Discovery with Jeffrey I. Tilden

Jeffrey I. Tilden’s wins include the 1994 reinstatement of National Guard Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, discharged for being a lesbian

Published in 2016 Washington Super Lawyers magazine

By Jeffrey I. Tilden on June 10, 2016


My nickname is … Jeff.

If you were in my office, you’d ask … “Where did you get that amazing carved water buffalo skull? … Did you do it yourself?” 

My colleagues would be surprised to know that I … have been blessed by Bartholomew I, the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

When I was a new lawyer, I … generally wore a three-piece suit and an occasional bow tie.

My pretrial routine is … to get everything well enough organized that I can go home at 5 at the end of the trial day and just play with my outlines and exhibits.

When I started, I wish I knew … that law was not an intricate Swiss watch of crystalline precision.

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … in trouble. I never had a plan B. 

When I win a case, I celebrate by … going home to bed. In earlier years, I was more fun.

The SCOTUS justice I’d most like to meet is … Benjamin Cardozo. Much of what the Supreme Court does does not affect me in a daily sense. Cardozo was different. He was basically a tort/contract judge elevated to the Supreme Court from the New York appellate courts by virtue of his common sense.

The SCOTUS decision I’d overturn is … Credit Suisse Securities LLC v. Simmonds, a case on insider trading that I lost to Credit Suisse in the Supreme Court, essentially 8-0. Or 0-8, if you prefer.

A different practice area that intrigues me is … I’m not sure there is one. Civil trial law is probably the only thing I’m suited for.

I can do a pretty good impersonation of … Frank Underwood.

My fictional hero is … Jean Valjean.

My real-life heroes are … my father, Gandhi, Warren Buffett, Helen Keller and Christopher Columbus.

On weekends I … go to work, bike, read, work in the yard, and watch some period drama with my wife. In the summertime, I check my beehives.

My most bizarre talent is … I can bend my big toes back quite far.

The talent I wish I had is … I don’t know where to start. I’d like to play the violin/fiddle or the piano. I’d like to play the guitar. I wish I spoke Greek or Latin; any foreign language, really. I wish I knew half the math I knew in 12th grade.

The most fascinating person I ever met is … I don’t know the answer to this. The most prominent person I ever rode the elevator with was Elizabeth Taylor. 

My motto is … The soul is the only bird that can lift its cage (Victor Hugo, not me).

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