How to Avoid ‘I’m Not a Cat’ and Make Sure the Judge ‘Can See That’

By Brandon Vogel

How to Avoid ‘I’m Not a Cat’ and Make Sure the Judge ‘Can See That’


A viral video of every lawyer’s worst nightmare has given the nation a much-needed laugh.

The video of Texas lawyer Rod Ponton, whose Zoom filter made him appear to be a cat during a virtual trial, has been viewed nearly 35 million times  (NYSBA contributed its fair share of clicks). He adamantly denied being a cat, to which the judge retorted, “I can see that.” The internet sensation has been interviewed by BBC and Vice since the video went public on Feb. 9.

To help members up their Zoom game and avoid the fate of Ponton, NYSBA is offering a program next Wednesday, Feb. 17, “Ten Zoom Lessons Learned From ‘I Am Not A Cat.’” The event is free to members and will also be streamed simultaneously via Facebook Live.

“I’m not a cat” is an eminently teachable moment, said presenter Elisabeth Steele Hutchison. She will give ten practical tips for improving the audio and video quality of our on-camera presentations, and help lawyers build a working knowledge of lighting, camera settings, filters (meow), and backgrounds.

A graduate of Carleton College and Yale Law School, she has provided training to legal professionals and those involved in higher education since the pandemic began through her company, Work from Home University.

Hutchison is a faculty member and the director of admissions at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Hutchison chaired the Law School’s COVID Task-Force Subcommittee on Online Instruction Readiness in 2020. She developed a passion for helping her colleagues teach and present on (web)camera.

Sarah Gold, co-chair of the Law Practice Management Committee, will moderate the discussion.

Register here for this program.

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