I was on my way to Willimantic. The cup in the beverage receptacle was full of coffee. It was not snowing. I had chocolate in the car, reserved for the time when I would need to cure the inevitable disappointment following the morning’s argument.
The radio was on. A newsperson was interviewing an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur waxed rhapsodic about his product. The product was something ominously familiar to anyone living in the Middle East: unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones.
As I drove, I contemplated the story. Drone, the word, is something which I generally considered not as a noun, but as a verb, one particularly applicable to lawyers, when we belabor at bewildering length some point of law or factual exposition when it would have been better to wind down or shut up. Although my colleagues often drone, I never suspect myself of this transgression. Possibly, I should, but reasonable minds could differ.
The entrepreneur on the radio discussed the wide range of items in his product line. The smallest of his creations, he said, was the size of a large and particularly intrusive mosquito. I believe that I made the acquaintance of that particular mosquito while on vacation in Florida in 1985, but I digress.
The story broke away to interview two young dudes hired to test-fly the inventory on an abandoned airfield somewhere in the Midwest. Their jobs sounded like fun — part video game, part Saturday afternoon fun in the park with remote control toys. The young dudes seemed to like their work, and claimed to be able to fly the drones without causing grievous bodily harm to themselves or others, and without crashing the prototypes into each other or the ground.
The interview returned to the entrepreneur. The widespread use of drones in civilian life, he said, was only a short time away. This started me thinking about using drones in the law business. Immediately. I seized upon a potential application. Never again would I be required to attend a deposition out of state; I could send a drone! If drones could perform complex geophysical analyses, scare camels and fatally harass al-Quaeda, they could certainly be taught to take sworn testimony.
Another occupation for a drone which leapt immediately to mind in the world of civil litigation was surveillance. Thinking of claiming a 79 percent permanent partial disability of the glenoid rim, meanwhile competing against Venus Williams on the sly? Not likely. My drone will catch you at it.
I think drones should be used at the short calendar, especially for those motions one has become resigned to lose, but which it would be a dereliction of duty not to file. These machines would have to be somewhat larger, so as to be able to reasonably occupy the counsel table, and to have adequate RAM space for the argument.
If I could get hold of a drone the size of that mosquito that bit me in Florida, it could potentially be used at trial to photograph and transmit the other guy’s notes, outlines of his cross-examination questions and his closing arguments, right to my iPhone, or maybe my James Bond-edition eyeglasses. Of course, my opposing counsel would probably be doing the same thing to me. I imagined a courtroom swarming with tiny aircraft, making everyone, including the judge, duck.
As you all know, my technological versatility is a little compromised. My email program now claims it cannot find my Internet service provider, which is no doubt hiding under the bed. The appearance of my last Subaru suggested that its driver had trouble detecting the presence of curbs, pillars in the parking garage and on one regrettable occasion, a shopping cart. Some degree of electromechanical dissociation exists between my brain and what my hands are doing, which made me really bad at pinball.
Perhaps it would be safer for the free world if I did not acquire a drone, unless, of course, the batteries are not included. •