What Lawyers Need to Know in Presenting Their Case to a Judge, Part 2

By: Ronald Dresnick

Pressure On
Judge-Dresnick

There are other key factors to consider that will increase your courtroom effectiveness. Many lawyers decide against traveling to the courthouse to make their arguments. In fact, the Rules of Procedure provide that you can request the court to allow you to present your argument by phone if the hearing will prove to be inconvenient. I only have one rule for you to remember concerning this point: if you want to lose your motion, argue it by phone.

A lawyer’s stock and trade is his or her time. That rule applies evermore so for judges, so remember these few rules. First and foremost, respect the judge’s time. Don’t be late for hearings. Don’t keep the judge or even more importantly, the jury waiting. You’d be amazed at the number of times lawyers have walked into a 30 minute special set hearing five to fifteen minutes late.

Also, do you best to get your documents filed on time. Failure to do so could result in your motion or reply being stricken. And even if not technically stricken, your papers are unlikely to be read by the court before the judge makes her initial consideration. It’s also wise to provide a courtesy copy to the judge even though you have already filed your motions with the clerk. Although some judges prefer not to have paper copies, many still print out a copy to make notes or to have them handy when faced with a few minutes of down time.

Remember, it is all about perspective. Your perspective is standing before the judge. The judge, on the other hand, sits facing you, and what you don’t see is every other lawyer sitting in that courtroom, including the long line of attorneys waiting for you to finish your presentation (argument, rant, etc.). Think about it. The pressure rests on the judge.

I have many more tips to add but have run out of space.

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