WSAJ Convention day 1


I fly with my eldest daughter, Cristina, into Redmond OR. I do this not only because I have been dreading the seven hour drive, but because I was scheduled to start a trial in Idaho on Tuesday. Trial settled a few days ago but lucky us, the airplane company doesn't believe in refunds.

We drive up to our condo which Cristina dubs - The Tree House. It looks like Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother's shingled cottage but not in a particularly good way. The carpet is grayish green. The furnishings and linens are immaculate but circa 1970s. The most fascinating room is the bathroom. The green glowing walls are graced with a wall paper border of scampering chipmunks and bunnies. The shower stall is paneled in wood. Cristina says - is this a joke - and she jumps in to show me that the shower head is situated just below her chin.

We hustle out the door. It is 85 degrees. She heads off to the pool first dropping me at "The Homestead" which is our meeting place. The only reason I am going into a windowless lodge at 2:15 pm, is because David Wenner is speaking. If he was in a Disney cartoon, pearls and precious gemstones would be floating out of his mouth. He (along with Greg Cusimano) developed AAJ's jury bias model. I'm a confessed groupie and belong to their AAJ jury bias litigation group. I pay homage for a few hours. I wish someone could invent a convention room where we could be on treadmills or ellipticals or bikes, or on yoga mats. I really have a hard time sitting still even when someone great is speaking.

It is late afternoon and I go for a run. The bike/running trails are quite wonderous. It is very hot, but thanks to the shade from 100 foot Ponderosa Pines, it is quite bearable. My goal is to get back at 6 so that we can hustle to the President's reception. But as I run around, I stop paying attention and after awhile find that I am way off track. 2 chipmunks and a doe later, I'm back at the cottage. Cristina and I are ready in 10 minutes (nothing fancy thank goodness) and it is off to the reception.

Around the backside of the pretty lodge, out on the lawn, there are hundreds of attorneys and guests milling around. I greet Clare and our lovely WSAJ staff and say (jokingly) is there still food? To which they say (not jokingly back) um... no. What?! We are only after all an hour late. That's fashionable right? As we make our way back to where the food may or may not be we quiz our friends along the way. Did you get food? Is there still any? It takes 20 minutes to wind our way through the crowd and our hopes are dim so we're in no rush anyway. Finally we spy the tables. They are, well, they are pretty much empty except for the place where they still have a spit of meat they are cutting chunks out of which is not too appetizing for a vegetarian. So... we go back to chit chatting as we slowly wind our way back on out, into our car, and onwards to find some vittles.

Eventually the mission is accomplished and we return to our cottage. I go to look at tomorrow's schedule and realize, it's the awards luncheon. I am to present the Trial Lawyer of the Year award. Gerhard told me I have three minutes. I look through some records and lay out a few thoughts. I'm a very bad speech writer. When I was president, Gerhard used to sweat because he never knew what I would say. I need to "feel" what I'm saying. He would give me a nice little script. And I'd thank him and then say something completely different. Bet you're wondering who's going to get the award eh?