pro·fes·sion·al·ismSo recently, The Husband, Esq., had a Equitable Distribution mediation in yet another tedious, though not exceptionally complex, domestic matter... or at least it shouldn't have been all that complicated as The Husband, Esq. had figured on settling the remaining issues in around 3 hours considering that a threesome of experienced, heavy-hitter legal professionals were allegedly working toward a common goal: getting the parties to agree on stuff within the confines of the law.
1. professional character, spirit, or methods.
2. the standing, practice, or methods of a professional, as distinguished from an amateur.
A mediation, for those who don't know, is a costly process whereby the two parties involved in the matter come together with their attorneys in a common location (though in separate rooms) and a neutral third party attorney 'mediates' (between the parties' rooms) through their respective counsels in attempts to reach an agreement in what is basically a last ditch effort to avoid an even more costly court trial.
The specifics of the matter are mute in this story even if I could tell it; what is important to know is that there's a certain amount of ethics that go into how attorney's behave themselves and rules of conduct and such, like not directly speaking to nor contacting the Opposing Party who you know to be represented by counsel absent of the courtroom and only while they are on the stand. (For Pro Se parties, that is another matter entirely because then you are your own counsel... and we've all heard the phrase, "...fool for a client.") And of course, it goes without saying that as a professional, one is expected to conduct oneself as a professional, play nice, use good manners, and all the other life lessons learned in preschool.
The anticipated 3 hour mediation began around 9-ish... and ended approximately NINE hours later. Hardly a record, but, well, you can imagine the frustration and irritation after spending an entire day arguing with no real break to speak of, not to mention, the heightened emotional state of the parties.
It was near this time of day that the Opposing Counsel was inexplicably compelled to stick her head into The Husband, Esq.'s conference room to fuel the fire and verbally slight The Husband, Esq.'s client. WTF? (Anyone who knows The Husband, Esq. should know that challenge and confrontation doesn't end well.) After a brief exchange, The Husband, Esq. tells her to GET OUT.
Not one to be told what to do, the Opposing Counsel appears yet again in the conference room of The Husband, Esq. with more copies of more last minute changes and revisions that had not been on the table for discussion and commences to pass them out between The Husband, Esq. and his client. Words are exchanged loudly and she is told again to GET OUT.
(Here's the good part...)
At this point, having nothing left in her professional arsenal of assault, this 50-ish Doctor of Jurisprudence / Opposing Counsel resorts to hunching over and waiving her arms and hands wildly about in a creepy spell-casting fashion, not dissimilar to a 12 year old bully mimicking the legendary boogie-man, and in a juvenile taunt exclaims, "Oooooh, Keviiin's getttinnng maaaad!" while backing out of the room like a lunatic... leaving The Husband, Esq. sitting there with his mouth hanging open, utterly dumbfounded and speechless. --A rarity indeed.
Again, W.T.F.? Really???
The good news is that in spite of the antics, the parties somehow managed to settle and The Husband, Esq. had a jolly good time reenacting the episode for his darling wife that evening and his staff the next day.
Of course, my personal fun in all this was coming up with a list of appropriate come-backs:
- "I know I am but what are you?" (submitted by Alvin)
- "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."
- In a Jack Nicholson impression from the classic movie, 'A Few Good Men,' "You can't handle the truth!"
- "I'm tellin'." (again, Alvin) ...and when all else fails there's always,
- Placing one's thumbs in each ear while waving fingers and sticking out one's tongue.
Just another fun-filled adventure from your friendly neighborhood law office! ;-)
"No letters after your name are ever going to be a total guarantee of competence any more than they are a guarantee against fraud. Improving competence involves continuing professional development ... That is the really crucial thing, not just passing an examination."