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If the Year of the Rat taught us anything it was how to have an interview via Zoom, as virtual meetings became the norm.

Most of us have fallen foul of videoconferencing at one time or another, from an unstable internet connection to leaving our audio on mute when it was our turn to speak.

But in the final days of this lunar year, it was a cat rather than a rat that caught out this embarrassed lawyer in a Zoom call with a judge in the US state of Texas.

Lawyer Rod Ponton inadvertently left on a kitten filter during a video conference call with a judge but – to his growing horror – was unable to turn it off, eventually responding to the judge’s confusion by pointing out, “I’m here live. I am not a cat.”


Video courtesy The Guardian

Faced with hearing legal debate with the kitten-faced lawyer, the judge explained to Ponton: “I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to …”

“Can you hear me, judge?” says Ponton, in a Texan drawl.

“I can hear you. I think it’s a filter,” replies the judge.

“It is,” replies Ponton. “And I don’t know how to remove it. I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying to, but I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”

“I can see that,” replies the judge.

Later, the judge was very sporting about the incident, tweeting, “If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the ‘Zoom video options’ to be sure filters are off.”

“These fun moments are a byproduct of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!” he added.


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