Monthly Archives: October 2013

Don’t Fear the Reptilian Reaper


By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

I recently had the pleasure of witnessing an attorney make a motion to the court to preclude the plaintiff from engaging in “reptilian tactics” at trial. I had heard that some defense attorneys out there had been making such motions, but had laughed off the stories, failing to appreciate the profound ridiculousness of such motions. Based on what I saw, I’d suggest there are three downsides to this kind of motion. Continue reading

Attorneys’ Analogies Are A Lot Like My In-laws Dancing At Weddings (Or, Your “Metaphor” Is Actually A Simile)

wedding dancing










By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

My aunt-in-law Josephine, a resident of a small town in southern Missouri (or “Missourah” as they say) that no one has heard of, loves weddings. The readings, the nuptials, the kiss…blah, blah, blah; who cares? But the dancing? Now we’re talking. Nobody gets as excited about the Electric Slide, YMCA, and Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” as Josephine. When “it’s electric!” is finally shouted over the DJ’s speakers, Josephine takes to the floor showing all of those leadership skills that go unappreciated at the local hardware store where she works part-time. The pride puts a special gleam in her eye when she gets to show a newcomer (usually some sugared-up toddler) the dance’s routine. This is her glorious moment…she will repeatedly tell friends the same ole stories about this night (much to their dismay) until the next wedding comes along. Family members will watch and laugh, happily cheering her on, excited to see another happy soul living in the moment. Fortunately, for Josephine, the family has a heart: no one has ever broken the devastating news to her that she is a terrible dancer who “makes my feet sad” as Ralph from The Simpsons might say. But that’s the great thing about weddings: everyone is so happy (and/or drunk) that bad dancing flies under the radar.

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