I wait in the courtroom along with fifty other lawyers for the judge to call my case. I hear him say, “Plaintiff v. Big Box Store,” and make my way to the bench. Plaintiff’s lawyer isn’t here, so I inform the court I represent Big Box Store. Then the wheels came off.
Judge: “Mr. Richter, let me tell you [I begin to sweat because his tone and demeanor are not friendly and he clearly intends to make a scene] what happened to me the last time I was in Big Box Store.”
JWR: “Yes, sir?” [As if I had any alternative but to invite him to make me a spectacle.]
Judge: “I was returning a pair of pants, and I didn’t have a receipt. And they accused me of shoplifting. They were going to arrest me.”
JWR: “Well … judge … I’m … Judge, I’m just here for the work comp case …”
Judge: “I’m a judge! They thought I was a thief!”
JWR: “Yes, sir.” [I elected not to take this opportunity to bring to the court’s attention that there are many a judge and elected public official who are, in fact, thieves].
Judge: “Well, I plan to give you hell about this every time you’re in my courtroom.”
JWR: “Yes, sir.”
Judge: “Now, about this workers’ compensation case…”[Several minutes pass as we amicably discuss the case. This part is not interesting.]
Judge: “Alright, we’ll set this out a few months and see where we’re at.”
JWR: “Okay. See you then. … And, Judge?”
JWR: “Maybe take your receipt next time you go to return something?”
Judge: “That’s not funny, Mr. Richter.”[But it was funny.]
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Photo by Maia Weinstock.