The New York Times has released a new Op-Docs series to keep its audience enthralled -- "Verbatim." The series "transforms verbatim (word for word) legal transcripts into dramatic, and often comedic, performances."
The impetus for this series was a transcript of a deposition that was published on Tumblr. In the case, the Ohio Cuyahoga County Recorder's Office was being sued for charging $2 per page to photocopy public documents. What ensued was a debate that you would never, ever see on a court-room drama.
Here's why "Verbatim" is great entertainment for lawyers, and non-lawyers, alike.
First, if you haven't seen it already -- you have to watch it:
Now that you've seen it, here's why it's great entertainment.
Why "Verbatim" Is Great Entertainment ... for Lawyers
The reason I love this video, or at least one of the reasons, is that it's precisely the kind of stuff that lawyers talk about. While to non-lawyers this is absolutely absurd, to a lawyer, we see the absurdity, but we understand the dialogue. Why? Because we know that words have many meanings, some meanings can have legal consequences, so we need to know exactly how we are defining the words we use. It's part of the brainwashing we receive in the first year of law school.
Another reason is that as a lawyer, I've always stayed away from "law" shows on television (with the exception of Ally McBeal), precisely because they tend to be so unrealistic. But this? This is realism at its best -- this is a real court room drama.
Why "Verbatim" Is Great Entertainment ... for Everyone Else
For non-lawyers, seeing what lawyers actually do may be eye-opening. The video concludes with this text: "Following many depositions and more than 600 pages of paperwork, the case never went to trial." Well, duh. Most civil cases don't. This is not news to lawyers, (nor are 600 pages of paperwork all that much for a trial, but I digress), but for the general public this kind of realization may seem profound, and entertaining.
If you want to throw one of your ridiculous depositions or hearings into the mix, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Verbatim" in the subject line.
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