The scene: A Los Angeles County Superior Court courtroom.
The players: Your humble correspondent. The judge, a humorless and suspicious sort. Opposing lawyer, who has a nasty reputation for trickery, and specifically for taking advantage of opposing counsel's scheduling conflicts, vacations, illnesses, etc. Opposing client, who hates me and my client.
Judge: Now that motions are resolved, counsel, we need to set a new trial date. Opposing Lawyer, what date are you requesting?
Opposing Lawyer: Your honor, I'm requesting the first week in June. It's actually essential that I have that date — two of my expert witnesses have scheduling conflicts, and that's the only week open to both of them. Also, my client's employees have numerous scheduling conflicts. And as you know, my client suffers further harm the longer this case goes on.
Judge: Very well. Counsel?
Me: That's just fine, your honor.
Judge: Very good. The first week of June it is.
Opposing Counsel: Whaaaaaa….
Judge: Opposing Counsel, is there a problem?
Opposing Counsel: Well, it's just that .. uh .. well, I'm glad that … this date works for counsel. I was concerned that he had a family vacation that week.
Judge: Counsel, do you have a family vacation that week?
Me: No, your honor. That week's great.
Opposing counsel: [Looking at me incredulously]
Me: In fact, your honor, that's really the best possible week for me. My witnesses have conflicts as well. I can't think of a week that would be better for me. I think I will be able to put on a much more complete and effective case that week.
Opposing Counsel: [now looking daggers]
Me: I'd like to thank Opposing Counsel for agreeing upon a date that works so well for me and my client. It shows a great deal of professional courtesy. Oh, and my thanks to Mr. Opposing Client as well. [Smiling at Mr. Opposing Client, with a little bow]
Judge: Well, that's wonderful.
Me: Now that I think about it, I might have mistakenly given Opposing Counsel the impression that I had a family vacation that week.
Opposing Counsel: [glaring balefully]
Judge: Did you.
Me: I'm really not that good with dates.
Client: [large vein throbbing ominously on forehead.]
Me: Anyway, it's all good. [toothy smile]
On the way out, I saw Opposing Client arguing angrily with Opposing Counsel.
I love my job.
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