The Two Sides
The securities lawyer is a mix of laid-back
Hawaiian and Philly street fighter
BY JOE MULLICH
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUSTIN SNIPES
“I WAS GETTING MY BUTT KICKED.”
That’s Koji Fukumura talking about his first deposition. It was
1994, he was fresh out of Temple Law School, and he was facing a
trio of lawyers from prestigious firms in New York, Washington and
Philadelphia in a big RICO case. One of those lawyers, who had a
background with the Securities and Exchange Commission, kept
interrupting him with “speaking objections,” in which he basically
provided the answer he wanted his client to give.
“This went on all day,” Fukumura says. “I knew something was
wrong, and kept objecting, but it was painful and embarrassing.”
That pain was matched by the pain in his back, which he had
strained after lugging a trio of banker boxes from the train terminal
to the deposition room.
The next day started the same way. The same attorney began
with another speaking objection, and Fukumura waited through
the oratory before calmly asking, “Are you done?” Then he pulled
out a judicial opinion, Hall v. Clifton Precision, about the conduct
of depositions that decried such speaking objections, which he’d
remembered reading about and had pulled up the previous evening
on the computer in the business center of his hotel. Magic bullet?
No. The other attorney’s bad behavior stopped only when Fukumura
picked up the phone and started dialing the magistrate judge.