• e-Filing,  Humor,  Legal Humor,  Legal Technology

    How flexible is that midnight electronic filing deadline in federal court?

    When I was a young lawyer, my mentor told me, “Practice law as if the rules will always be strictly enforced against you but will never be strictly enforced against the adverse party.” Wise words. Last week I posted about a party that applied for a 15-minute extension of time to file its documents with the federal district court in Ohio because of some technical difficulties it encountered with the electronic filing. In doing so, it lived out the first half of my mentor’s adage, as it did not assume that it would get a break of even 15 minutes without explicitly requesting such relief. In Hyperphrase Technologies, LLC, et al. v. Microsoft Corporation, a patent infringement case in…

  • Humor,  Legal Writing

    A light-hearted Friday post: what is the standard of music on appeal?

    I wrote last year about In re Christopher B., case no. C077467 (3rd Dist. Sept. 28, 2015), a cautionary tale about a trial court’s “clarification” of its order (read: “void modification for lack of jurisdiction”). Justice Butz’s concurring opinion opened with this sentence: “With apologies to Dolly Parton, here I go again, concurring with myself.” I like it when judges write colloquially, but I think I would have used a different musical reference if I were in Justice Butz’s place: What can I say? I loved the 80s!

  • Humor

    Friday Appellate Humor

    Here’s the graphic from a good New Yorker cartoon about appeals: To avoid exceeding fair use, I’ve left off the punchline. Here’s a clue: there’s only one judge on the bench, so you know this cartoon depicts the trial court instead of the appellate court. To see the punchline, click here or click the image. If you have any ideas for your own punchline, why not share them in the comments?

  • Appellate Advocacy,  Humor

    The secrets to using humor in the courtroom

    There aren’t any. Well, maybe one: don’t do it. (Though, as you’ll see below, not everyone agrees.) On the “don’t do it” side is Litigator Rex. Via a post at Southern California Appellate News, I ran across Litigator Rex’s post counting down “Argument Misdemeanors – Five Ways to ruin your oral argument.” The countdown starts with this no-no: 5. Familiarity or humor. The judges are not your friends, they are an institution. While judges have their own personalities, foibles and attitudes on the bench, the role they play in the system demands a certain level of decorum.  Charm, humor, or insouciance rarely work and often irritate the judges. This informality not only comes…