Thursday, August 7, 2014

Why Are We Such D&*KS Sometimes?


There was an interesting article in the NYT the other day on why communication on social media is so frequently fraught with hatred, venom, insult, and insanely negative energy.
Trying to discuss an even remotely contentious topic with someone on social media is a fool’s errand.
Yet still we do it. My Twitter and Facebook feeds over the last month have been filled with vulgar discourse about Israel and Gaza. For example, someone posts a link saying Hamas hailed rockets upon Israel, someone else responds by accusing Israel of killing hundreds of civilians, and next thing you know it’s chaos on social media. A link quickly devolves into vicious and personal attacks.
If you haven’t experienced this wrath (I’d be shocked if most people have not), try this simple experiment: Go to a social website and offer even the slightest morsel of opinion on something. You can pick from Gaza, Israel, Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom, Jay Z and BeyoncĂ©, the N.S.A., President Obama or any other esoteric topic. Then watch what happens. One person says one thing and then the digital mob is upon you.
So what’s a social media user to do?
The author suggests the instant nature of the medium contributes to the "respond-first, think-later" approach:
“One of the many problems when you respond to something digitally is that it is so instant,” said Bernie Mayer, the author of several books on conflict resolution and a professor at the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha. “One of the things we know that helps people in conflict is to slow things down a little.”
We can toss that solution right out the window. If there’s one thing that all these social media sites are great at, it’s the opposite of slowing down. Most sites are designed to let you know, in real time, when someone wants to engage with you.

Dr. Mayer noted that beyond speed, another problem with digital arguments is that people can’t detect tone, facial expression and, most of all, sarcasm. Numerous research studies have found that people try to detect these things, often looking for social cues in grammar and use of emoticons. But in a 140-character fight, that’s almost impossible.
This is surely true, as we've seen in our profession with the type of lawyer I call the "immediate emailer."

This is a person who immediately weighs in, often by smart phone while driving or on the can, within seconds of your thoughtful, carefully constructed and nuanced communication with something stupid, clearly wrong, or which demonstrates a complete lack of even basic reading comprehension.

Did you even read it or think for a second before you responded?

This type of idiotic "fly-by" lawyer also make sure to respond to all, so the whole world can benefit from their wisdom.

In depositions, though, you are actually with each other.

So what explains this type of conduct:
A federal judge in Iowa meted out an unusual punishment to a lawyer for repeatedly raising objections and interrupting depositions: She must produce a training video showing why such tactics are inappropriate.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, her law firm objected to the ruling.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett issued the "outside-the-box sanction" last week to Chicago-based attorney June Ghezzi, a partner at the international law firm Jones Day.

Bennett wrote that during pretrial depositions in a lawsuit in which Ghezzi was defending Abbott Laboratories, she "proliferated hundreds of unnecessary objections and interruptions" that appeared to coach witnesses on how to answer questions and delayed the proceedings.

Bennett said that rather than issuing a monetary fine against Ghezzi, he wanted to take a stand against "obstructive deposition practices" that are common and that some litigators are even taught to use.
Behavior like this -- especially at a big firm -- is learned.  Who are the mentors to these lawyers?

But if the firm steadfastly defends this conduct -- as it apparently does here -- we already have our answer.

Now go f*&k yourselves namaste!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Can we get Carnes to help produce the video?

Godwhacker said...

Harsh words are my substitute for reducing them to their sub-atomic components and banishing each to a separate parallel dimension from which there is no possibility of reintegration.

The Splendid Spitter said...

The key to preventing abusive discovery tactics is for judges to stop reacting to discovery disputes by throwing up their hands begging for the parties to "work together." That is just what the abusers want. It just encourages them to continue abusing.

Judge Bennett, in the opinion in question, wisely stated that "obstructive discovery conduct "persists because most litigators and a few real trial lawyers—even very good ones, like the lawyers in this case—have come to accept it as part of the routine
chicanery of federal discovery practice. But the litigators and trial lawyers do not deserve all the blame for obstructionist discovery conduct because judges so often ignore this conduct, and by doing so we reinforce—even incentivize—obstructionist tactics."

State court judges are generally afraid to examine lawyers' misconduct, for obvious reasons: some of the most obnoxious and obstructive lawyers are the most politically involved. Federal district judges and magistrate judges don't have that "excuse." They're either too busy or too lazy to get into the weeds. What they don't understand is that if they routinely got involved in determining whether either side was screwing around and called out such lawyers and their abusive tactics, the amount of time they'd have to spend refereeing "disputes" invented by obstructionist lawyers would severely diminish.

At least you can hope.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, splinter man.

Nail on the head.

The abusers thrive bc they know state court judges won't act. Total enablers.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Civil Discovery is bullshit. Any person who engages in civil discovery is a worm. The purity of the law has been infected with the cancer of Equity.

This is the Court of Chancery, which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire, which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse and its dead in every churchyard, which has its ruined suitor with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress borrowing and begging through the round of every man's acquaintance, which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give--who does not often give--the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!"

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