Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I’m a Lawyer (sort of)

Today I had my first real case. It was unemployment insurance hearing for a former Metro Transit Authority driver downtown. I represented the driver through the clinical program here at UCLA. I served as the representative (giving the direct and cross examinations), my partner gave the closing argument, and our professor sat in to make sure we didn’t screw it up. Fortunately we didn’t. I think the hearing went very well. We'll hear in a couple of weeks whether or not we won. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Now that it’s over I may even have time to post on the blog again.

Update: MSNBC has a very good article on UI appeal hearings like the one I was doing yesterday (ironically the article came out yesterday as well). Here’s the link:

The article captures the mood of these hearings. The MTA was there fighting tooth-and-nail against us to deny benefits. In fact funny story, when we got there we asked our client to look around to see if there was anyone he recognized so we could know if the employer was there to fight the appeal. He told us he recognized his former line instructor sitting in the corner. Just as I was about to approach her to introduce myself and see what evidence she might have brought the judge called her into a hearing. She had been fired as well and was there for her own appeal! It looks like everyone is getting fired and accused of misconduct. Then our client’s supervisor and another person that the MTA sent to fight our appeal showed up.

The article cites Boyton, a case about a taxi driver that we relied on heavily in our oral argument before the judge. This was a driver who got in several accidents that were way more severe than anything that ever happened to our client (essentially our case was about a flat tire) where no misconduct was found. The author of the MSNBC article speculates that the Boyton case would not come out the same way if it were decided today. I guess we'll find out...

1 comment:

Jerkolas said...

Congrats on being a real law talking guy.