After a few well-deserved years of getting batted around for its role in the Lobbygate scandal, Seattle law firm Preston Gates Ellis is much happier to announce that its chair, William H. Neukom, the former lead counsel for Microsoft, has been named president-elect of the 410,000-member American Bar Association. He takes the prestigious office next year. Neukom may be best remembered for heading up Microsoft's defense in the epic 1990s antitrust case brought by the U.S. It led to a consent decree by Microsoft and a classic legal moment—an exchange between Neukom's client, an under-oath Bill Gates, and U.S. litigator David Bois.
During a video deposition, Bois asked Gates about something he'd said earlier—what did he mean by what he'd said? In response, Gates asked Boies what he meant by meaning.
Gates: If you define "definition" for this conversation in a loose way, then I'll understand what you mean.
Bois: What you need in order to understand the question is to have me define what is meant by "definition?"
Gates: At least loosely.
Boies: What I mean by definition is what you meant by definition when you said that you wouldn't have answered this question unless you had a definition of a word.
Chairman Bill went on to dispute the meanings of the words "concerned" and "browser," and at one point asked what the prosecutor meant by the term "we," Kemosabe. Neukom's client felt he answered every question completely and truthfully—including the 200 times he said he didn't know, didn't remember, or didn't recall. To other attorneys, it was a bravura performance. It seems only natural Neukom should finally rise to the top of his fine profession.