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William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Today's festivities consisted of getting ready for, and then attending, an arbitration in a case we have been living with for some time now. My piece of it was the cross of the opposing neuroradiologist, a delightful task, seeing as I got an "A" in Neuroradiology when I went to law school.

I have no idea how it went, although it seemed to go all right. What was notable beyond how the proof went, I thought, was that the way that the arbitration format changes one's presentation of proof-- or not. We'd kinda thought that the lawyer for the other side would come on like ten men, and he started to, but a lot of the stuff that we use for juries doesn't cut it when you are sitting around a conference table, and he dialed it back a notch or two when it became clear that our neutral wasn't buying into his schtick. I'm the same way, really. When I have a doctor on the stand, there are a number of things that I can do to suggest that either the doc is a hired gun or that the lawyer who retained him is a snake who cooked the data before asking for the expert's opinion, but in an arbitration those sort of theatrics get you nowhere, and can hurt you. We talked about this a little on the way back. My partner had handled the direct examination, and did a very nice job. I told her that she'd struck just the right tone, and she said that she'd have done it exactly the same way with a jury. I'm not sure what to make of that, although one thing might be that I need to re-think my schtick so its less schtick and more substance. Maybe.

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