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Joel Marshall

Member Since 07 Sep 2016
Offline Last Active Sep 14 2016 08:56 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: overtime

14 September 2016 - 05:48 AM

Again, Joel realized just how little he truly knew about her. In moments he'd be pressing play on this tape, and then what? How would she react? Would she be angry? Would she feel threatened? Laslow clearly felt confident in his case and she'd hear all about that. Yet it occurred to him that Nicholas wasn't the only one she'd hear. She'd hear his side of it too, chock full of that determination he'd tried to hide from her if only so she didn't get hopes up. Joel preferred to be dishonest if he thought it would benefit both parties and this was no exception, yet he found his finger hovering over the play button anyway, a part of him wanting to take this risk of honesty with her. 


The only way it was admissible evidence to court was if she approved of it. Period. It was senseless to debate this any longer and he knew it. The only reason he was debating it at all was because he was too attached to this case to start with. Any other case and he wouldn't have even initiated a conversation before he was playing the tape; hell, he might have just emailed it to someone and called it a day. Yet somehow he was invested in how she felt, worried that she would have her hopes dashed in a devastating way. 


Part of him wished he'd never asked for her story when they were back in the diner. This would all be so much easier.


"It's perfectly legal," he reassured her. "Conversations between two other people-- that's illegal. But as long as one party consents, it's fine. It's not the best business practice for me to go... underhanded like this against a colleague, but--" But what? But he was invested now? He wanted to see the kid go to the right home? This was more than a case, this was a matter of doing the right thing? Instead of putting any of those thoughts into noncommittal words, he just pressed play and leaned back, letting his and Nich's words echo through the room.


This was the first time he'd listened to it again. For some reason hearing himself, especially challenging Laslow like he'd done, was strange. The conversation wasn't even that important aside from the man's admission that he didn't intend to care for the child himself, or the implication that bribery was in the rulebook. He'd need proof of the second to make a good case in court, something he intended to thoroughly research once he returned home. For now he fell silent, however, allowing her to take in this conversation and react as she wanted. Perhaps she deserved to know what was said.

In Topic: overtime

14 September 2016 - 04:27 AM

There was something nearly threatening in this woman's movements, in how rigidly organized she was in seemingly every aspect of her life. It seemed as though she liked to be in control, at least of her surroundings, and it occurred to Joel that he still knew next to nothing about her. He was willing to fight for her custody in court, absolutely, as she would turn out to be a much better parent than the man who couldn't even recall the boy's name, but he still wasn't sure what sort of characterization he was arguing for. 


This was precisely why he'd become good at reading people over the years. A lot of law had to do with painting someone in a certain light, and to do so you typically needed to at least get a grasp of what the other person was like. He could see her at face value here, the typical type A personality, but he had had a feeling there was a hell of a lot more underneath the surface. Her story about the boy's mother echoed in his mind, a reminder of just how caring she actually could be, even years later. She was the best person suited for this. He could argue for this. He could win this.


They could win this.


He cleared his throat as she pressed for elaboration, running his teeth across his bottom lip as he fiddled with the tape recorder in front of him. "Y'know-- it's Nicholas Laslow," he started. "He's got a good reputation among a lot of folks here, but a lot of us know better. He's clearly been involved with some shady stuff in the past and if we try to paint him as unfit to be a parent... All I've gotta do is dig into his old cases, talk to a few contacts--"


Joel stopped himself for a few moments, looking over at Petra. It might have been clear that he was looking for permission to continue before he even opened his mouth, but it warranted discussion anyway. "I've already collected a bit myself. It's not... exactly ethical, but it's also not illegal. Recording conversations is fine so long as one party consents, so it's admissible evidence. If you want to hear it, that is. If you want to submit it."

In Topic: overtime

14 September 2016 - 01:36 AM

It occurred to Joel that he needed to be careful. With most of his other clients he'd always been cautiously optimistic, putting off a sort of neutrality that was encouraging, to be sure, but not certain. Internally he felt certain about this case if only because he wouldn't allow himself to lose. But the truth of the matter was that he didn't know; Laslow still had a hell of a lot of influence around this town, and at the end of the day it wasn't his decision. The only thing he could do was influence others' decisions, and that was a difficult thing to face.


So he had to do his best to wear that mask of neutrality again, to lock his hope away so she wouldn't be influenced by it. The words "strong case" were permissible-- he didn't want her to feel as though she was walking into a losing battle-- but Laslow's words rang out in his mind regardless. It would crush her if he gave her too much hope and lost anyway. The potential guilt that came from that, however, was washed away easily by knowing she wouldn't give up, no matter the cost.


Some of those thoughts were derailed by her attempt at humor, however, in which case he broke into an amused half-smile as he shook his head. He opened his mouth to speak and he nearly found a bit of flirtatious sarcasm rolling off of his tongue before he managed to rein it back in. She was gorgeous, sure, but she was his client in a custody case. He didn't need to get any more involved than he already was. "I eat more than just onion rings, y'know," was what he settled on, lightly joking but appropriate.


He eyed her for a moment as her nerves seemed to get the best of her; it hadn't occurred to him that it could be excitement she was feeling at the moment, a sort of hope that threatened to consume her. So he continued all the same, shuffling around the papers until he felt satisfied with what he had. "I spoke with Ms. Black today and she updated me on everything that's going on with Christian at school. I spoke with a few of his teachers and his principal at his current school, too, and they all seem to agree that his main issue is in how little attention he gets. Kids act out in this stage in life if they feel neglected-- you get it."


He took out another stack of papers he'd been faxed and pushed his glasses further onto the bridge his nose, his brow furrowed slightly as he looked over them. "Seems he's very intelligent, but he recently stopped applying himself at school, so his grades have been dropping. Pretty typical sign of--" This was all common sense, wasn't it? It didn't take a degree in child development to know how children acted when they were neglected. He was familiar with that, himself.


"Anyway, I think the best case we can make is presenting you as the more... ah, nurturing parent. The sort of parent who could turn this whole matter around rather than make it worse, as it would be with Laslow. I'd have to make a case against him, too, but-- well, I'm working on that." He glanced nervously at the tape recorder in front of him, still deciding whether or not to play it just yet.

In Topic: overtime

13 September 2016 - 06:42 PM

Joel liked to think that he could read people very easily. In this case he had a feeling she was the anxious sort based on their first meeting, but nothing could have prepared him for her greeting. The way she clumsily opened the door, even apologized for it; he noted it all and shook his head in something like disbelief as he stepped in, letting his eyes scan her place to absorb even more details.


Everything was so clean, so sterile-- while it felt homey in its own right, he couldn't even remember the last time he stepped into a place so coldly clean. His own place was a goddamn mess, and his office wasn't much better. Those diners he liked to frequent were clean enough to serve food but were... also a little questionable, truth be told. He'd always been that way, too; he was that boy that played in the mud for the simple sake of getting dirty, and in a way he'd never really gotten out of the mud. He was sloppy in many aspects of his life-- but not in his career. Despite being quite the procrastinator, he was not a lazy man. Like her, he needed to stay busy as much as possible.


He realized he hadn't said anything after a few moments and cleared his throat, nodding over at her. Was he hungry? He was always hungry, honestly, but for now he just shrugged in case she changed her mind and wanted to sit still. "I could eat," he said noncommittally, sitting himself in a dining chair as he pulled notes and papers out of his beat up briefcase. While he considered leaving the tape recorder locked away in there, he found himself taking it out and placing it on the table. Hopefully she wouldn't have a problem with how he obtained that information.


"Hi, by the way," he said with a little smirk as he looked back over at her. His smile was meant to be the slightest bit comforting, in hopes that her nerves might settle, but he might have looked the slightest bit amused by her antics anyway. "No need to be nervous, Ms. Alison. I've collected a lot over the past couple of days, and I think we have a pretty strong case."

In Topic: game set match

13 September 2016 - 01:26 AM

Laslow was renowned for winning the impossible not because he was a talented lawyer, but because he was a talented businessman. Perhaps he didn't involve himself directly in business, no, but he certainly knew how the exchange of goods and services worked-- he definitely knew how to use his money and his influence to his advantage in a way that was entirely unethical. Joel felt both determined and certain that he could win this case, if only because he was just that good of a lawyer without being totally dishonest. Certainly he flicked on a tape recorder every now and then, but it was admissible evidence to the court. There were no backstage machinations at play when he was on the floor.


People like Laslow were precisely what was wrong with the world. Joel had gone his whole life hating the "man" who sat behind his mahogany desk, dictating the rights and freedoms of others by finding loopholes. In fact he had every intention of bringing down people like this over the course of his career, shaping the world into a better one with each case he took on. A sort of anger-fueled adrenaline pumped through his veins then, something he enjoyed far more than he liked to admit. A rush of sorts.


"She wouldn't back down even if I did drop the case. But if there's one of us that has more to lose, it'd be you, don't you think? Can't buy the lawyer or my client out on this case, I'm afraid. What are you going to do? Pay off the judge? The entire jury?" His anger was ramping up more than he originally intended. Truth be told, absent fathers were an easy button to press for him. He related to a kid he'd never even met far more than he did Laslow, in which case he'd fight for the kid no matter the cost. He felt alive now that he had a cause, something to dive so wholly into. Once this was all over he might even thank Nicholas.


Regardless, he needed to keep his temper in check before he did something moronic. Certainly he knew how to manipulate people with his words, and he knew how to play a part, but this was riling him up in a way that wasn't good for him or his client. A punch to Nich's face meant a punch to his own case, so he had to let these emotions course through and out of him as soon as he could. Already he was rising, picking up the food from the desk.


"This was just a courtesy on my part. You're welcome to call and discuss settlements whenever you like. But if this goes to court, Laslow-- I guarantee no one will pity you. Not a damn soul in this town will give a shit about your nonexistent feelings. I will make sure of that."