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Robert Witte’s Law Dictionary: ‘Tortuous Interference’

We got into a discussion yesterday about whether it was possible for a Strasburger & Price attorney to confuse “tortious interference” with “tortuous interference.” The former has to do with a tort or a legal cause of action; the latter is just long or complex. Neither of which should be confused with “torturous interference,” which would involve waterboarding. Well, now we have our answer. Here’s the letter that Robert Witte wrote to Christina Rees. (Full disclosure: she’s a friend and she used to work at D Magazine.) You can also see how much Witte charged the Police and Fire Pension System to do this bit of work.

Strasburger Letter to Rees and Invoice by The Dallas Morning News

  • Esquire

    Tim, please open Microsoft Word. Type “tortious” before “interference.” Did you see that? Did you see what happened? Word’s autocorrect feature changes “tortious” to “tortuous.” This is a plague on many business litigators because it is not caught by spell check. Now, in fairness to you, a good editing job by a partner should catch that. Can we please stop taking this lawyer to task for autocorrect’s tortuous interference? … see what I did there …

  • Iam Spartacus

    $20k for a long week’s (45 hrs) work. Not bad. And worth every penny of it, no doubt. Their client should probably be glad they didn’t mark up the FedEx fee.

  • Uppercase Matt

    Bill (I assume you’re Bill S. Preston, since who the hell else really uses “esquire”?). My Word does no such autocorrection. Tortious interference comes out just fine. But maybe Witte’s one of those lawyers that still uses WP. Wait, no, WP doesn’t do that correction, either.

  • Barry

    I would make a negative contact but I’m afraid I’d get a nasty letter from Strasburger billed to Pension System. (The lawyers might even confer with each other and bill for it — but I’m not sure they necessarily would agree with how long that meeting lasted. Is there a discrepancy about the length of that 12/7/13 meeting?)

  • Dallas Lawyer

    I’m also a lawyer who has been annoyed many times to find that Word has auto-screwed-up my documents by converting “tortious” to “tortuous.” There are a lot of clumsy things about this letter–clients frequently want to write stupid letters like this to intimidate people, and good lawyers talk them out of it–but failing to notice Word’s bungling of his document is pretty low on the list.

  • Tim Rogers

    If I were a lawyer, I would have a lake house. And I wouldn’t worry so much about paying for my boy’s high school education. And I wouldn’t be wearing the Hawaiian shirt I’m wearing today.

    But, above all, I would add the word “tortious” to my Word dictionary. Here’s how: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322198

    (I did see what you did there, by the way, and I enjoyed it.)

  • Anne

    No, we cannot stop taking this $500/hour lawyer to task for relying on autocorrect in lieu of his own responsible proofreading. I work in the legal world and I know you have to do your own proofreading before you finalize any document. It’s good business and common sense. If you rely on autocorrect, you may make an embarrasing mistake for which you should be held responsible.

  • Not A Lawyer

    Some would argue the practice of law is the practice of precision in language.

    If there is a lapse in that precision, then what are you practicing?

  • DavidSchoenbaum

    You can also turn off autocorrect.

  • Anne

    sloppiness

  • Dubious Brother

    In order to increase the D readership and get lots of letters like Mr. Witte’s addressed to D may I suggest that D have an annual or bi-annual “Worst Attorneys” edition instead of the oxymoronic “Best Attorneys” edition.

  • Dubious Brother

    Someone had to put together that FedEx package – the lowest rate shown is $225 per hour and everyone at law firms works in 15 minute time segments so I would say that the FedEx markup was at least $56.25 which may or may not make their client glad.

  • Tim Rogers

    If you’ll work up a P&L for me on that, we’ll consider it.

  • Esquire

    I’ve officially added “tortious” to my Word dictionary. Thanks for the tip. Now, who do I bill for that …

  • I’m just sayin’

    Anyone notice that Robert Witte was named one of D magazine’s Best Attorneys?

  • RAB

    You need to add “whom” to your Word dictionary, too.

  • CSP

    I’m thinking “was” is the operative word here. At least, I hope it is…

  • Dubious Brother

    Now that you are “just” a writer you aren’t supposed to know anything about P&L. The difficult part is the L since I don’t know the categories and am not sure if your attorney can out sleaze them when the letters and other stuff starts flying since they could handle their own and yours would be billing by the 15 minute segments of “work.”

  • Neal K

    Posted a similar comment the other day in another thread, but it’s worth noting again:

    I wonder if Ms. Rees ever submitted this letter to the disciplinary committee of the State Bar of Texas for review? It’s not too late. The committee might very well take no action, but we have seen that Robert Witte has a history of issuing threats to members of the public with little or no basis in law. And just as Witte thuggishly cc’d TCU on his letter, Ms. Rees should cc Witte on her submission to the disciplinary committee.

    You do not need to be a client of the lawyer to file a grievance against that person. In fact, according to the State Bar, any member of the public “can report allegations of professional misconduct or problems with a lawyer.” Just FYI.

    http://www.texasbar.com/Content/NavigationMenu/ForThePublic/GrievanceEthicsInfo1/FilingGrievance.htm

    I hope Strasburger has updated its professional malpractice coverage to cover SLAAP judgments against the firm.

  • Neal K

    Anyone notice that Witte’s letterhead states that he is “Board Certified” by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization? As other commenters have pointed out, he apparently isn’t. That kind of misrepresentation is a HUGE no-no in the legal profession.

    It is weird that the letter indicates that he is “Board Certified Law”, whatever that means. Usually someone with a specialization says they’re “Board Certified in Bankruptcy Law” or tax law or civil trial law or whatever. But never simply “Law”.

    Anyway, he isn’t in the directory of the Board of Legal Specialization. Search for him here:

    http://www.tbls.org/Directory/Attorney.aspx

    As I mentioned in another comment, any member of the public can file a grievance against an attorney who has allegedly committed misconduct. I have no doubt the disciplinary committee of the State Bar of Texas would take notice of multiple complaints pointing out Witte’s apparent misrepresentation of his “Board Certified” status.

    http://www.texasbar.com/Content/NavigationMenu/ForThePublic/GrievanceEthicsInfo1/FilingGrievance.htm