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Don't Bother Looking for Hiccups in Adam Fried's Pretrial Prep

Discovery with Adam M. Fried

Published in 2020 Ohio Super Lawyers magazine

If you were in my office, you’d … see six half-full cups of cold coffee, all of which I forgot to drink due to the incessant phone-ringing.

When I was a newbie lawyer … I represented an automobile dealer against a pro se plaintiff. The potential damages were $75. The courtroom was full of high school students as part of a social studies project. After I lost, the judge ordered me to front the damages.

The lawyer I most admire is … my partner, Leon Weiss. My parents were involved in a lawsuit while I was in high school. Leon represented the opponent. All my parents ever said was, “I wish we’d hired Leon.” 

My pretrial routine is … 50 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, and some table-banging to calm agitation caused by my inability to decipher my handwritten notes.

When I started, I wish I knew … that clients prefer no-nonsense advice, even if it is to tell them they are heading in the wrong direction. 

My career high point (so far) has been … being invited to coordinate a resolution on charitable donations from around the world as part of a group of amazing lawyers working pro bono. [Editor’s note: Fried helped sort out the fund for Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, who escaped after 10 years of imprisonment in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland home.]

When I win a case, I celebrate by … trying to figure out why I couldn’t get the case settled. 

The SCOTUS justice I’d like to meet is … Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because her strength and power is palpable and because she is my daughter’s hero.

I can do a pretty good impersonation of … Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes.

My most bizarre talent is … I taught myself how to suppress a hiccup. I haven’t had more than one hiccup in a row in the last 25 years. 

The most fascinating person I ever met is … Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who advised presidents and represented Anita Hill in the hearings on Justice Clarence Thomas. I had dinner with him when he and a team of civil rights lawyers flew in to consult with me on probate practice in relation to a wrongful death case. 

The craziest thing I witnessed in a courtroom is … an opposing counsel bringing in thousands of pages of exhibits, few of which he could use in trial, and 
all of which he had labeled by hand from A to Z. When the alphabet was finished, he went to AA to ZZ. The last exhibit was something like ZZZZZZZ. 

The movie line I quote most often is … “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

My guilty pleasure is … the second finger of bourbon.

My favorite word is … not appropriate for publication, but it does serve the emotive function of speech.

If I had a time machine … I would go back to tell that municipal court judge to pound salt when he demanded I advance payment of the judgment on behalf of my client. 

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