Not long ago, I encountered a lawyer who sat next to the court reporter and whispered “objection, form” so quietly that I couldn’t hear.
Was this lawyer merely being polite, perhaps not wanting to be criticized for making form objections only for purposes of harassment? Or were his motives more sinister? Was he intentionally depriving me of the opportunity to rephrase my questions if I thought his objections were valid?
I decided the latter. I told the lawyer that if he was going to object, he was going to have to do it loudly enough for me to hear him. I then stated that his previous objections were invalid: not having heard them, I didn’t have a chance to decide if the objection was valid and rephrase the question.
Since the case settled, we never got a chance for the judge to rule on the objectionable objections. But I’d learned a lesson anyway: watch out for lawyers who whisper form objections, hoping that you don’t hear.