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A Judge's View : Things that lawyers do that annoy or impress judges

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  • A Judge's View : Things that lawyers do that annoy or impress judges

    Hello All,

    Found this article that might be of use to those who will be or are currently involved in family law process. If it doesn't belong in this section please move to proper area.

    A judge’s view: things lawyers do that annoy judges;
    things they do that impress judges

    This paper was presented by the Honourable Mr. Justice Joseph W. Quinn at the 2012 Family Law Institute in Toronto on February 10, 2012. It has been expanded slightly to incorporate comments made orally by Justice Quinn on that occasion.

    The article is 44 pages long and written with lawyers in mind, but I think any self-rep could draw some good points and wisdom from it. It discusses proper manners and decorum, courtroom geography (who should sit where), how to present / write materials and other useful advice.

    He also includes some experiences he has witnessed to illustrate his points.

    13. Speak through the court

    [59] Counsel should not engage in conversation with each other but,
    instead, speak through the court, as in, “Your Honour, will my friend be
    amending his pleading?” rather than addressing opposing counsel directly

    and asking, “Dumbo39, are you going to amend your pleading?”

    [60] A police officer was testifying at trial and he asked the lawyer who
    called him whether he might refer to his notes. The lawyer answered, “Yes.”
    This is incorrect. Counsel should have looked to the judge who would then
    have sought the position of opposing counsel and made a ruling.

    [63] The easiest way of avoiding these little missteps is to remember that
    the judge is the boss in the courtroom. His or her permission is required for
    everything, from calling witnesses to going to the bathroom.
    My Ex's lawyer often tried to address my lawyer directly until the Judge reminded him of the fact above.

    20. Master your facts

    [75] It is annoying how often counsel do not know some of the basic facts
    in their case. Moreover, they are unable to locate the information in their trial brief or in their file, often suffering the shame of slinking into the body of the courtroom to obtain the information from their client.

    [76] You must master your facts (technically, I realize, you master the
    evidence and the judge determines the facts).

    21. Be organized

    [77] Be organized. Avoid paper confusion. What has become of trial
    binders? I rarely see them anymore.

    48 At least two months before trial, you
    should devote thirty minutes to setting up a trial binder, with tab dividers
    and lined paper
    He includes an example on how these binders should be organized in a chronological fashion later in the article.

    24. The written word is more effective

    [92] I am sorry to be the pin that pricks your thespian balloon, but oratory
    wins elections, not family trials. The written word reigns.

    (a) put position in writing for court at earliest opportunity

    [93] Put your position in writing for the court at the earliest opportunity. It
    is no longer true that a factum is merely “a prop for oral argument.” With
    the volume of cases now heard in our courts and the frequency with which
    decisions are reserved, the impact of oral submissions will fade with time.
    There is no good substitute for your own position on an issue and the surest
    way to that end is to put your position in writing and hand it up to the judge
    (through the courtroom registrar, of course).

    [94] I happen to believe that the only purpose served by oral argument is to
    respond to questions by the court arising from written argument.
    I hope this articles helps,

    Have a great day,
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