Category Archives: Types of Lawyer Jokes

I Relied on TrialPad for Ipad in a Medical Malpractice Trial… Here’s What Happened

For years I’ve used Trial Director for big cases, and simple things like blowups on posterboard for small cases. (Why posterboard? There are never any “technical” glitches, never a difficulty finding an outlet in a 100 year old courtroom, etc with posterboard).

This year I decided to switch it up. I bought an Ipad, and downloaded TrialPad for my trial presentation. It’s a $90 app, which made me swallow hard, but then I remembered the price of Trial Director, and I figured I’d give it a shot.

My plan was to try it out with a smallish dog bite case I was going to try in Iowa. That case settled the week before trial.

“Screw it” I said (or at least thought)… “I’m going to use it for this med mal.”

Of course, I started learning the software well in advance, so I’d have time to fall back to Trial Director if it didn’t work out.

It worked out.

Here’s what TrialPad was able to do:

  • Put exhibits/depositions up on the screen
  • Callout/highlight portions of exhibits
  • Use the laser pointer tool like, well, a laser pointer
  • Hold or freeze on one exhibit while I search for another

I did not use TrialPad for video depositions, although that feature is available. Why not?

  1. Too much potential for something to go wrong. The courtroom had a DVD player wired into the system. Why add another element (the Ipad) that could go wrong?
  2. Hassle of uploading the file. I’d have to take it off of the DVD, put it on the computer, put it on dropbox (assuming I even have that much dropbox storage available), and download it from dropbox onto the Ipad. Pain in the ass.

As usual, there were bells and whistles on TrialPad I don’t even know about, just like with Trial Director. Everything I described is typically all I would do with Trial Director as well.

As it was, I survived five days of a medical malpractice trial using only an Ipad for trial presentation.

PROS of TRIALPAD:

1. Cost

2. Space-saving.

TrialPad saved me a lot of space at counsel table. With Trial Director, I would typically have a laptop, scanner, big book of medical records/trial exhibits, and my notebook/pen. With TrialPad, I have my Ipad, and my notebook/pen.

CONS of TRIALPAD

1. The highlighter and callout functions aren’t as precise as I’d like. If you want to call out or highlight a passage that begins in the middle of the page and goes on to the next sentence, you have to include more unnecessary stuff than you would in Trial Director. The highlight function draws a yellow box, as opposed to working like an actual highlighter. It’s still readable, but not precise.

All in all – I will definitely use TrialPad again!!

I also used a website/app called Prezi for opening and closing. It allows you to create neat, interactive infographics that are usually more interesting and fancy looking than the typical powerpoint. It took a little getting used to, but really made for a nice presentation, and I will definitely use Prezi again.

In speaking with jurors afterwards, they were impressed with our use of technology. My case? Maybe not so much. On to the next one.

(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Rock Island, Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com). 

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US Supreme Court Helps Insurance Companies, Screws Injured People

The US Supreme Court decided US Airways v. McCutchen today, allowing insurance companies to write their way around the common fund doctrine and similar law, and taking money away from injured people.

Make no mistake – this is a big deal.

See, the world used to work like this:

  1. Step 1: Person gets injured.
  2. Step 2: Health insurance company pays medical bills.
  3. Step 3: Injured person hires attorney, spends time, money and effort to settle case with tortfeasor. 
  4. Step 4: Injured person pays insurance company back, but keeps a fair percentage (typically 1/3 of the lien) for the time, money effort and attorneys fees spent in obtaining the settlement to pay the insurance company back. Without that effort, the insurance company would have gotten nothing.

Now things are different.

Step 4 now reads “Injured person pays insurance company back the full amount, so long as the insurance company requires them to do so.”

In some cases this won’t be a big deal. For many, many cases, liens and attorneys fees will eat up much or all of a potential settlement – especially in tougher cases, smaller cases, or cases with inadequate insurance. This is a lot of cases.

Bummer.

(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury attorney in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. He has offices in Davenport and Rock Island. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).

 

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Types of Lawyer Jokes Part 2 – Lawyers are Greedy

As you will remember from Part 1 of this series, lawyer jokes fall into several types. Here are some examples of Type 2- “Lawyers are Greedy”:

 A lawyer, a used car salesman and a banker were gathered by a coffin containing the body of an old friend. In his grief, one of the three said, “In my family, we have a custom of giving the dead some money, so they’ll have something to spend over there.”They all agreed that this was appropriate. The banker dropped a hundred dollar bill into the casket, and the car salesman did the same. The lawyer took out the bills and wrote a check for $300.***

A dog ran into a butcher shop and grabbed a roast off the counter. Fortunately, the butcher recognized the dog as belonging to a neighbor of his. The neighbor happened to be a lawyer.

Incensed at the theft, the butcher called up his neighbor and said, “Hey, if your dog stole a roast from my butcher shop, would you be liable for the cost of the meat?” The lawyer replied, “Of course, how much was the roast?” “$7.98.”

A few days later the butcher received a check in the mail for $7.98. Attached to it was an invoice that read: “Legal Consultation Service: $150 .”

***

A man went into a lawyer’s office, and demanded to see the lawyer. He was escorted into the lawyer’s office.

The man needed legal help, but he knew how expensive lawyers could be, so he inquired, “Can you tell me how much you charge?”

“Of course”, the lawyer replied, “I charge $500 to answer three questions.”

“Don’t you think that’s an awful lot of money to answer three questions?”

“Yes it is”, answered the lawyer, “What’s your third question?”

***

So where do these jokes come from? One possible explanation is to tie this in with Part 1 – the formerly racist joke – and argue that these jokes allow lawyers to dust off Jewish jokes. While that may be partly true, especially given the number of Jewish attorneys out there, I think that explanation lets the profession off the hook too easily.

One possible explanation is that we charge a lot, and “feast on misery,” to quote the Simpsons – we usually only do our jobs when the client has a problem.

Then I thought about plumbers, doctors, roofers, etc. They charge a lot. They each “feast on misery.” No one wants to call a plumber, or break an arm and go to the doctor, and heck, as we speak there are roofers at my house because my roof is leaking and dripping onto my bed. But you don’t have plumber/roofer jokes, and doctor jokes don’t hinge upon them being greedy.

I think it comes from a failure as a profession to show value to our clients. I can tell when my toilet stops leaking, and I can see the new roof. When I feel better or get my arm in a cast, I know what a doctor did. But how good are we at telling/showing our clients what we actually do for them, and what value we bring to the table?

I think this is something the profession as a whole needs to work on. Even when we do something tangible and good – ie a favorable jury verdict – the client may still wonder if the result would have been the same if he had tried the case himself.

So… how do you show value to your clients?

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Types of Lawyer Jokes Part 1: The formerly racist joke

Q: What do you call 25 skydiving lawyers?
        A: Skeet.

*******

Q: What do you have if three lawyers are buried up to their necks in cement?
        A: Not enough cement.

*******

A man went to a brain store to get some brain to complete a study. He sees a sign remarking on the quality of professional brain offerred at this particular brain store. He begins to question the butcher about the cost of these brains.“How much does it cost for engineer brain?”

“Three dollars an ounce.”

“How much does it cost for programmer brain?”

“Four dollars an ounce.”

“How much for lawyer brain?”

“$1,000 an ounce.”

“Why is lawyer brain so much more?”

“Do you know how many lawyers we had to kill to get one ounce of brain?”

*******

So has anyone else noticed that a lot of lawyer jokes (ie the lazy ones, as quoted above) aren’t really lawyer-specific? My theory on this is that years ago, it was much more acceptable to tell a joke that makes fun of people by race, religion, nationality, etc. Usually these jokes were along the lines of “these people are dumb” or “if these people died, it would be good.”

Then times changed, and now if you tell a racially offensive joke, people are less likely to laugh, will likely get uncomfortable, and it may get you in trouble if you do it at work.

So what’s the solution? Replace race, religion, etc with a universally hated group – lawyers – and keep telling the same jokes.

Now, a possible side-theory on that is that part of the reason it’s become unacceptable for people to tell racist jokes – lawyers, what with our Title VII lawsuits and all. Could it be that people used “lawyers” as the group of choice because they resented lawyers for taking away their ability to tell jokes?

At some point, I’ll probably examine the other types of lawyer jokes and the reasoning behind them, including what lawyers can do to make the profession look better.

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