I used to practice law at a fancy firm downtown.  The firm prided itself on winning civil trials with lots of money at stake, and they did win a lot of them for awhile.  My big case was about dolls.  I won’t go into too much of it, on account of attorney-client privilege, but I think it’s ok to share a few vague anecdotes about my daily life, that sort of thing.

During the discovery phase of litigation, each side asks for documents from the other side, as well as answers to specific questions, and the chance to interview potential witnesses with an official transcript.  That’s how evidence is gathered for trial.  Our strategy was to ask for lots of things and not give over anything.  That’s a fairly typical strategy.  Then we would file as many motions to compel as possible in the attempt to overwhelm the other side, which is like carpet bombing a bunch of knights who thought they were getting ready for a joust.

The motions were so repetitive that my job was simply to find the old motions, which existed on a database, and take the arguments from them and put them in new motions.  A new motion was like getting a treat, mostly it was old motions for us.  The database was in very small type and I learned to squint my eyes wonderfully.  That was about half the job, the other half was answering emails, the subject of which could be basically any sort of question imaginable, as quickly as possible.

I remember one morning, we had planned a major offensive.  We were filing about ten motions on the same day.  They all had hundreds of pages of exhibits attached to them.  That’s not normally how discovery motions work, but when they are bombs, it makes sense.  The associates had all stayed up for days on end, drinking coffee and billing the client for looking at databases, copying old arguments, and gathering exhibits from the enormous database.  The hallways were filled with glorious papers and the associates walked from desk to desk, thumbing through the pages to make sure they were numbered correctly.

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