July 05, 2019 practice points

Always Use Local Counsel

A guest columnist speaks on the importance of "Celebrating Atticus Finch"

By Kenneth P. Nolan

Kenneth P. Nolan’s “Sidebar” column in Litigation journal is a “must read” column for me, so I am thrilled that he agreed to be guest columnist in our continuing series “Celebrating Atticus Finch.” I’ll see you for the Book Review on the following page.

—Hon. Mark A. Drummond

Cleveland, I thought, was just like my beloved Brooklyn. Tough, shabby, and packed with working-class mugs who loved their sports. The Browns and Indians were just as horrible as my pathetic Mets and Jets. So, when my injury case was multidistricted to Cleveland federal court, I dismissed the suggestion of hiring local counsel. What for? These Clevelanders are my people. I grew up with them; I talk their language; they’ll love me. This was when I was young and invincible.

Sometimes, I just can’t help myself. It was probably only my second conference before the face of the mild-mannered, placid judge contorted in rage, and he screamed: “I don’t care how you do it in New York, Mr. Nolan! We don’t do it that way here!” He then muttered something that sounded like a famous four-letter word. “Did he just call me that?” I asked my adversary, who shrugged. When the transcript arrived, I was disheartened to find no mention of the wicked word, which I had planned to frame on my office wall.

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