Stop making fun of lawyers, even when they are cats | Alistair Vigier
Thursday, February 11, 2021 @ 1:26 PM | By Alistair Vigier
Since the beginning of the pandemic, attorneys have been struggling with doing hearings over the phone and videoconferencing. Some struggles are understandable, like being on mute or your camera not working.
However, there have been some unique problems as well. For example, the Peruvian defence lawyer recently caught having intercourse during a virtual court hearing, or having a cat filter on.
When the pandemic hit, courts that had managed to stay open during two world wars closed overnight. Attorneys in their 70s (and sometimes 80s) had to learn about how to use technology overnight.
Most of these “senior” attorneys think a fax machine is innovative. They won’t use e-mail and want everything delivered to them in the mail. When I try and send them thousands of documents via Dropbox, they object.
You can see why things like videoconferencing and cat filters would be confusing to them.
Even for legal professionals and people without a lawyer who need to go to court, it’s stressful to appear before a judge over the Internet. Over the past 11 months, since COVID-19 started, I have seen so many problems.
Sometimes people are laughing or talking during the hearing and forget to mute themselves. Other times people start their arguments and forget to unmute themselves. It’s annoying that every time someone joins the teleconference, it announces the person’s arrival. Someone could be finishing up their argument, and suddenly a loud voice says “Alistair Vigier has joined the conference.”
I’ve had my own problem as well when suing people this past year. Right before I was to appear at a telephone hearing at court as a self-represented litigant, my neighbour started drilling in their condo. I had to rush to a park and set up a mat. I sat in the middle of the park and did the hearing.
In the lawyer cat video, I can identify with the attorney who is completely stressed out. I am always so scared that my Internet is not going to work, or my headset will fail, and the judge won’t be able to hear me.
Before another hearing this year, my Wi-Fi went down the morning of the hearing. I had to reboot the system and was so thankful that it worked. I use a Wi-Fi calling service since the cell service can be touch and go where I am. If it hadn’t worked, it would have been back to a park, I guess.
I can’t wait to start appearing in court in person again. While technology can be stressful, I hate not being able to see the judge’s face when I talk. I can often see if the judge looks confused, concerned or is nodding their head when I talk. I can then change my argument halfway through depending on how the judge is reacting. Every judge comes from a different background and different areas of law. Not every judge thinks the same way.
So, don’t make fun of lawyers and legal professionals. It’s stressful. Those that have been to court before know that it’s not a fun place to be. Respect lawyers, they fight hard for their clients, even when they look like cats.
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a lead-generation service for lawyers in Canada and China.
Editor’s note: This column has been updated to clarify that ClearWay Law is a lead-generation service for lawyers and the author’s reference to his own court appearance was as a self-represented litigant.
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