Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lawyering: A Well-Rounded Education

Quite often for class, we go down to the court house. This is a very handy field trip not only because the courts centre is a couple blocks from school, but because all we really have to do is mill around and go to court proceedings that are open to the public.

Sometimes, this can be more interesting than others. Dockets, for example, are not much fun at all. Criminal charges beign dropped for the mere fact the accused did not recieve his phone call fast enough; always interesting, if not disheartening. This Tuesday's field trip however takes the cake.

We were sitting in the courtroom waiting for the judge to return. There were two prosecutors and two defense lawyers negotiating and scheduling trials and sentence requests from the counsel desks. Because we are in a courtroom and everything is miked, everyone can hear what they are saying.

It was actually very interesting, and very educational to listen to them discuss and come to agreements. You know how lawyers are on TV? Well, they're not really like that. They're friendlier, and while they haggle over how long one accused needs to spend in prison and whether or not another's trial date can be postponed, they were quite agreeable. Then they got down to the real issue.

While checking their schedules and seeing when they can set aside a time to discuss these matters in detail, one defense attorney declares that evening will not work because she wants to watch Glee. The crown scoffs at this and replies:

"Glee? I don't like that show. I prefer Gossip Girl."

They then launch into a heated discussion of which is better and why; haggling in the same manner that they did over their cases. When another defense lawyer jumps in with the claim that he doesn't like "that Glee show" either and Gossip Girl is much better in his opinion, his fellow defense attorney questions his taste in song. Seriously; she sang. This continues until the Clerk of the Court shouts "All rise!" and the judge re-enters the room. The clerk informs everyone present that what is being said will now be recorded, and I try not to laugh as I envision what would have happened if the judge got to look over the previous conversation in transcripts.

I learn the most interesting things at the court house. Who knew lawyers could be so multi-faceted?

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