Mar 24, 2006

The Bulldog

On our very first day of law school, we were divided into groups and met with different attorneys in order to discuss the legal profession. The attorney that my group met with was VERY candid. He informed us that a lot of people that we would be dealing with were quacks that had unreal expectations. He ended his talk with an example of one such client: Apparently, this client came into the lawyer's office, asked the lawyer draw up the correct paperwork in order to sue someone, and then DEMANDED the lawyer to go after his claim aggressively, telling him, "I want a bulldog! Are you going to be the bulldog! CAN YOU BE THE BULLDOG?"
After hearing this initial story, I vowed to myself that I would NEVER be like this client, nor would I ever be the "bulldog" type of lawyer.

Fast forward a year and a half. I am in the courtroom, doing a mock cross-examination of a doctor. We had 15 minutes to complete the cross-examination. I had prepared approximately 50 questions to ask the doctor during this exercise. My motor mouth kicked in, and I flew through these 50 questions in about 7 1/2 minutes. (For those of you that DON'T follow, this means that I was shooting questions at the "doctor" at a machine-gun pace.) However, during the 7 1/2 minutes of cross-examination, the doctor was putty in my hands and admitted to everything I was implying. In other words, I made the doctor my bitch on the stand.

After the cross-examination was over, I approached the man who played the "doctor" and apologized for the torture that he had been subjected to. (I was only one of six people who grilled him.) He looked at me and grinned, stating, "Man! You were intense! You wouldn't think that you would be from your size (I'm 5'2"), but you were a bulldog! I couldn't get around you. You were such a little bully!"

Okay. So, not only did he call me a bully, but he also called me a bulldog... the very thing that I swore I would not become. The problem with all of this? "Bulldogging" that doctor felt GOOD. And in doing so, I effectively made the jury question the doctor's credibility, which only served to benefit MY case.

Can I be a bulldog? Woof, woof.

(NOTE: In the feedback stage of this assignment, the lawyer who was observing us told me that she didn't think she could have done a cross-examination nearly as effectively as I did in the amount of time I used. She has been a prosecutor for almost 10 years... that was probably the BEST compliment I've gotten in law school thus far.)

17 Comments:

At March 24, 2006 12:53 PM, Blogger VP of Dior said...

go get 'em tiger (err bulldog)!



and i fulfilled your request for alyson hannigan...although i'm slightly disturbed that you saw Date Movie.

 
At March 24, 2006 5:15 PM, Blogger D.T. said...

So you're a big bulldog bitch? Is it really that bad? I mean, it gets the job done, right? And I mean, it's not like you're like that in real life, so it's not that bad. I think you should be proud of the fact you're one helluva hot lawyer!

 
At March 26, 2006 9:14 AM, Blogger M said...

it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog?

 
At March 27, 2006 5:33 AM, Blogger Sharkbait said...

That's definately one sweet ass comment. I love them.

Man, I don't want to be a bulldog, but one never knows I guess.

 
At March 27, 2006 4:01 PM, Blogger Kitrah said...

I'm with you on the bulldog concern. I think you can be just as effective without doing it. That said, I think that there are always times when the only way to get something accomplished is to put your "tough guy" face forward.

Don't worry. We'll need the bulldog for our trial.

 
At March 27, 2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think being a bulldog is a problem. now, being a person that calls other people bulldogs? that may be a problem.

 
At March 28, 2006 6:08 PM, Blogger la lawyer said...

I think there is a difference between being a "bulldog" in a situation like a cross-examination and in one like dealing with opposing counsel. In my humble opinion it's likely fine in the former and will get you no where in the latter.

Congrats on the feedback, I think it was definitely a compliment

 
At March 28, 2006 9:54 PM, Blogger fishlamp said...

Hmm... if it's something you seem naturally good at, perhaps incorporating the "bulldog" personality into your work persona is a good thing? Just incorporate it as "being part of the job"... or does that go completely against your resolve to not be the bulldog?

 
At March 29, 2006 5:28 AM, Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

I always knew you were a tough cookie, (um bulldog ;-)) Congrats on kicking booty.

I'll be hiring you some day missy, I'm sure.

 
At March 29, 2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Earl said...

BLS, it's cool that you got a great compliment.
Rather than analogies, I just think it sounds like you were very effective at cross, and would be also at initial witness examination.
I've been working with 4 different lawyers on this big project I've got going. This one guy just seems to be this "go for the throat" type. It's been a pain in the ass to work with him because he's not helping. He's not going to get anywhere with our situation. We're trying to influence a huge federal agency to see things our way, and his approach is just paving the way to be in court. The Agency's record in court in the last 5 years is 35-1 in the Agency's favor.
I'm learning that there's an appropriate time to be a "bulldog" for sure, and times when you shouldn't be one.
btw, you ROCK girl.

 
At March 30, 2006 4:21 PM, Blogger TLG said...

LOL Why does being so good at your job mean being so socially unacceptable ;) My friend Charlene says grilling people and making 'em squirm.

 
At March 30, 2006 7:23 PM, Blogger ambimb said...

Hey, congrats on the great feedback. Whatever they want to call you, it sounds like you did an excellent job.

What really matters is not what people think of you, but for whom you put your skills to work. I think the clients who are going to seek out the "bulldog" lawyer are more often those who are trying to get away with something or screw someone. If you can make sure you never work for clients like that, you're good. In other words: Be a bulldog for justice, not greed, exploitation, or other bad things. ;-)

 
At March 31, 2006 6:20 AM, Blogger HMC said...

That's a great compliment. Just remember to use your powers for good, not evil. =)

 
At March 31, 2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could easily be a bulldog. I know someone who knows you in law school. Check that; you definitely are a BULLdawg.

 
At April 01, 2006 6:31 PM, Blogger TLG said...

Says she LIKES grilling people and making them squirm. It helps when you have all the words in your sentences.

 
At June 14, 2006 4:15 PM, Blogger Brody the Bulldog said...

NICE!

Obviously, I can relate.

In fact, once I freaked out so hard on a squeeky toy that it literally spilled its guts out all over the floor. Not only that, but it has refused to wimper any squeaks since.

Geez - right? I'm mean, c'mon - keep your stuff together!!

Congrats on thrashing the doctor. Keep up the good work.
:P

 
At June 14, 2006 4:16 PM, Blogger Brody the Bulldog said...

NICE!

Obviously, I can relate.

In fact, once I freaked out so hard on a squeeky toy that it literally spilled its guts out all over the floor. Not only that, but it has refused to wimper any squeaks since.

Geez - right? I'm mean, c'mon - keep your stuff together!!

Congrats on thrashing the doctor. Keep up the good work.
:P

 

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