Benchslapped: Judge Invites Lawyers To 'Kindergarten Party' To Learn How To Be A Lawyer
from the ouch dept
Judge Sam Sparks of the US District Court in Western Texas (not the patent troll haven of Eastern Texas) apparently has quite a way with words when it comes to criticizing lawyers for questionable activities in his court. As the folks at AboveTheLaw like to put it, he’s the “king of the benchslaps.” One of his more recent such benchslaps is really worth reading. Via Paul Alan Levy, we learn that Judge Sparks was apparently displeased about the actions of some lawyers and decided to invite them to a “kindergarten party.”
Greetings and Salutations!
You are invited to a kindergarten party on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse, 200 W. Eighth Street, Austin, Texas.
The party will feature many exciting and informative lessons, including:
- How to telephone and communicate with a lawyer
- How to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates
- How to limit depositions to reasonable subject matter
- Why it is neither cute nor clever to attempt to quash a subpoena for technical failures of service when notice is reasonably given; and
- An advanced seminar on not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff because you are unable to practice law at the level of a first year law student.
Invitation to this exclusive event is not RSVP. Please remember to bring a sack lunch! The United States Marshals have beds available if necessary, so you may wish to bring a toothbrush in case the party runs late.
Of course, while incredibly amusing, David Lat does ask if this goes too far:
Has Judge Sparks gone too far? Is he being too hard on lawyers for, well, doing what lawyers do?
And is Judge Sparks?s snark excessive? Don?t get us wrong; it?s amusing to compare lawyers to kindergarteners ? which Judge Sparks has been doing since 2004 (subscription). But is Judge Sparks trying too hard to entertain? These are judicial orders, not blog posts (where snark and entertainment are welcome).
On the other hand, and in defense of Judge Sparks, judicial orders and opinions can be pretty dry and boring. Can you fault a judge for trying to make them more engaging?
It’s a good question. I really don’t have much of a problem with a little snark and humor in a judicial order — especially if lawyers are being particularly ridiculous. But, there is certainly the risk that the attention these kinds of orders get only encourages judges to use them when it’s not particularly appropriate. Assuming that a judge like Judge Sparks knows when it’s time to break out the benchslap and when to keep it reined in, I don’t see anything wrong with it.