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<xTITLE>This Week's Attorney Shero Is The Bad Ass Zimmerman Judge</xTITLE>

This Week's Attorney Shero Is The Bad Ass Zimmerman Judge

by Victoria Pynchon
July 2013

Settle It Now and ABC of Conflict Blog by Victoria Pynchon

Victoria Pynchon

Who can work the hardest and longest.

That's how legal balls were judged back in the day. I recall court reporters often saying that my adversary had whispered a plea to tell the assembled lawyers and witnesses that she had to get home to her kids.

They couldn't say they needed a break themselves. If they did, they'd lose their reputation as the BadAss King of the Mountain.

I'm pretty sure this is a thing of the past, but I do know that mediators often push the parties to keep negotiating until the wee hours of the morning to break their will and close a deal.

This is an exercise of physical power, not the immaterial forms of persuasion like ingratiation, rational argumentation, authority, commitment, promises or even threats. It is, however, a particular kind of bodily shaming that's a check-the-box-guy thing. I never heard of a woman asking another woman to be her beard.

This week, the Queen of the Mountain and Bad Ass Attorney Shero of the Week is the Judge in the George Zimmerman trial.

Here's what the Miami Herald had to say about the Judge pushing the attorneys to their physical limits.

And just let me say here that there's some schadenfreude in this story for this woman attorney who was told in her early days of practice that women couldn't be trial lawyers because they "didn't have the taste for blood" or the stamina necessary to engage in adversarial combat.

Tempers flared Tuesday night as the George Zimmerman murder trial was recessed just before 10 p.m.

Defense attorneys complained when the judge ordered everyone back in court Wednesday morning.

"Your honor, we’ve been working very long hours," exhausted Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara pleaded after a 12 1/2-hour day in court.

"So have I!" Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson shot back.

"Your honor, we don’t have time to prepare our witnesses," he said.

"We're recessed... it is now 9:57 p.m.,” Nelson said.

Visibly exasperated, defense co-counsel Don West continued to address the judge as she began to pack up. "I don't think I can physically keep up this pace much longer ... weekend depositions and at night,he said."

In the attorneys' defense, the Judge's day ends when she walks off the bench. The lawyers have to go back to their offices and prepare the next day's witnesses. Even if the Judge takes the parties' briefs home to read in bed at night, that's a luxury compared to the work the attorneys face. Many of them will not sleep tonight.


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 

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