Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Our glamor profession really is a small world. Years ago I had a case before Judge Thomas Griesa, and now here he is, crashing the Argentine economy. If they'd had asked me, I'd have told them he was a stickler.

It wasn't my case, exactly-- I was just the cannon fodder that was trotted over to Foley Square. This was back in my Kelner & Kelner days, when I was a new lawyer. Greisa was still a pretty new judge back then, although, since Nixon appointed him in 1972 he'd must been on the bench for ten or twelve years at that point. That's how time goes in federal court: it's geologic. Nobody in the office had been before him, so we didn't know how he'd be. It seems to me that we must have been removed into federal court, but I don't recall now. It was probably the biggest case in the office, and it was certainly one of the biggest I'd work on for a long time. We underestimated the judge's willingness to go soft on his scheduling order, as I recall, and as a result we ended up spending a few Saturdays and Sundays in the office taking depositions. This made everyone unhappy and cranky, and were the only weekends I ever saw Joe Kelner in the office. (In truth, I was only rarely there myself. In those days, and in New York, lawyers worked late, but our weekends we took stuff home if we had to do it over the weekend.) It seems to me that there was some effort made to push the trial date back as well, and that this was also unavailing. My recollection was that the judge was very, very detail oriented, and arrived at things by focusing on the trees rather than the forest, and that seems to be what is going on with the Argentine bond matter, although, to his credit, he has appointed a mediator. That's a good play in a case like this: Don't Make Me Decide This.

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