Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today's Quote: Jurors Creeped Out by Creeps - and Nerds

So we interviewed some jurors right after the trial--and were told by all but one of them that they were seriously annoyed by some of the sneers, body language, guffaws and antics of the fire-breathing "let's kick some ass" associates and paralegals in the firms helping the plaintiff and the co-defendant in and out of the courtroom. This seemed to happen a lot with two younger lawyers (I knew them both--nice people, usually...) in the same firm who sat together in the court room smirking and cockily approaching counsel's table bearing a note or message with an attitude that said: "take that" and "your sufferings will be legendary, chumps"--that kind of thing. ~ Excerpt from "To Jurors, do your associates and paralegals seem like stone creeps?" (What About Clients?)

If you've never been to a trial, you'll probably read the What About Clients? post and think, "No way is the Steve Urkel effect a consideration in the courtroom, and besides he is just plain adorable."

If you have been to a trial, you'll know that jurors sometimes aren't thinking about what you hope they're thinking about (the trial), and they really are closely scrutinizing the lawyers and their assistants - their demeanor, their clothes, their hair, and heck, even their socks if the distance is too far between trouser hem and shoe - in and out of the courtroom.

Bottom line, paralegals assisting at trial do have to be careful not to be a distraction on many levels. Of course, you don't want to act like a creep, but I honestly never considered The Nerd Factor before.

Since I was Queen of the Nerds in high school, I immediately did a Nerd Self-Check.

Coke bottle glasses? Contacts that correct astigmatism at all times. Even my dog doesn't know what I look like with glasses.

Acne? Replaced by wrinkles

Fuzzy hair? Subdued by way better hair products than we had in the 80s. (Which was none.)

Braces? A dentist recently said I need 'em. Couldn't stop laughing. Got a new dentist.

Suspenders? Fashion casualty of the 80s. Whew.

Orange Tic-Tacs? Yup, me and Paulie Bleeker. But I keep 'em hidden in my purse.

I think I'm officially a Recovering Nerd.


  1. LOL!! Aren't all paralegals nerds at heart? Love your site and have been reading on a regular basis--I trust what you have to say and am taking your advice and starting to use the wonderful world of social media. Thanks for what you do :) And....I am patiently waiting for the next legal talk post with you and Vicki--you two together ROCK!!

  2. Nikki, I think you have to be a bit of a nerd to love the legal profession, with all of its rules, exceptions and documentation.

    Thanks for the nice feedback on The Paralegal Voice - even *we're* waiting for the next podcast to go up. We recorded it last week with a terrific guest and paralegal role model.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Lynne. Appreciated. And it's probably an underrated topic: flaky or unadvised team members really can lose your client's trial.

  4. DHHO ~ You are welcome, and I agree it's an underrated topic. Juries are unpredictable animals, and there is so much that affects their decision-making process (pattern jury instructions, not so much) that I think being aware of the impression your trial team makes - every single member of it - is pretty darned important. Thanks for introducing the topic.


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