Pamela Buchmeyer 2018-02-27 19:12:03
▶ THINK YOU’RE FUNNY TOO? PROVE IT! Send your humorous articles of 600 words to email@example.com. Send deposition and trial excerpts to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Judge’s Daughter: Beware the Idiocy of March! Beware the ides of March! That’s a fun thing to say on March 15 but what exactly does it mean? The ides of March was an important Roman holiday, Idus Martiae, when several religious events coincided, including end of the year rites. This was the day when all debts were to be settled—all IOUs collected. Thus, the ides of March had special significance in 44 B.C. when a group of Roman senators colluded to murder Julius Caesar. My father, the late Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, used to joke: “People are losing the true spirit of the ides of March!” I’d play along and ask why. “Because it’s not just about stabbing—it’s about stabbing in groups. It’s about engaging in a massive criminal conspiracy.” In Shakespeare’s play, a soothsayer warned Julius Caesar to “beware the ides of March.” But what should we beware of today? I confess I’m quite leery of my neighbor’s ides of March cupcakes, red sprinkles on white icing, decorated with miniature daggers. And I’m very concerned about the tickets my spouse purchased to see an ABBA tribute band. But frankly, I’m terrified that one of our national political figures might publish a book of poetry or release a pop single. In my world, beware the Idiocy of March might be a better slogan. This month’s column is full of things that lawyers and law support staff should watch out for: practical jokes, guilty clients, embarrassing typos, and over-anxious litigants. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Many thanks to all the folks who’ve been sending me their favorite legal bloopers and blunders. Please continue! You can reach me at email@example.com. JUDGE JERRY L. BUCHMEYER (1933-2009) grew up in Overton and served as a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas after being nominated in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. His monthly legal humor column ran in the Texas Bar Journal from 1980 to 2008. Dad’s Old Army Buddy My father’s old Army buddy called my law office when I was fresh out of law school and working for a big downtown firm. This was the man who’d starred in so many of dad’s wild tales. I was using a married name at the time, so the old Army buddy had no idea what lay ahead—a perfectly marvelous practical joke. Dad’s old Army buddy was a solo practitioner of considerable experience. He left a message, and as soon as I saw his name on the pink message slip (remember those?), I knew Dad would concoct a plan. The old Army buddy represented a senior lady who’d been involved in a car accident. The other driver worked for my client, a huge construction company, and had been driving a company vehicle at the time. I returned the call. Army Buddy: My client is retired, and I give you my word that her medical bills are 100 percent legitimate. Young Atty Pam: You give me your word? Army Buddy: Look, I know you young lawyers at the big firms are likely to drag out these cases, waste everybody’s time, and run up fees. Young Atty Pam (thinking of my father): I’ve heard that opinion before. Army Buddy: But we can settle this case today for her legitimate expenses of $3,000 and $500 for my fees— Young Atty Pam (whew, sigh of relief, he’d named a settlement figure well within my pre-approved limit): Army Buddy: —but I know you’ll never accept that deal. It’s not the way you downtown lawyers are willing to do things— Young Atty Pam: OK, it’s a deal. I accept your offer, and I’ll draw up the settlement document. Army Buddy: You will? Really? Just like that. Well I’ll be darned. Young Atty Pam: You gave me your word and that means a lot, sir, because I happen to know a thing or two about your personal reputation. Army Buddy: You do what? Young Atty Pam: I know for instance that during your Army days at Fort Chaffee you went AWOL, 52 nights in a row. You rolled up your mattress and hid it, so you could go home to your wife. You got away with it because the night commander didn’t count heads—he only looked for empty blankets. Army Buddy: What the hell! Young Atty Pam: And I also know that you worked in Army payroll and you made sure that the same night commander was consistently overpaid. Then on your last day of service, you confessed the error and that poor night commander was forced to go the next two pay periods without a single paycheck. It was a fiendish plan, sir. Army Buddy (long silence): Young lady, who the hell are you? Young Atty Pam: Me? I’m the daughter of Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, your old Army buddy, and he’s at this phone number right now waiting for your call. Quips & Quotes: Guilty! “Things in law tend to be black and white. But we all know that some people are a little guilty, while other people are guilty as hell.” —Donald R. Cressey, criminologist, co-author of Principles of Criminology, a leading textbook for over 30 years “I get paid for seeing that my clients have every break the law allows. I have knowingly defended a number of guilty men. But the guilty never escape unscathed. My fees are sufficient punishment for anyone.” —F. Lee Bailey, noted American trial lawyer (emphasis added) Typographical Arrows (Errors) Spell-check will not save you! Typos have a way of humbling even the most vainglorious lawyer. Here are some marvelous typographical arrows (errors) that my father collected. Number one was his all-time favorite. 1) Collateral estoppel promotes judicial calamity by…. (economy). (Ain’t that the truth?) 2) …agrees to indemnify and hold armless…. (harmless). (Yikes!) 3) In wetness whereof, the parties hereto… (witness). (Time for a drink.) 4) Defendant asserts waiver as an offensive defense…. (affirmative). (It most certainly is.) 5) Lessee shall not lease or bury trash… (leave). (Who wants to rent trash?) 6) A plan of nolo contendere… (plea). (Not a best-laid plan.) 7) Headings shall not be used to interrupt or construe these provisions… (interpret). (Don’t interrupt me, I’m interpreting the law.) My Attorney Is Fried Bernard L. Hebinck, of Houston, recalls his late law partner Jack O. “Jacko” Hargrove, a criminal law attorney who had a most anxious client. The man called daily—more than daily, in fact. He telephoned morning, noon, and night. So, Jacko encouraged his client to use the Postal Service instead. This handwritten letter was the result: Dear Sir, …this is to inform you that you hand been fried. Jacko felt that he had complied with his client’s requests. But as the court later said when it refused to release him from the case, “Beware, some clients are never happy with their lawyers, primarily because they’re never happy with the situation in which they’ve found themselves.” PAMELA BUCHMEYER is an attorney and award-winning writer who lives in Dallas and Jupiter, Florida. Her work-in-progress is a humorous murder mystery, The Judge’s Daughter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Humor/3022013/478627/article.html.