Lawyer asks judge to force rival to wear nicer shoes

A lawyer in Florida filed a motion to force his rival to upgrade to newer shoes, on the grounds that his homely old hush puppies gave him an unfair advantage by projecting an air of unsophisticated honesty to the jury.
3. It is well known in the legal community that Michael Robb, Esquire, wears shoes with holes in the soles when he is in trial.

4. Upon reasonable belief, Plaintiff believes that Mr. Robb wears these shoes as a ruse to impress the jury and make them believe that Mr. Robb is humble and simple without sophistication. . . .

6. Part of this strategy is to present Mr. Robb and his client as modest individuals who are so frugal that Mr. Robb has to wear shoes with holes in the soles. Mr. Robb is known to stand at sidebar with one foot crossed casually beside the other so that the holes in his shoes are readily apparent to the jury . . . .

7. Then, during argument and throughout the case Mr. Robb throws out statements like "I'm just a simple lawyer" with the obvious suggestion that Plaintiff's counsel and the Plaintiff are not as sincere and down to earth as Mr. Robb.

8. Mr. Robb should be required to wear shoes without holes in the soles at trial to avoid the unfair prejudice suggested by this conduct.

Motion to Compel Defense Counsel To Wear Appropriate Shoes

(Image: funeral for a pair of shoes 2, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from marco annunziata's Flickr stream)

47

  1. That’s all well and good, but what are we supposed to do about Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer?

  2. This guy has clearly been watching Futurama. “I may be a simple country Hyper-Chicken but…”

    The Hyper-Chicken doesn’t even wear shoes, thus he is – by this logic – apparently even more honest and simple.

  3. Why do people embarrass themselves with this kind of thing? You might as well write a note saying “I’m such a crap lawyer that a pair of old shoes can defeat me in court”.

  4. if I were the judge? : “Counsel, you raise an interesting point. Guards, take this man outside and teach him what “bastinado” means.”

  5. There’s a saying among lawyers:

    If you don’t have the facts, pound on the law.
    If you don’t have the law, pound on the facts.
    If you have neither, pound on the table…

    I’m having a hard time deciding which side of this reminds me more of Krushchev…

  6. Hey, it worked for Obama. He posed in worn-out shoes while controversy raged over Palin’s wardrobe budget.

  7. I wear worn-out shoes for exactly the same reason. Not at all because I’m a cheap bastard who hates shopping for shoes.

  8. Doh. Two can play that game.
    -He comes wearing shoes with holes, you come wearing shoes you made from newspapers and plastic bags.
    -He comes wearing a worn out suit, you come wearing a worn out dirty wind breaker.
    -He pretends to be frugal and simple, you beg money from the jury while screaming about coming end of the world.
    -He comes to court smelling of booze and piss, you come to court drunk and s**t in your pants.

  9. I think the Mr. Robb should file a countermotion to make the other lawyer wear crappy shoes. Probably will throw him off his game enough to be worth it.

  10. My friends have had a running joke since law school about appearing in court pants free.

    Imagine the motion to compel pants…

    ________________

    1. This is an action alleging personal injuries . . . .

    2. Trial is set to begin on June 15, 2009.

    3. It is well known in the legal community that Fred Q. Austin, Esq., does not like to wear pants when he is in trial.

    4. Upon reasonable belief, Plaintiff believes that Mr. Austin eschews wearing pants to impress the jury and make them believe that Mr. Austin is humble and simple without sophistication. . . .

    * * *

    6. Part of this strategy is to present Mr. Austin and his client as modest individuals who are so frugal that Mr. Austin cannot afford pants. Mr. Austin is known to stand at sidebar with one foot crossed casually beside the other so that his lack of trousers is readily apparent to the jury . . . .

    7. Then, during argument and throughout the case Mr. Austin throws out statements like “I’m just a simple lawyer” with the obvious suggestion that Plaintiff’s counsel and the Plaintiff are not as sincere and down to earth as Mr. Austin.

    8. Mr. Austin should be required to wear pants at trial to avoid the unfair prejudice suggested by this conduct.

  11. Well if we really want to be honest… I would also like to motion that all lawyers should henceforce pronounce the word lawyers like liars so that we know what they really do for a living.

  12. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: “Did little demons get inside and type it?” I don’t know! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – when a man like my client slips and falls on a sidewalk in front of a public library, then he is entitled to no less than two million in compensatory damages, and two million in punitive damages. Thank you.

  13. My Dad is a lawyer and I remember him doing this all the time. He would play the dumb country bumkin. I know he was anything but however, he is very smart and astute. You would be surprised how many people buy into it.

    I was actually surprised when one of my high school friends (generally considered perhaps not as smart in school) mentioned it to me, that my Dad plays dumb sometimes for advantage. He is the only one I know that got it that I know of.

    However this is not limited to Lawyers. I have seen judges do it, and I am sure a whole bunch of professions do it as well.

    Heck look at George W Bush, “Well I might just be a simple Texas boy, ahem, but I think… blah blah blah…”. Mind you I am not saying he was the smartest bulb, only that the same ruse was used over and over and over again.

  14. Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles

    From Wikipedia

    The 1,003-mile walk

    In 1970, Chiles decided to run for a seat in the United States Senate. At the time, despite his 12 years in the state legislature, he was largely unknown outside his Lakeland-based district. To generate some media coverage across the state, Chiles embarked upon a 1,003-mile, 91-day walk across Florida from Pensacola to Key West. The walk earned him the recognition he sought, as well as the nickname that would follow him throughout his political career – “Walkin’ Lawton”. In his journal Chiles wrote that sometimes he walked alone, while other times he met ordinary Floridians along the way. In later years, Chiles would recall the walk allowed him to see Florida’s natural beauty, as well as the state’s problems, with fresh eyes. After the walk, Chiles was elected easily.

    The Governor was famous for his worn out shoes; a pair is on display in the state capitol.

  15. Just stick a piece of straw in your hair, puff on a a corn-cob pipe. Intermittently apologise to the judge for having to rush in order to allow time to help out at the soup kitchen, take presents to the local orphans, wait tables etc.

    Or EVEN forget it and try to out-persuade the competition. Only a nogoodnik liawyer would fall to trying to manage his opposite’s personal image.

  16. Sometimes I get depressed at the idea that our legal system is only one step removed from the medieval system where you put two knights on two horses, let them bash each other until one falls down, and hope that God chooses the right one.

    Sure, they’re competing with their rhetoric, minds, and acting skills, and we’re letting a jury of peers decide instead of some nebulous “god”, but it still comes down to each side picking an advocate, and those two measuring their skills against each other.

    Is there a better way? Maybe if we had a nationwide pool of “professional jurors”, who were at least minimally educated in the law, and who were trained to recognize cheap rhetorical tricks and common ruses, and a jury pool was chosen randomly from them? The average jury is probably even more swayable by actors than the average voter is by cheesy campagin commercials. (the effectiveness of campaign commercials is an entirely different complaint)

    I’m just saying it sucks that a man’s innocence or guilt is, by and large, decided by how much he can spend on defense, and by the SKILLS of someone ELSE.

  17. I once put this theory to the test by taking it to the street: Well-worn, unwashed jeans, a dirty sporty-logo t-shirt and a pair of oversize shoes. In my rack-sack, slept a cardboard sign. I seldom pulled it out cos’ the flow of sympathy, matched the flow of filthy lucre nestled in my baseball cap lining the pavement. This outpouring of sympathy was based solely upon “presented image.” I now rest my case!

  18. Why stop there? The opposing council ought to come in barefoot, trailing mud from wading through the Everglades hunting for frogs. That’ll win me over every time.

    This reminded me of a particular video I saw once where a woman tearfully complains how she was charged with contempt of court the third time she showed up in a halter top. At the very end of the clip, the voice over says “she was in court for driving drunk through a cemetery and knocking over a headstone…” Only in America!

    @21 Presents what I think is not really such a good idea, because a jury was originally designed to be one last check and balance on the law.

    EVERYONE should read up on the concept of “Jury Nullification.” If you are ever called up for jury duty in some bullshit case (drugs, prostitution, etc), any case where you just don’t feel the defendant deserves punishment – just refuse to convict, no matter what the evidence. You don’t have to vote guilty, even if the guy was caught smoking a joing in a police station. One person can cause a mistrial and sometimes save some poor schmuck a great deal of pain and trouble later on in life.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

  19. The man is attempting to perpetrate a fraud on juries. I met a lawyer that went against him or some lawyer that did the same thing. Shoeless Joe Lawyer was representing a big insurance company with holes and his shoes and the other lawyer was representing some injured farmer in a new suit and lost.

    Sad that Juries fall for such silly things, but they do.

  20. A few of the comments here remind me of a bagpiper friend who occasionally busked on Princes Street (the main street in Edinburgh’s New Town):

    Attempt 1 – Full highland dress, shiny brogues, the whole seven-and-a-bit yards. Takings: mediocre.

    Attempt 2 – Ripped jeans and T-shirt, sign saying “saving for a kilt”. Takings: considerable.

  21. Redshirt, are you sure that it was the suit that clinched it? Just because insurance companies generally are evil scumsuckers, doesn’t automatically mean that they are the bad guy in every situation.

  22. Zydoe:

    Your last sentence, (no pun intended), is superb … that is the plain truth your Honor! Countless people, decent law abiding good people have spent and wasted unnecessary time caught up in the vortex of Conservative Vomit over harmless dalliance in recreation.

  23. I say make all lawyers do their job in their underwear. Nobody except the lawyers actually believes they have any dignity anyways.

  24. @Lobster:

    I’m not gonna name any names, but I think it can get you pretty far in Alaska too.

  25. My Dad is a lawyer and I remember him doing this all the time. He would play the dumb country bumkin. I know he was anything but however, he is very smart and astute.

    What does it say about us that we are more willing to believe someone when we perceive them as dumb?

  26. #17, if you hadn’t put it in, I was gonna do it. A tip of the hat to the late great Phil Hartman. I still miss that guy.

  27. “Redshirt, are you sure that it was the suit that clinched it?”

    @Pantograph I heard this story from a well dressed lawyer. I don’t know what to believe.

  28. #13 Bloodboiler-

    “It’s the Chicago Way!”

    Trivia- Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer was written by Jack Handey. (Thanks, TSOYA!)

  29. I predict that boy will have a great future in politics. I’ve always maintained that lawyers are the larval form of politicians.

  30. If your case is so weak that the opposing counsel’s choice of footwear is likely to make the difference in the outcome, perhaps you should consider a settlement, you shyster douchebag.

  31. Most defense/civil lawyers I’ve seen in Houston carry themselves like perfumed Princes…each trying to out-top the other in fashion as well as legal acumen. An eccentric nickname is also a plus.

    Prosecutors look like cookie-cutter G-men, straight laced; Well dressed but not excessively so.

    just my snapshot impressions from my very few experiences on the business end of the American legal system.

  32. Yup, every lawyer in the US is just a cheating bastard. Not an honest one in the bunch. Even the ones that work for Greenpeace, ACLU, the Innocence Project – parasites!

    Please!

    Everybody hates lawyers until one saves your ass. Just like cops.

  33. This story turns out to have an ironic twist in the end. The judge allowed the defense attorney to wear his holey shoes. Then the attorney who complained won a $2.2 million verdict for his client, but lost it when the judge declared a mistrial after finding out that the jury read about the shoes motion in a newspaper column. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Comments are closed.