Federal Judge Invites Lawyers To ‘Kindergarten Party’ To Teach Them Not To Waste His Time

September 1, 2011 7:22 a.m.

Federal Judge Sam Sparks doesn’t like it when lawyers waste his time. So last week he invited — or rather, ordered — lawyers who he says are “unable to practice law at the level of a first year law student” to a “kindergarten party” to teach them “many exciting and informative lessons.”

Sparks, the Texas-based federal judge who ruled against a state law requiring women to undergo a sonogram before getting an abortion, was upset that lawyers for two men and Brigham Oil & Natural Gas, L.P. were asking the court to quash subpoenas issued to them on behalf of James L. Woods. The lawyers maintained that the subpoenas were not properly served, were overly broad and unduly burdensome, and sought privileged information.In response, Sparks invited them to a “kindergarten party” originally scheduled for today at 10 a.m. Thursday, but subsequently cancelled, where they would have learned how to “telephone and communicate with a lawyer,” “enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates,” “limit depositions to reasonable subject matter” and why “it is neither cute nor clever to attempt to quash a subpoena for technical failures of service when notice is reasonably given.”

“Please remember to bring a sack lunch!” Sparks wrote. “The United States Marshals have beds available if necessary, so you may wish to bring a toothbrush in case the party runs late.”

Seems like lawyers for Brigham official Lance Langford got the message, withdrawing their motion to quash the subpoena. Sparks cancelled Thursday’s “party” shortly afterward, writing in an court document:

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the hearing for KINDERGARTEN PARTY on Thursday, September 01, 2011 at 10:00 AM is hereby CANCELLED until further order of the court.”

Part of Sparks’ Friday order. Read the whole thing here.


Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: