The First Rule of Trial Practice (is NOT never talk about trial practice)

Do you guys all remember that lecture in moot court or trial advocacy or whatever it is at your institution of higher learning – the one where we were all told repeatedly how important it is to listen to your client (and to the witness on the stand)?  I remember it, and now I have seen the most hilarious illustration of this concept that I must share with you right now.

I was in the elevator, just minding my own business, stuffing my face full of protein bar so as to not pass out in my afternoon class when suddenly….

Woman 1: Hey, how is your husband??

Woman 2: Not doing well, not great at all, it’s really bad…

Woman 1: Oh, that’s so good to hear.

Woman 2: The best I can say is that he’s not dead yet.

Woman 1: Ah, that’s wonderful!

After this, the woman left the elevator and the three of us still in it, with the first woman, exchanged glances of something between horror and trying-really-hard-not-to-laugh.  If I wasn’t so busy stuffing a protein bar into my face I would have embarrassed us both by cracking up.

Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you: If you ask a witness a question, please always listen to the answer… or risk an epic, epic courtroom (or social) fail.