“Ah, discovery court…”, I thought to myself, “where the dreams of baby lawyers go to die.” Discovery court is a funny animal. It is a giant courtroom packed with about a hundred other lawyers, most wearing suits from JC Penny or with holes in them. The actual hearing usually lasts about 10 seconds, and the judge usually accuses both sides of acting like children. It always smells faintly of cigarette smoke and cheap cologne, with a just hint of booze in there.
If you have any delusions that law is prestigious, spend a day in discovery court and you’ll quickly learn otherwise.
Today it was about 35 degrees out and rainy, and I had left my umbrella at the office. Fine Philadelphia weather, just warm enough that it’s not snowing, but cold enough to make the rain feel downright miserable. And, of course, the only way to get to the courthouse is to walk a few blocks in the weather.
I reached the courtroom cold and wet. I must have been in this courtroom a thousand times; it felt routine at this point. But discovery court is always the same. Show up at 8:45am, sign in, and then wait for your case to be called, hopefully quickly. Sometimes you are there for 20 minutes, sometimes you are there well into the afternoon watching petty discovery disputes. The issues are always the same, too… “I asked for documents and they didn’t give them to me” or “She noticed a deposition but didn’t ask me for convenient dates.” I could probably argue a discovery motion in my sleep – my wife tells me that often I do.
Finally, Judge Marshall was looked up from his crossword puzzles and told the bailiff to call my case. I couldn’t blame the judge for being uninterested – I wanted documents but the other side didn’t give them to me. Judge Marshall probably hears this problem fifty times a day. Hopefully I’d be home in time to grab soup from my favorite soup place. They were usually out of soup by 2pm. And today was a soup day.
Although the issues in my motion were simple, we had exchanged a lot of correspondence. The motion, with exhibits, totaled over two-thousand pages. I decided to print out the motion itself and the relevant exhibits. If the judge wanted to see more, the rest was stored on my iPad. I don’t see why he would need them, though. This also keeps my costs down, as it gets expensive to constantly be printing out documents.
Thankfully, technology had moved forward. There is no need to waste money on unnecessary printing costs in the digital age.
But as I’d soon learn, maybe the courts haven’t caught up yet…
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