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What should a Virginia personal injury/medical malpractice lawyer never say to a Judge?


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2/20/2013
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Judges want to do the right thing. Their job is to make decisions based on the law and the facts. The lawyers' job is to help the judge with her job. Here are some things judges tell us they don't want to see or hear in their courtrooms.

RUDE BEHAVIOR BY THE LAWYERS. A lawyer can be a strong advocate for her client without being rude to the other side. By the way, jurors don't like rude behavior, either, and a lawyer makes a BIG mistake if she irritates the jurors.

ARGUING WITH THE JUDGE. There's a scene in A Few Good Men whre Demi Moore, a novice militiary lawyer, is trying to make her point and get the judge to change his mind.  The judge has just ruled against her, and her response is, "Sir, the defense strenuously objects and requests a meeting in chambers so that his honor might have an opportunity to hear discussion before ruling on the objection." NOTE: The judge has already ruled on the objection, so why would he want to hear more discussion before ruling on the objection? If you don't like how a judge has ruled, make sure you make a record -- you have clearly made your objection adn the basis for it -- and then move on. By the way, jurors don't like lawyers arguing with the judge, and a lawyer makes a BIG mistake if she irritates the jurors.

USING THESE PHRASES:

  • "To be perfectly honest. . ." You are supposed to be perfectly honest ALL the time, so why say it now? Frankly, it makes a judge suspicious -- and a jury, too.
  • "With all due respect, Judge . . ." This phrase makes a judge feel like you are calling her something like a nincompoop. Is that the impression you want to leave with the judge? Frankly, it gives the jury that impression, too.

Just some hints from a personal injury/medical malpractice lawyer who has seen a few courtrooms and judges and juries.



Category: Injuries and Wrongful Death

Sandra Rohrstaff
Virginia Child Injury and Elder Abuse Attorney

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