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Opening Arguments

Gee Willikers!

My current favorite neologism comes from a commentary about a motion in a Florida case made against the defense attorney's shoes (no kidding), in which it is argued that "it is well known in the legal community" that the attorney wears "shoes with holes in the soles when he is in trial" and that he wears those shoes "as a ruse to impress the jury" to make it appear that he is "humble and simple without sophistication." That led Blawg Review's Walter Olson to remark:

The week's most widely blogged story, well documented by Above the Law, is a South Florida lawyer's “Motion to Compel Defense Counsel To Wear Appropriate Shoes” at a personal injury trial, from fear that his opponent would employ a certain pair of hole-worn loafers to practice the arts of aw-shucksery on the jury.

Aw-shucksery is such a good word because, for some of us, it immediately calls to mind Jimmy Stewart's great performance in "Anatomy of a Murder," in which he perfected that homespun persona. Another good example is Sam Ervin's "Gosh, I'm just a country lawyer" routine in the Watergate hearings right before he eviscerated another witness.