In one court, I regularly run into a lawyer who amuses me to no end. He’s a big, boisterous guy with thick gray hair and a deep, booming voice. His general demeanor reminds me of the ghost of Christmas present from the Muppet Christmas Carol. He always wears loud ties, most of which I believe feature some minor Disney character, and he only partially tucks his baggy dress shirts into what I suspect to be a pair of Dickies work pants. It isn’t uncommon for him to wear a jean shirt to court, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear a belt.
None of that really sets him apart from a lot of other lawyers though. What really separates him from the rest is his “PDA.” It’s a stack of note cards. To be more specific, it’s a mismatched stack of a half dozen, slightly discolored, dog-eared, 5×8″ ruled white index cards which he stores in his breast pocket.
A little while ago, I sat next to him and struck up a conversation. We talked about typical court stuff, like how the judge yells at defense attorneys if they’re five minutes late but always starts his 8:30 a.m. docket at 9:15 a.m. It was a normal lawyer-to-lawyer chat, but during a lull, he said “oops, I better check my PDA to make sure I’m supposed to be here” and pulled out his index cards. He thumbed through a few cards and said “yep, looks like I was right.” I was proud of myself for suppressing a laugh. He really called it his “PDA.” I swear.
Perhaps even more humorous is the fact his “PDA” isn’t just his calendar. It seems to replace his court files altogether. He doesn’t take anything else into court. I’ve never seen him with a briefcase. I spotted him carrying a copy of a pre-sentence report once, but I’m fairly certain he quickly transcribed its contents onto an index card and disposed of it.
Before he calls his cases in court, he pulls out his “PDA” and holds it in both hands. As the judge stares him down, waiting for him to say something, he holds the stack of cards a fraction of an inch from his nose and reads the case number off of it. Apparently, everything he needs to a know about his cases is on those cards. If he needs to take note of something, I’m pretty sure he writes it down on his “PDA” with one of those short pencils people use for mini-golf.
I enjoy talking to him. I also enjoy seeing him in court, for obvious reasons. He seems like a smart guy, and he’s extremely friendly. Unfortunately, every time I stand next to him wearing a dark, conservative suit and holding my dark, conservative briefcase, I start to think I take myself too seriously. I probably do.