals for the deck pot.  While at Home Depot Cristina calls.
    • How are you doing
    • Am pissed off.
    • Are you okay
    • Am not upset.  Am pissed.
    • That’s the same thing.
    • No.  Am angry at that jury.  They were wrong this time.
    • Are you at a thrift store
    • Hahaha.   How do you know I did that.
    • You always do.
    • Really
    • Yeah.
    • Why do you think that is
    • You want to be around poor things.
    • Hahaha.
  • Total cost of retail therapy $24.67
  • Drive home.  Alysha is in the kitchen.  She gives me a very nice big hug.  Needed that.
  • Take Nala out again.
  • Hook iphone up to speakers on deck.  Pandora set to Aretha Franklin.
  • Dig in flower pots and transfer the plants.
  • Look at emails on iphone.  Still pouring in.  Frank Schoichet says he has 4 rules of cases not to take against police officers.  Rule #1 – no alcohol.  Now he tells me.  Click off phone.
  • Can’t click off brain.
  • It is Thursday which means Queen Ann Farmers Market.  Get bag and drive up the street.  Park.  Buy kale, carrots, snap peas, strawberries and raspberries.  Go to falafel stand.  Take home dinner.
  • Back in kitchen, read the rest of sappy Danielle Steele novel on kindle while eating falafel.
  • Sweep front porch area and pick up the few leaves that have dared to drop there since yesterday
  • Feel slight guilt for not being at office.
  • It is now 5 so would have left anyway yet still feel guilt.
  • Throw on running gear and out the door with Nala.
  • Run up the hill and wind through the neighborhood.
  • Agitation is not helping the run much today.  Feel like weights are tied to ankles.
  • This is what goes through mind
    • Despite all the sweet emails from lawyer friends saying this is a good result- know for a fact – it is not.
    • Allstate offered $20K to settle.  We barely bettered it.   That doesn’t make it a win
    • Under-estimated the impact of alcohol
    • The jury was too old
    • They were heading towards a defense verdict.  Felt it on Tuesday and have no doubt
    • If that sudden emergency instruction had been given, for sure it would have been a defense verdict
    • There’s nothing to appeal
    • Hope client is feeling better
    • This sucks
    • Wonder who the presiding juror was
    • At least it only took 2.5 days.  Not 2.5 weeks.
  • Home by 7:30.
  • Look at Fandango – movie is playing at 7:50
  • Hit the shower and leave house at 7:47.  There are 20 minutes of previews anyway.
  • Go down usual route and come to stop.  Traffic backed up due to graduation ceremonies.
  • Make it to movie theater by 8:05.    Was aiming for 8:00
  • Get popcorn and diet coke.
  • Previews are still going.
  • Watch Fast & Furious.  Janet’s right.  Action movie is the way to go
  • Come home.  Still stewing but not as much
  • Do load of laundry.
  • Take Nala out.
  • Turn on schmaltzy Pandora channel – I will always love you (Whitney Houston).
  • Write this trial diary entry.
  • And call it a day.

Photo:  Rainbow seen from my bedroom window

How Allstate made the jurors wait to start…for over 6 hours: a trial diary story

courthouse-thumb-450x600-24006

Trial day 1

 

Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet.  On the little rug in front of the sink.   I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf.  It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday.  Haven’t changed it yet.  The mental math keeps me sharp.  Or so I tell myself.

On goes the regulation black.   Black jacket.  Black tights.  Black boots.  Black skirt  with little ruffles.  The only color is a non-color on the shirt.  Flesh toned I guess, in a shade several tones lighter than I.  With rouching  and gathering to soften the severity.  Of my black hair.

I leave my rings on the little metal hand stand next to the orchid on the counter.   There are only two of them.  One is a pretty piece of jade from an antique shop on Royale Street in New Orleans.  The other is my best friend pinky ring.  Shellie and I have matching ones.  We do pinkie finger shakes wearing those rings.  I always wear them.  But not for this trial.  Because my right hand is covered with a big band aid.  The story involves  E.J. my six year old nephew and Nala, but that can be told another day.

After dropping Nala off at doggie day care, get on the freeway.  Head to Everett.  This will take 45 minutes.  Plenty of time to practice opening.  Or conceptualize voir dire.  Maybe review testimony of the first witness.  After all, Steve Hay asked me to try this UIM case not quite a month ago.

It is raining.  Gray.  Too quiet in the car to listen to these thoughts.  So turn on The Appeal by John Grisham.  The narrator is real good.  Am transported to Mississippi.

Park.  Ride up the elevator.  Walk a few steps across the courtyard to the entrance.  There are no security lines around the ugly courthouse.  Sorry if you’re from Everett.  But that courthouse is about the ugliest thing have ever seen.

Make it to presiding and the court has just read our name.  Don’t care, because Steve (Hay) is covering this.   He waves at me.   We get assigned out within five minutes.   I get up before I even sit down and we head up to the fifth floor dept. 12.

Now there is a reason why I’ve just spent so long telling you about trial day 1.  When we aren’t even in the courtroom yet.  You’ll see soon.

We get there and our judge is Marybeth Dingledy.  (pronounced Deengel ‘ die) What a fantastic name.   She is very direct, prompt, makes sound rulings on the motions in limine, has a twinkle in her eye.  That’s all good.

So what is the problem.

Well, the Allstate attorney Jodi says that she won’t agree to simply calling a panel of 29 prospective jurors.  She’s worried there could be bias against Allstate, so she wants 35.  Problem is there are only 29.  We need to wait to see if any jurors are going to be released from the other voir dire panels around the ugly courthouse.

So we wait.

And wait.

Each lunch.

Come back and wait.

And wait.

Until finally at 2:30 pm Jodi cries uncle and agrees to go with whatever number there is.

Which turns out to be 31.

And then we wait for them to be brought up.

And for the judge to swear them in and do preliminary instruction and voir dire.

Which means that by the time I start voir dire – it is ten minutes until 4:00 p.m.

Can you imagine how upset those jurors must be.  I see a lot of lips turned down Mr. and Ms. grumpy pants.  And don’t blame that all.  29 of 31 have been sitting in the jury room all day long.  Waiting on us.

Oh, this is going to not go well at all.

I put on a smile and start in.

Have you ever been to a comedy show  where the audience doesn’t laugh.  Or at a music concert  where instead of people loudly clapping for an encore, they just leave.  Or at a legal education seminar where people are reading the news on their computers and texting on their phones.

Well, that’s what it feels like when you start voir dire at 4:00 in the afternoon of a jury that’s been waiting for six and a half hours to start.

In the words of Winston Churchill which I keep quoting to my children.  “Never. Never. Never give up.”  So smile.  Push forward.  And complete the first 20 minute round of voir dire.  By the end these folks are loosening up.  Talking and shaking their heads yes and no.  Sometimes smiling.  They are getting into it.

Then Jody stands up.   And starts to give a closing argument in the guise of voir dire.  Which is not really even in a guise at all.  She asks a series of questions which requires everyone to nod yes.  She doesn’t have them say or explain anything.  She just wants them to agree with her.   Does this ever really work.  This technique of pseudo-brainwashing.  Well, maybe.  But not today.

Do you agree Allstate should  investigate and look at all the facts and circumstances before they pay a claim.  Yes they nod.

They may not be getting anything out of this.  But she is.  Her voice is getting stronger.  She’s  becoming impassioned.  Says:  Allstate has a right to look into the…

And at that point, I interrupt and lob an objection.  Sweetly.  Which the court overrules.  Graciously.

Rick Friedman would be sighing and telling me Karen Karen Karen.  What have I told you about objecting so much.

Am unrepentant.  It needed to be done.

Jody is thrown off.  Actually she probably comes out of her trance and realizes, the jury is just about totally asleep.   It is now 4:20.  She’s gone 10 minutes.  She calls a sidebar and offers to end her round of voir dire early.    Says the jury is flat.  Well, no duh they’re flat.  I’m about asleep myself.

So we end the day.

Photo:  This beautiful courthouse is the Grays Harbor Superior Court building.  The Snohomish County Courthouse is the opposite of beautiful.

Trial Cross of a defense neurosurgeon: using paper cups, water and a raincoat

Bluetrans-thumb-500x191-23494

Prologue: Plaintiff had back surgery.  She had returned to work only just the past week, when she was hit hard by a bad driver.  Ultimately she needed a second surgery due to the crash.  The bad driver admitted fault and her company paid.  But she didn’t have enough insurance.  So our client, Ms. P made a claim under her Underinsured Motorist Policy.  Which is what you are supposed to do.  Allstate, her insurance company, required her to sue them as that is what the UIM policy says has to happen.  Ms. P sued Allstate.  Then went thru Mandatory Arbitration.  But Allstate didn’t like the verdict so they appealed it and forced a jury trial.  Their main witness was Dr. Blue, a retired neurosurgeon.  During the direct exam, he tells the jury that Ms. P’s additional problems after the crash, are related to her pre-existing conditions that had been mildly strained.  He says her second surgery wasn’t related to the crash.

This is my trial diary excerpt from March 2013.

As direct winds down, I’m thinking wow.  He’s really good.  And then it is time for cross.

Us lawyers spend a lot of time preparing for cross, thinking about cross,  going to classes to learn about cross, and basically obsessing about cross and scaring ourselves to death over the prospect.  But here is the truth.  There is no one perfect way to do cross that works on all expert witnesses.  There is no magic bullet that will work every time.  Did I read his report in advance – yes.  Did I read a few depositions he had given before yes (thanks Ben Wells).  Did I make some notes – yes.  Do I know the chapter approach – yes.  Do I know the rules approach – yes.  Have I gone to reptile – yes.

But in truth, I do not know what I’m going to do in cross until Jodi sits down and it is my turn.  Being able to be in the moment.  Not focusing on obscure minutiae.   Being able to figure out how the message can be conveyed to the jury as quickly and powerfully as possible.  This is what is needed in cross.  At least for me.

So I sit there as Jodi [defense lawyer] returns to her seat and this is what am thinking.

WWDDDD.  What Would Drop Dead Diva Do.  (See the prior blog).   This is no joke.  This is very serious.   Love the way she sashays up to the witness and comes up with a spur of the moment perfect cross that wins the entire case.  Because it is just so perfect.   Just takes her a few questions.  Never involves going back and rehashing everything on her terms.  Never boring.  And you are always cheering when she’s done.

I don’t want Dr. B to talk any longer than absolutely essential.  He is too good.  Want him gone.

So instead of talking about the almost million dollars he’s made in the past three years working 15 to 20 hours a week almost entirely for insurance companies, I start off with something completely different.  (Though we do talk about the big bucks a bit later).  I start where Jodi leaves off – destroying our causation.

I need a demonstrative aid.  Have been looking around courtroom.  Thinking through the tissue box and am pretty sure that is where am going to go.  And then something better strikes me.  Literally as am walking up to the bar.

Turn around.  Get my rain coat off chair.  Get three empty paper cups from our table.  Fill one cup with water.  Spread coat on top of the bar below the witness.  Place the cups on them.  And say hello.

Without being mean to him, lighting into him, or picking at him, this is how we begin.

Pour a little water into one cup and hold it up.

Dr. this cup is a vertebrae and I’ve filled it with fluid.  He corrects me because I meant to say it was a disc.  Oh silly me you are right (as usual).  Yes, this is a disc filled with fluid.  Now let’s assume this is a perfect disc of a young person under the age of 35 who has no degenerative disc disease.  If I subject this disc to trauma…and here I try to rip it.  But it is a tough little sucker and I can’t.

Nick the clerk hands me scissors.  I make a teeny cut, hold it up again.  And rip it all the way to the bottom.  The water drops onto my coat.

So in this case, is it fair to say that the sole cause of the disc tearing is the trauma I just caused.

Dr. B says yes.  Inside he’s thinking, is she just playing dumb or is she…

I hold up the second cup and pour in some water.  Make a cut at the top with Nick’s scissors.

Now, Dr. this time the disc is that of a person like you or I.  Over the age of 35 with degenerative disc disease (ddd – hey same initials as DDD – no wonder this is going to work!).  Do you follow me and he says yes.

I rip the cup to the bottom and the water falls onto my coat.

Am I correct that even though the disc was already torn a little bit from ddd, it could still be injured further if subjected to trauma.  He agrees.

I hold up the third and final cup.  Make a cut at the top.

Now Dr.  again this is a disc with DDD.  I then rip the cup most but not quite all of the way.  The water does not fall out.

If a person has ddd that has led to a preexisting partial tear that isn’t causing the fluid to leak out, but a few months or in this case six months later, the tear finally gives way…and then I rip the cup the rest of the way and the water splashes to join the rest of the lake on my coat.  Does that mean that the trauma had nothing to do with causing that big tear.

He doesn’t quite get it so I have to do it again, a little better this time.

He has to agree with what I’m saying.    Because after all, the proof is on the torn up cups and my poor coat.

I finish with cross.  We take a break.  And Jodi spends the time with him figuring out how to poo poo all this.

When the jury comes back, the redirect is well rehearsed.  Jody and Dr. J do a fine mockery of my little misguided attempt at an exhibition.  Confident they have shamed me to pieces.  Yet, on recross, instead of shying away from it.  Well, I think WWDDDD.  Pick up my sodden coat.   Sashay back up there.  Plop it back on the bar.  Redo cup number three all over again.  And again, he has to agree.

There are a few more things that happen.  Text Cristina who has come to watch:  Did that work.  She texts back:  I think so. You probably saved the whole case there.

Here is the transcript of Dr. Blue’s cross, redirect and recross, along with my little comments:

JamesBlueMDtrialcross.pdf

Say hi to my daughter: the tale of a grumpy Allstate lawyer

snoco-thumb-500x499-23102

This is an excerpt from my trial diary day 3.  In most car crash cases, the jury is never told about insurance.  This old rule makes no sense in our current world.  This case is brought against Allstate for failure to pay an underinsured motorist claim (UIM).  The person who hit M did not have enough insurance. They paid what they had.  Now M seeks to recover the balance from her own UIM coverage.  Allstate has a “sue us” clause in their policy.  This means, if they don’t agree to pay the UIM claim, they force their own insureds to file a lawsuit.  This is what happens here.

I tell Judge D that we need the Allstate adjuster to go on before the neurosurgeon they’ve hired, James Blue.  Plus he’s retired anyway so what’s the big hurry. Jodi (the Allstate lawyer) protests but up goes Tracey Smith (the adjuster) and boy is she unhappy.  Jodi objects to every single question asked.   Except what is your name.  Tracey is Miss Smarty Pants one moment and clueless the next.  At one point, ask her how many UIM claims she handles at any one time.  She smirks back: “one.”  Sweetly lob it back, well then within a single year.  To which she replies 200.

We break in the middle of this scintillating testimony for lunch.   Cristina has come to visit (and bring me a cookie).  We are back in court waiting for the judge and Cristina takes a picture of me to post on her instagram.  We are teasing each other about this.  I turn to Jodi and introduce her sweetly to Cristina.  In response Jodi actually cuts her eyes at and barks at my girl.  Says don’t take any picture of me.  Cristina reassures her that she only took a picture of me because of my cute red jacket.   Jodi swivels away.  Snap just like that.  Which frankly is unprecedented.  Even in the heat of battle, every single defense attorney I can ever remember introducing to my kids, has always been gracious to them.

Jury files in.  Complete my apparent torture of Tracey Smith.  Watch with a Mona Lisa smile.  As she spits and scratches.  All twisted up on my delicate hook.

Photo:  Cristina’s instagram post which clearly does not have Jodi in it.


Check out a recent interview by Super Lawyers about my blog. Yes, I'm a lawyer. But I'm also a human being. I have a doggie named Nala, three daughters, eat brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts for breakfast, and wear jeans as often as possible when not in court.
Favorite Quotations

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
— Nelson Mandela


Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've to say, and say it hot.
— D. H. Lawrence


Why slap them on the wrist with a feather when you can belt them over the head with a sledgehammer.
— Katharine Hepburn


Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.
— Langston Hughes


There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.
— Jane Austen


Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. — Edgar Allan Poe


If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn't you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing! — Margaret Thatcher


Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
— Dr. Suess


Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
— Abraham Lincoln


If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. — Desmond Tutu


True eloquence consists in saying all that is required and only what is required. — La Rochefoucauld


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop


The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free. — Oprah Winfrey


If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. — Woody Allen


The soul never thinks without a picture. — Aristotle


To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. — William Shakespeare


Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. — Muhammad Ali


Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. — Stephen Hawking


It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. — Apache proverb


People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost. — Dalai Lama


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
— Anne Frank


Learn to laugh; it is a discipline to be mastered. Let go of the everlasting burden of always needing to sound profound. — Richard J. Foster


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. — Albert Einstein


Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain. — Helen Keller


Remember that lost time does not return. — Thomas á Kempis


If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small. — Proverbs 24:10


Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. — Gertrude Stein


It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom. — Albert Einstein


The right of trial by jury shall be preserved. — 7th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution


I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. — Ludacris


And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
— Erica Jong


Words are chameleons, which reflect the color of their environment. — Judge Learned Hand


You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefullness, But still, like air, I'll rise. — Maya Angelou


The moment that justice must be paid for by the victim of injustice it becomes itself injustice. — Benjamin Tucker


He who keeps his eye on results cannot give himself wholeheartedly to his task, however simple or complex that task may be. — Howard Thurman


An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. — Mahatma Ghandi


Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr


The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. — Flannery O'Connor


We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. — Jimmy Carter


To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. — Simone Weil


It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world. — Alexander Solzhenitsyn


It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service. — Albert Einstein


The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. — Elie Wiesel


I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. — Bill Cosby


The time is always right to do what is right. — Martin Luther King Jr.


I had rather attempt something great and fail, than to attempt nothing at all and succeed. — Robert Schuller


It is very easy to break down something. You can take a stone and throw it through that window; that is easy. Try fixing it, and that takes longer. It takes longer to help someone who has been broken. That’s the work you’re doing. — Desmond Tutu


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. — Annie Dillard


Mine honor is my life; both grow in one; Take honor from me, and my life is done. — William Shakespeare


To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing – straighten yourself. — Buddha


A thought is an idea in transit. — Pythagoras


Fall seven times, stand up eight. — Old Japanese proverb


No generalization is wholly true, not even this one. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


Of what use is eloquence? He who engages in fluency of words to control men often finds himself hated by them. — Confucius


There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. — Martha Graham