Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Regional Pride

I love Beldar and everything, but his regional pride seems a little overweening here:
But I hope that attorney Bicks wasn't just trying to make sure that the NYT spelled his name right for his and his firm's marketing purposes. And I guarantee you that Ms. Lowry and her partners at Fulbright & Jaworski don't need lawyers from New York City, nor the New York Times, to come to Texas to teach them how to try jury cases.

The last time I heard someone vouch so solidly for the genius of regional trail attorneys, it was a lawyer calling in to C-SPAN to lecture me about how John Edwards who, this lawyer insisted, was such a brilliant, Nawhth Car-o-lina trial attorney that he was going to slice and dice Dick Cheney in the VP debate.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there is an excellent blog by a lawyer out of Houston that should be a great resource for the national media (not that they'd read it, of course) during the upcoming Enron trial. Check out this post from last month, one of the best spot-on pieces about that botched prosection that I've seen.

Beldar said...

A fair point well put, Mr. Last, and as always I thank you for the link.

I must confess to a certain amount of regional bias, but it's not so much in favor of Texas trial lawyers as against lawyers from New York. For three years, I was a partner in the Houston office of a very large New York-based firm, and I literally tried more cases over that time period than all of my New York-based partners put together. Actually trying and winning jury trials was, it seemed to me at the time, a skill-set that was underpolished and little appreciated among most of my New York colleagues; and I thought (and think) that very naive.

If there's a world capital of "litigators" -- the generally disparaging term I use to describe lawyers who file lawsuits, urge motions, "defend" depositions, milk every billable hour out of an engagement, and then inevitably, always do whatever it takes to ensure a settlement (because they're secretly afraid to go to trial) -- it's New York. So I'll admit to being oversensitive to New Yorkers who're seeming to lecture trial lawyers from elsewhere about courtroom strategies and tactics. And I'm pretty sure my bias against New York lawyers and their perceived inclinations to pontificate to all us rural hicks (even when from such bumpkin locales as Chicago, Houston, or Los Angeles) is pretty common -- even among other "litigators."

But my bias and its legitimate basis notwithstanding, there actually are a fair number of real trial lawyers in New York and its environs. Mr. Bick may or may not be one of them; I really don't know. And indeed, I allow for the possibility that he wasn't deliberately scape-goating Merck's lawyers, nor looking down his nose at them, nor (worst of all) trying to market himself and his firm as an alternative. The media's been known to promote a cat-fight or three among lawyers, after all, because it sells papers (or page-views).