1. "Just nod or shake your head in response to deposition questions." A deposition is a question and answer session conducted under oath. A court reporter takes down everything the witness says and grunts, head movements, and hand gestures just don't translate well to paper.
2. "I didn't tell you about that settlement offer the other side made a year ago because I didn't think it was any good." Attorneys have an obligation to relay settlement offers to their clients no matter what they think of the offer. Sometimes, an attorney will satisfy this obligation by relaying the offer, but with it hipped-up to the statement: "But I'm not recommending you accept it."
3. "Just sign it, and I'll look over the terms when I get back in town." Once you sign an agreement, it's a little late to be reviewing the terms. Most times, an admiralty attorney worth their salt will carve out the time to review an agreement no matter what the situation.
4. "Go ahead and forward that report letter I sent you to opposing counsel." Communications between an attorney and his client, including report letters, are almost always protected from disclosure by way of the attorney-client privilege. Sharing such communications could risk waiving the entire privilege.
5. "I'm not taking any new clients." There are a lot of doctors out there that don't take new patients, but I've yet to see an admiralty attorney who can't make room aboard for another client. This phenomena of the medical profession could make an admiralty attorney jealous.
Underway and making way.
By John Fulweiler