My father was a Circuit Judge and we agreed early on that I would not appear in front of him. I breached the rule only once – when a less than entirely diligent High Court Judge left early on a Friday and left my very young client with no one in front of whom to plead guilty to a baby-shaking manslaughter save my father (to whom some mad person had given a license to try murders). Much negotiation later it was agreed that he would take the plea. I asked for a psychiatric report. He agreed I could have one. I asked for 6 weeks. He replied, “Mr Myerson, if you practised regularly in this court you would know that my invariable practice is to allow three weeks for the preparation of such a report.” I suggested that he might make an exception. He replied, “Mr Myerson, I know of no reason to depart from my usual practice in this case. Do you?” I bowed so low that my wig stayed on only by a miracle and replied, “As you Honour pleases” in my most insulting and withering tone. I left the court.
Outside, the usher came up to me and handed me a note from the Judge. I opened it expecting perhaps an apology of sorts. The note said, “How was it for you?”
I mention this because I have been sitting this week and have had one of my former pupils before me doing a trial of some difficulty. I have always had a good deal of confidence in this particular pupil and they did not disappoint me (I am assuming they will not read this…). There were times when I was very proud. When I ruled against them on every conceivable point – as justice demanded, I might add – they too bowed low and said “As your Honour pleases” in as insulting a tone as they could manage. And afterwards I asked, “How was it for you?”
The reply, which I envy, was “Considering how you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing to me for the last two days, not too bad, especially now you’ve let go of my balls”.
I thought it was very funny and I’m still laughing. Have a good weekend.