Lawyers are showing up as cats, litigants are imbibing alcohol, and witnesses are having their hair done.
All of these real-life mishaps have occurred during video court proceedings in the Age of Zoom.
“Clients and some lawyers are appearing in Zoom hearings doing things that wouldn’t happen in court,” according to the ABA Journal, quoting other news sources. “Dress becomes more informal. Lawyers or litigants have a drink. The setting is a bed or even a hair salon. The background gives too much away. The mute button isn’t on.”
We’ve all heard about – or seen – the litigator who appeared in virtual court as a kitten. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Titanic video disasters.
“The bloopers and blunders of virtual hearings have provided comic relief during an otherwise bleak and dismal year,”reports the Louisville Courier Journal, sourcing an article from the Louisville Bar Association.
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A Dozen Zoom Fails
- An attorney appeared with no necktie and a Zoom background of Mount Vesuvius, prompting the judge to ask, “They don’t wear ties at Mount Vesuvius?” (Law 360)
- A lawyer fell asleep and began snoring loudly during motion hour. (Louisville Courier Journal)
- One client was in a bikini by a pool while another chugged a beer. (Louisville Courier Journal)
- A lawyer smoked a cigar during docket call. (Louisville Courier Journal)
- A lawyer enjoyed a glass of wine at a hearing about a parent’s problem drinking. (Louisville Courier Journal)
- Several participants have shown up naked, including one defendant without pants. (Louisville Courier Journal)
- A client who had been in a car accident did her Zoom deposition while driving. (Louisville Courier Journal and ABA Journal).
- A meeting coordinator showed up as Miss Potato Head. (Bored Panda)
- A student used a filter of Danny DeVito’s enlarged, grinning face. (Bored Panda)
- A priest during a sermon accidently activated a “celebration,” producing a storm of confetti and a bizarre hat on his head. (Bored Panda)
- A meeting participant who didn’t know her mike was live had a protracted, serious conversation with her cat. (Bored Panda)
- A news reporter was doing a live interview when her father appeared onscreen rubbing his bare belly. (Bored Panda)
Extra credit: An Australian man designed a custom filter in which an image of himself walked into the Zoom box and joined his real self. (Bored Panda)
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which offers confidential, one-on-one consultations to sharpen your firm’s mission and design an excellent Law Life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.