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November 30, 2004

Sweating the little things

When I was in private practice some years ago, a partner in my firm told me that when I got the transcript of our client's deposition, I should have him correct the big mistakes but not the small ones. The idea is that if you focus on small mistakes, it means you've looked closely enough to make sure to correct the big mistakes. In lawyers' terminology, you can't weasel out of inconsistencies by saying you missed something.

I was reminded of this by the news stories, of which this is the most recent, about a Palestinian boy who allegedly was forced to play his violin at a road block, to his humiliation. We'll leave aside the obvious jokes about Carnegie Hall. If this is what you're complaining about, there really can't be anything important that's wrong.