Some of my colleagues at the bar wonder why many members of the public hold us in low regard. I don't wonder, and stories like this one (hat-tip Howard Bashman) ought make it clear to them too (italics and boldface mine):
A Microsoft lawyer argued Tuesday that three expert witnesses should be barred from testifying in the Iowa class-action lawsuit against Microsoft because plaintiffs' lawyers have repeatedly failed to provide documents related to the witnesses' testimony.
Microsoft asked last summer for documents used by [the plaintiffs'] expert witnesses to arrive at the testimony they planned to give in the case.
Microsoft lawyer Steve Holley told the judge Tuesday afternoon that the plaintiffs' lawyers had used contorted language to keep from producing the documents.
Holley claimed that lawyers at the Minneapolis firm of Zelle Hoffmann had split the word review — into re-view — to create their interpretation that Microsoft was only seeking documents that the witnesses had looked at twice.
James Reece, a partner at Zelle Hoffmann, which is co-counsel with Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin for the plaintiffs, admitted to Holley that expert witness Netz had suggested the unusual interpretation. Reece had adopted it until a second court order on Nov. 28 made it clear that Microsoft wanted all witness documents.
Gosh, for the sake of Mr. Reece and Ms. Conlin, I hope there's more to this story than the Des Moines Register reports in this article. For their sakes, I hope the Microsoft lawyer misunderstood the supposed "admission," or the reporter just heard all this wrong. .... Let's be frank: Reading the word "review" to mean "re-view" is no different than simply lying about what the testifying experts looked at.
And it's a stupid lie in which the lawyers absolutely, positively should have known they'd be caught, even if the "expert" who suggested it thought they could get away with it. Every lawyer who's set foot inside a courtroom ought to know, has to know, can't find any excuse for not knowing, that it's absolutely, positively routine — universal — to have to turn over to the other side everything that your testifying experts have "reviewed" in forming their opinions, whether the experts skimmed it once or studied it for months in a wall-sized blow-up.
And people wonder why lawyers are considered worse than used car sales critters...