We’ve all seen it! The viral “Cat Lawyer” video brought the world a collective laugh, but, those on the screen somehow kept their cool in the midst of this absurdly humorous situation. “Cat Lawyer” himself, Rod Ponton, and returning guest Judge Roy Ferguson join State Bar of Texas podcast host Rocky Dhir to discuss their experience and talk through their thoughts on levity and dignity in the courtroom.
Rod Ponton has had a distinguished 39-year legal career and is currently serving his third term as Presidio County Attorney.
Judge Roy B. Ferguson presides over the 394th District Court, the largest judicial district in Texas.
Mentioned in This Episode
State Bar of Texas Podcast
Texas “Cat Lawyer”: The Zoom Mishap Turned Viral Sensation
Intro: Welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast, your monthly source for conversations and curated content to improve your law practice, with your host, Rocky Dhir.
Rocky Dhir: Hi, and welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast. Let me ask you a question. What do you think of a plum? You’re probably envisioning that dark, purple, often sweet fruit with that confounded seed right in the middle. Some people love them, others don’t. I’m in the former category. I love plums. But I’m actually not asking about the fruit. No, I’m not asking about how you feel about “a plum.” I’m referring to “aplomb,” which Merriam’s Dictionary defines as “complete and confident composure or self-assurance.”
As lawyers we are expected to embody aplomb in all we do, both in and out of court. Aplomb is especially important when the truly unexpected happens, just as it did on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. By now we have all seen or heard of the video featuring a Zoom hearing in which Texas lawyer, Rod Ponton, boldly proclaims “I’m not a cat.” He arguably had good reason to clear any misconceptions. After all, he appeared as a cat on the Zoom hearing.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I would have paid good money to hear those same words be uttered by former President, Richard Nixon. Can you imagine it? “I’m not a cat.” Well, in case you missed the video, you can find a link in the episode description. I recommend that you view it before you hear the rest of this episode.
At any rate, you might think that Rod Ponton is a bit miffed, that his 39-year legal career is being seemingly overshadowed by a Zoom filter, but he isn’t, and his career is certainly not being overshadowed. No, Rod, who is in his third term as County Attorney for Presidio County, Texas, is taking it all in incredible stride. But the aplomb doesn’t end with Rod. No, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give props to the Judge who presided over the hearing, and who can be heard trying to help Rod navigate through the technical cat-ch. Sorry, I had to throw in a cat pun in there somewhere. Couldn’t resist.
That judge, the Judge of Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court is none other than the Honorable Roy Ferguson. Judge Ferguson is no stranger to this podcast having appeared twice in two different episodes from our coverage of the State Bar Annual Meeting in 2019. You can hear the Judge’s thoughts on how to avoid voiding a judgment in our June 13, 2019 episode. You can also hear the Judge in one of my favorite podcasts of all time. It’s dated July 11, 2019 and in it, His Honor explains why even his closest friends call him Judge and eschew ever using his first name.
If you want to know more, you should tune into that episode. It was epic. We’re lucky to have both Rod Ponton and Judge Ferguson here with us to offer their, ahem, unfiltered — you see what I did there — insights into the good, the bad, and the very good-humored insights from this Zoom mishap. Judge, Rod, thank you both for being here.
Rod Ponton: Thank you, Rocky.
Judge Roy Ferguson: Thank you, Rocky. It’s a pleasure to join you again.
Rocky Dhir: Absolutely. Now, you know I would usually call on the Judge first just out of respect, but I think we actually need to start with you, Rod. Can you tell us what happened and how you ended up with the cat filter? I’m sure you’ve told this story a dozen times, but if you wouldn’t mind repeating it for us here. I think folks would like to hear.
Rod Ponton: Be happy to. We’ve been doing a virtual courtroom for about nine months because of COVID.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Rod Ponton: And although at first it was sort of a hassle of trying to get up to speed because of the huge distances involved in Judge Ferguson’s district, it sort of made things more convenient as far as less travel. And so, we’ve been doing it and figuring out Zoom. And when you appear in front of Judge Ferguson on Zoom, you log into the site. You’re ready to go into his docket caller, whatever he’s calling, and you’re held in the waiting room, and we’ve done this dozens of times. And there I am in the waiting room, there’s my face there, it shows that everything’s ready on Zoom, and then Judge Ferguson then calls his case. And when he calls the case, the app moves you over from the waiting room into the virtual courtroom to where all the lawyers and the judge are together in the virtual courtroom. And so, when I got moved from the waiting room to the virtual courtroom, miraculously I reappeared as a cat, to my great consternation, I should add.
Rocky Dhir: And so, was it a filter setting on your computer or did you ever figure out how that — because in the video I know your assistant was bravely trying to help you navigate through all this, but did you ever figure out what caused it?
Rod Ponton: We didn’t figure out what caused it. It hadn’t happened before. It is a filter setting on that computer. It apparently was a filter setting that came with the computer when it was purchased 10 or 12 years ago.
It hadn’t happened before. I didn’t know how to put a filter on the Zoom or remove it, but thankfully, Judge Ferguson knows those things and he walked me through the steps to find the filter app and click the link to remove the filter. And so, that was probably the longest 42 seconds of my legal career.
Rocky Dhir: Well, you know I have to say, all the jokes aside, you maintained way more composure than I would have in that situation. So I have to compliment you, Rod, for that. But, you just gave an insight to a part of the video that at least I haven’t seen. I didn’t see that happening there.
So, Judge Ferguson, you walked Rod through the process of effectively taking that filter off. So, I don’t remember seeing that in the 30 seconds or so that they put up on YouTube. So, walk us through kind of how you coached Rod, and obviously you knew something about this. So, do you have teenagers at home who can inform you on this or how did you know about the filter situation? I certainly don’t, myself so I’d be interested to know.
Judge Roy Ferguson: Well, the reason that you don’t see that happening in the video is because, you know, I created that video by editing it out of my typical recording. The video actually was published by me, on YouTube, and released on Twitter. And if you saw the original tweet where I released it, I made clear to people that I did not want this to come out as some sort of mocking of either Mr. Ponton or of Texas lawyers or of virtual —
Rocky Dhir: Of course, sure.
Judge Roy Ferguson: And so the framing of the video was crucial. Now, of course, I had no idea it would go viral. No one has ever cared about what I post anywhere. So I had no reason to believe this would be any different. But I was not — I was going to take steps to make sure that no one was subjected to embarrassment. And so, the point where I stopped the video is right when I came on camera. And I could tell even by looking at the cat that Mr. Ponton was struggling and I knew that at some point, just being human, it was going to get embarrassing or frustrating, and I didn’t want that to happen. So I came on camera, and as soon as I did, of course, their gaze shifts from the cat to me. And as soon as I did that, I said here’s — you know it’s one of two things, click here and it was gone in seconds. I mean, as soon as I got them focused back on the problem and less on the panic that washes over you when something like that happens, they immediately had it fixed. As for how, I think the easiest way to explain it is that since the second week of March, Texas judges have had over a million Zoom hearings. I’ve done well over a thousand. So, our job is to know everything because where I am, I am also the IT department, and the virtual bailiff. So my coordinator and I, we are everything for the court. So we have to know how to fix anything that can go wrong, and that’s just part of the job.
Rocky Dhir: Had you had — obviously, I don’t mean with the cat filter necessarily, but had you had something sort of akin to this arise to where you had to help with the technical glitch?
Judge Roy Ferguson: Every hearing, we help with the technical glitch, whether it’s audio, video connection, who knows. This in particular, we’re constantly watching the Zoom updates, because when I advise someone, “Here’s how you fix that problem,” Zoom changes things with some regularity; the terminology is different, the link is different, the button is in a different sub-tab. And so, we have to know where those things are or we make the confusion worse. And so, I was aware that Zoom had introduced Snapchat like filters. I did not know if that’s what this was, but I knew it was there. It looked a little bit more advanced than the built-in Zoom filters were as you’ve seen. It was really quite advanced for something that’s 15 years old.
Rocky Dhir: Sure, absolutely.
Judge Roy Ferguson: But I knew it was either going to be an any-cam or many-cam type of video setting or a filter. And so, all I did was tell him, “Click this,” and those two things are going to pop up, and the first one I said to try, it worked. So I can’t tell you exactly which one it was because they were so quick in resolving the problem, I never went back to figure out which one of the two options solved it. And that may be why it is that they don’t know how to get it back, because they’re not sure which one made it go away either. It’s just familiarity and frequency and repetition that made it very easy for me to tell them where the problem was.
Rocky Dhir: It sounds like there’s been some level of self-study, as well. Obviously, not from a CLE standpoint, but you know, self-study just in terms of reading up on Zoom and the technical issues behind it. Did somebody kind of coach you on this, did you get some kind of formal classes, or are you just having to figure these things out on the fly and read updates and figure out how to navigate all this?
Judge Roy Ferguson: When all of this started, second week of March, the OCA reached out to a few judges who are technologically savvy, and I was one of those people. And so, before we had even selected Zoom, we, this little group, was working together trying different pieces of software to see what would work.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Judge Roy Ferguson: So I’ve been the one doing teaching and coaching. If you go on my YouTube page, I have left up one of the trainings that we did back at the very beginning. I think it might have been from the third or second week of March, where I did one for my local lawyers. Then a week after that, we did one for judges, and a week after that it was the Family Law Section. So, it’s part of our job in seeing that justice is done to make sure that the system still works, and that requires us to know the hardware and the software. It hasn’t been anything that has been intentional by me as in I need to go take a class. I just make sure that there’s nothing that can happen in a Zoom hearing that I can’t handle.
Rocky Dhir: So, it’s, I guess, in a way it’s fortunate or fortuitous, rather, that this happened in your court and not maybe with a judge who wasn’t as familiar with with how to fix this. It could have lasted a lot longer.
Judge Roy Ferguson: You know, Rocky, I don’t know that that’s true. I tend to believe that at this point, the judges have put in the effort that they need to run these things. And if they don’t know how to do it or simply aren’t comfortable, they have brought someone in like a virtual bailiff or a coordinator, who can do this in the background.
Rod Ponton: That would have been bad if I was dealing with a judge that wasn’t as technologically adept as Judge Ferguson because I would have hated to appear at that hearing, all through the hearing as a cat.
Rocky Dhir: Let’s turn back to you for a second, Rod, with — for those of us who have seen the video, I guess it looks like you weren’t aware of the filter being on until Judge Ferguson pointed it out to you. Is that accurate or did you come on already knowing that something was amiss?
Rod Ponton: No. At the the moment I moved from the waiting room into the virtual courtroom, that’s when the cat appeared instead of me. You know the way Zoom works, my video image is supposed to move from the waiting room to the courtroom, so you can see yourself, as well as you can see the judge and the other participants. So at that very instant, I saw the cat.
Rocky Dhir: Okay, so you knew before. Because there’s a point where Judge Ferguson is saying, “Mr. Ponton, you’ve got a filter on.” So you knew before that, you could see it and figure out something was going on?
Rod Ponton: Right, from that, at that particular moment I saw something was there and that’s when I had alerted my assistant to try to help me get rid of it.
Rocky Dhir: You mentioned earlier this was the longest 42 seconds of your legal career. But to a casual observer, you kept your cool. I mean, I think a lot of folks would have been stuttering and just expressing tremendous embarrassment in that situation. How did you manage to keep your wits about you and and not panic?
Rod Ponton: Well, I’ve been a trial lawyer for 39 years and appeared in lots of courts, federal and state courts, and you always try to do everything right, you always study and plan ahead, and there’s, inevitably, in every case and every day, there’s something that goes awry. And so, you learn to roll with the punches and be able to go with it. You know, you lose your notes, you’d know enough about the case to keep asking the questions, the witness gives an answer that you’re not expecting, you know how to roll with it and turn around and ask a better question. So, you sort of learn how to think on your feet based on the time you’ve been practicing law.
Rocky Dhir: Now, I couldn’t also help but notice that all of the other participants, I guess there were two other gentlemen on the call as well. They were also remarkably serious and, you know, there was no snickering. Honestly, it’s a good thing I’m not a judge. I would have been — I probably would have been laughing out loud. I would’ve tried to help fix the problem, but I would have seen a tremendous amount of humor in it. But all of you stayed very calm and just tried to work through it. I think it’s safe to say that you upheld the dignity of the entire process, which I don’t know that a lot of other judges or lawyers would have been able to do. So let’s maybe start, Judge, with you. This situation could have devolved very quickly. To what do you attribute the fact that everybody kept their cool and their composure and kept the dignity alive in that situation?
Judge Roy Ferguson: For me, the question is one of judicial demeanor, and whether or not virtual hearings are real hearings. From the very beginning, when judges were trying to figure out how best to navigate these hearings, we saw differences in the way lawyers and litigants responded in virtual hearings based on the solemnity of the surroundings and the way the judge treats the hearing. We’ve seen differences between judges who wear a suit versus a robe, if you put the word “judge” on the little box in your Zoom window as opposed to just your name, whether you have a virtual background or in the background is someone’s television set or a playset for their child’s playpen.
My decision early on was that I was going to make this exactly like the in-person courtroom in the courthouse. And so I’m going to dress the same, I’m going to act the same. I’m not going to try to be a TV star, I’m just going to be a judge. And so I try to maintain the serious ambiance of the courthouse in the virtual courtroom. And you’ll notice that everyone in that hearing acted exactly the same way because they know that’s what’s expected, and lawyers are great at presenting themselves to judges. Now, my belief is if I had laughed, everyone would have laughed. And when that happens, someone is the butt of a joke. That’s the way it works. And I knew full well two things: Number one, if I made it a joke, Mr. Ponton was going to be unhappy with the way that I treated him in that hearing, and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.
The second thing is, in every one of these hearings, there are parties, and those parties have paid their lawyer, they’ve spent years in the fight, they probably have only one lawsuit in their lives, which means it’s the last thing they think of before they go to sleep and it’s the thing that wakes them up in the morning and they think about in the shower. It eats at people, and finally, there get that dispute in front of me after years of getting ready. And the last thing I’m going to do is have them believe that I’m making light of their dispute or I’m not taking it seriously or I’m embarrassing or mocking their attorney. Think about the message that would send about whether they’re going to get a fair shake, whether justice is going to be done or whether they’re going to be hurt.
And so, those two things together, even though intellectually I was certainly aware that what was happening was objectively funny, I was also aware of what would happen if I took off the robe and just allowed myself to be Roy and laughed, that the dominoes would fall, and that would lessen the dignity of the office, which I’m not going to do.
Rocky Dhir: Now, Rod, I want to hear your take on this as well and see what you attribute this to. But, Judge, I want to ask a quick follow-up, and that is, you know, maybe this opens up a broader topic or a broader discussion about the role of humor, not only in the courtroom, but in the legal profession. So, you know, I totally take your point and I appreciate the thought you’ve put into that, and obviously you embodied that when you were in the middle of this unexpected situation. But then there’s a flip side that says sometimes humor can kind of disarm everybody, lower the tensions, and kind of help smooth the way to a more amenable litigation process, if you will. So, kind of taking that counterargument, how do you kind of strike a balance between humor as a tool and also maybe humor as something destructive?
Judge Roy Ferguson: There’s no question that the balance is the key and you’ve drilled down right onto the key there. We have to humanize the judiciary. Now, we do not ascend, even though that’s the word people use. We are given an opportunity to serve our community in a different way for a very short period of time. And so, you know, there are people, they have terrible names for it. They have things like “black robe disease” and you know, when people somehow get this job and suddenly think that they’re better than human. We have to make sure that we don’t allow judges to be dehumanized, and humor is a big part of that. But, humor is very dangerous. If you say something funny at someone’s expense, more than one person in that room is going to be unhappy; that person and their client or their lawyer, right?
And it may be more than that. The other side suddenly thinks we have it won and so they may mirror the court and start mocking someone. So there cannot be even a kernel of cruelty at the heart of humor in the courtroom. Obviously, you have to read the room there are many hearings where no humor is appropriate and you don’t need to break the tension it’s possible that part of the lawyer’s strategy is for there to be tension in the courtroom with a certain witness. And if we try to break that by personalizing it, we’ve interfered with their ability to do the job that they are prepared to do for the judge or the jury.
The third thing is you have to watch out for ethical violations. There are many Judges who have been sanctioned for attempted humor in the courtroom. Just the tiniest joke. If someone feels it’s at their expense, that is enough to get a judge admonished. So, it is tricky. The question about how well someone does it is probably better asked to the lawyers than the judges because I’m keenly aware of the fact that when I tell a joke, it puts all of the lawyers in an impossible position. They feel compelled to laugh, I try never to put them in that position. There was a Federal Judge one time who — when I was taking the bench wanted to give me some advice. He told me that one of the best parts about the job was that you always had a welcome and warm audience because they were afraid not to laugh.
Rocky Dhir: Sure
Judge Roy Ferguson: And he said that he used to start jokes and stop in the middle of the joke and just laugh and all of the lawyers would fall apart laughing and telling him how you’re so funny. When in fact, there was no joke, he thought that was hilarious. I thought it was cruel and a perfect example of what not to be on the bench. So I try not to put them in that position where they feel like they have to laugh because then their laugh is actually mocking me and not laughing at the joke. So, it is a tough balance but I think maybe a question for Mr. Ponton or some of the lawyers who appeared before me might be better served to get a fair answer on how I use humor.
Rocky Dhir: So Rod, I’d love to hear from you and I apologize for letting the judge go first because that’s a tough act to follow. He gave a very thorough and thoughtful response. But you know, I’d love to hear your perspective — as you know, being on that hearing you see, everybody’s maintained the solemnity of the situation. Obviously, you did as well, I think anybody who has ever been in a litigation situation and has ever argued a hearing or done a Trial in Court understands how these things can happen. And you take all the humor aside, everybody kept their cool and kept going and rolling with the punches. What do you attribute that to? So let’s talk about how you kept your own — I think you said your own composure was because 39 years of experience being in the courtroom. How do you think and why do you think everybody kind of held fast and kept everything so dignified?
Rod Ponton: Well Rocky, it’s because we weren’t on YouTube, we weren’t on a talk show. We were in a district courtroom of the State of Texas.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Rod Ponton: And because we’re there, we we’re experienced, we know how to act, we know what to do, we know what the rules are and we know what’s expected of us. The curveball got thrown my way that day and the other lawyers saw it. But still, we are in a courtroom, even though it’s virtual even though it’s on Zoom and we didn’t need to stop and start falling down on the floor and laughing on the video any more than we would in person if we were in court. We have to keep going with the fact that we’re in a court. So, all the lawyers, the other lawyers there are also very experienced lawyers. They certainly saw the cat, they certainly could hear my struggles to do something about the cat but I think they were obviously afraid to make any kind of comment or show much expression because once again they’re in court. They got to do what’s expected.
Rocky Dhir: There but — for the grace of Zoom go lie, I guess might be another way to think of it.
Rod Ponton: And I think that’s why the video resonated around the world so quickly because I think everybody globally — they might not have been lawyers on virtual courtroom and Zoom but I think everybody globally has been having to deal with all of this stuff over the last nine months. They’ve had to talk to family, they’ve had business meetings, they’ve had other meetings and conferences all on Zoom and just like the Judge said earlier, almost every one of them has some glitch that happens.
So, everybody’s had to struggle with it and this is just at the very peak of all the struggles that everybody’s had trying to live their professional lives and personal lives online and via Zoom and Skype and everything else.
Rocky Dhir: I think we can kind of glean your answer to this next question Rod and Judge, I’ll give you a chance to weigh in as well. But the question really is what do you want lawyers in particular to kind of take away from this situation? I mean and when I say that, another question I have for you specifically Rod is obviously a 39-year-legal career, it sounds like it’s a distinguished one. I can tell the judge has a tremendous respect for you, then this happens and it goes viral.
How do you contextualize that in the larger arc of your career? How are you sort of compartmentalizing that and what do you want lawyers to learn from this situation as they move forward in their careers? Particularly young lawyers who might not have 39 years under their belt, they might have nine months in the middle of a pandemic and they’re trying to navigate through all this.
Rod Ponton: Well earlier this morning, I was over at the Brewster County Commissioners Court and the bailiff there who’s the Deputy Sheriff laughed with me before the Court started and said “Gee Rod all the distinguished things you’ve done in your legal career and now you’re known because of the cat lawyer.” And I laughed with him and I said “That’s right, but I’ll take it because I got the whole world to laugh and I think we all needed chuckle after the stress of the last year.” But the fact that I’m technically challenged on the Zoom call don’t diminish the fact that I’ve been working successfully for 39 years and people in this part of West Texas know about my career.
Rocky Dhir: And what would you want lawyers to kind of take away from all this? Is it the role of humor? Is it about rolling with the punches? Is it some combination? Is it something else? What should we as a profession take away from this?
Rod Ponton: Well, probably two parts; one is the fact that before you step into a virtual courtroom, take a breath — a deep breath and realize that you are going in the Court. Make sure you’re ready, you’re dressed appropriately, that you’ve got your stuff together and prepared to go forward even though it’s a virtual courtroom. Maybe check your Zoom connections and everything to make it easier for the judge but then the other side is you’ve got to be ready to roll with the punches. If something happens, you got to deal with it and realize that things can happen but you need to be ready to continue on with the hearing.
Rocky Dhir: Judge, how about you? What do you want lawyers to kind of take away from this? Obviously, you’ve given this some thought and so I think people might benefit from hearing your wisdom on what we can learn from this.
Judge Roy Ferguson: We’ve learned a lot. Certainly, no one expected this to resonate the way it has. 2.2 billion people are estimated to have seen the video as of a couple of days ago. So it’s probably at about 2.5 billion now.
Rocky Dhir: That’s insane, wow.
Judge Roy Ferguson: The way that I framed it when I released it is really the way that it seems to have been discussed. Which I can’t tell you how relieved and pleased I am that it truly shows how hard everyone in our profession has worked to adjust to this historic pandemic. There are a lot of businesses that can shut down. There are a lot of businesses that are just closed forever.
Rocky Dhir: Right.
Judge Roy Ferguson: The justice system is not one, the legal profession is not another. We have to continue taking care of the community and one of the amazing things to come out of this, is that people now realize that it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a 22-year-old lawyer or a 65-year-old lawyer. You have to represent your clients and they have done everything that has to be done to adjust and the truth is no one is perfect. Every time we get together, something unexpected happens and the lawyers need to know that looking perfect, sounding perfect is not the goal. The goal is to do your best to perform your best, to represent your client and seek justice. And so don’t panic when these little things happen because we’re all doing the same thing in our own way. Every time I open one of these hearings, I have to check on my own settings, I have to help everyone when they come in. I’m focused on helping, that’s my goal and that’s why it was so easy to stay professional with Mr. Ponton that day or the day that someone comes in and they have their camera turned around backwards.
And I’m looking out the back of their computer instead of the front or the day that they think that their microphone is muted and the lawyer turns and says something derogatory about their own client. So that I hear it and the client hears it and YouTube hears it. That’s happened a few times, lawyers who think they’ve exited the room and they haven’t and they turn and have a conversation with their client about someone in the room or the ruling that they just heard. I’m very quickly trying to exit them out to protect them, I don’t get upset, I’m not going to yell at them for it. I’m happy that they managed to do what they did and they’re trying so hard.
So that’s really what I want people to take from it, is we are all continuing to see that justice continues to be done irrespective of what gets thrown at us. And we’re working hard to do it. One funny thing after now 2.2 — 2.3 billion people have seen it. I’ve decided that I’m basically Schrodinger’s Judge because everyone knows of me and no one has any idea who I am. At the same time, I’m the best known and least known Judge in the world. So I don’t have to worry about the things that Mr. Ponton has to deal with insofar as being recognized and approached. I’m sure that’s happening to him and no one really knows it’s me unless they know my voice because no one knows what the 394th is. So it’s been fun to experience the whirlwind and watch the reaction without actually being swept up in the negative aspects of it.
Rocky Dhir: The perfect kind of celebrity. I think Judge that’s a great way to kind of wrap up our discussion because we are out of time today. So Rod Ponton, Judge Ferguson, thank you both. You’ve been both been so gracious with your time and insights today. Thank you so much for helping contextualize this for us.
Rod Ponton: Thank you Rocky and thank you for having me. I’m always happy to help the State Bar of Texas and a proud member since 1982.
Rocky Dhir: Wow, well thank you.
Judge Roy Ferguson: I’d like to leave you and your listeners with one thing.
Rocky Dhir: Please.
Judge Roy Ferguson: The responses to the video were 99.9% positive and the words we saw more than anything else were the words love and laugh and thank you because people are sad and scared and angry about so many different things. And that has an impact on the mental health of a profession that is notorious for depression and addiction and suicide. And I want to encourage everyone to please be aware of the people around you, be watching your colleagues and your friends and if you see them struggling, whether it be with anger or alcohol or depression. Be a colleague, don’t be an adversary and step up and help, pull them aside, call them on the phone, call TLAP. We’ve lost enough colleagues and people have suffered enough.
This video shows us that people need some joy and we need to help each other and now is the time for everyone to step up and do that. So, I just wanted to leave everybody with that. Work Mr. Ponton and I are thrilled that we gave the world a collective laugh but let’s not forget that we needed that laugh.
Rod Ponton: And Rocky as a follow-up to what the judge was saying. Of course I’ve gotten the same comments that are so overwhelmingly positive and so many people talking about how it brightened their day and made them feel good again. But in addition, I’ve gotten some comments from some pretty powerful lawyers saying that they’re so happy that there’s something about the legal profession that came out that was positive. And other lawyers are saying that I may have single-handedly repaired the reputation of the legal profession because so often it’s something negative, you know? It’s somebody in trouble, somebody — lawyer that does something bad and here it is, it’s a positive thing, nobody did anything bad, nobody’s in trouble and we all got a laugh out of it.
Rocky Dhir: Well no, absolutely and both of you gentlemen have given us a lot to think about and to help contextualize this in a way that takes us away from just the humor and actually understand what it means to us as lawyers. So thank you both and you know before we close out, I do want to give a shout out to the Texas Office of Court Administration in Austin. Some of you listeners may remember the May 14, 2020 episode with David Slayton who is the Administrative Director of that office. That office is singly responsible for getting our entire judiciary up and running on Zoom and Texas was the first state to get every single judge in our state onto this system.
And so we would not have had this wonderful moment of levity and reflection had it not been for that office. So again, please check out that episode and if you get a chance, please send them your love and please send them your smile emojis. Now with that, I want to thank you for tuning in and I would encourage you to stay safe and make sure you follow all applicable orders for dealing with COVID-19. We are still in the pandemic folks and please advise your clients and loved ones to do the same.
This situation is changing fluidly and quickly, so please seek out legal counsel if you have a question. Now if you like what you heard today, please rate and review us in Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or your favorite podcast app. Until next time, remember, life’s a journey, folks. I’m Rocky Dhir, signing off for now.
Outro: If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Go to Texasbar.com/podcast, subscribe via Apple Podcast and RSS. Find both the State Bar of Texas and Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by the State Bar of Texas, Legal Talk Network or their respective officers, directors, employees, agent’s representatives, shareholders or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
<a href=”https://www.tech-synergy.com/podcast-transcription” target=”_blank”>Podcast transcription</a> by <a href=”https://www.tech-synergy.com” target=”_blank”>Tech-Synergy.com</a>