J. Layne Smith
Just lately, I did a judicial job interview with Trial Advocate Quarterly. I assumed I’d share my responses to queries from major trial attorneys in Florida.
1. What is the most prevalent trait you see in attorneys who you consider to be the best in their respective fields?
The best demo attorneys choose delight in their function, really like to compete, and put their shoppers 1st. They get ready, get to the point, and current as considerate, good, and sincere. Standard people can relate to them, and they hardly ever overreach.
2. What normal advice would you give a younger legal professional who is up from a discourteous or overbearing opposing counsel?
Continue to be experienced and defuse volatile predicaments. When responding, be organization and polite. Do not do everything you are not able to comfortably reveal to the Chief Justice. Men and women recognize how you address absolutely everyone, together with opposing counsel. Don’t forget, jurors resent bickering lawyers, so behave.
3. What is one new point of view you acquired on starting to be a judge you did not have as an attorney?
I underestimated how a great deal examining the job calls for. As an advocate, I needed to get. As a choose, I don’t take sides. Alternatively, my objective is to endorse owing course of action, fairness, and selections on the merits.
4. What is the most frequent mistake you see lawyers dedicate at demo?
Some attorneys present up unprepared and waste time. Other folks do not know when to end speaking and overkill every single position. The worst case in point is the attorney who isn’t going to have an understanding of the distinction between getting a discovery deposition and cross-inspecting a demo witness. Be prepared and respect the jurors’ time.
5. What sorts of scenarios qualify for an unexpected emergency hearing?
Accurate emergencies usually come up in family members regulation, legal, probate, or guardianship circumstances. Assume dying, dismemberment, human trafficking, or the removing of little ones from the jurisdiction. Civil injunctions involving irreparable injuries, no enough remedy at law, and a chance of success on the merits also qualify for emergency hearings.
Waiting right up until the final instant to schedule a listening to is not an crisis.
6. Have you detected any optimistic or negative trends that are impacting the exercise of legislation?
I hope and pray that the coronavirus pandemic breaks soon. Just one constructive direction from the previous year is our expanded use of Zoom and phone conferences. In the long run, I hope fewer persons to go to brief non-dispositive hearings in-human being.
Attending hearings by way of know-how will help you save them journey charges and lower down on non-successful vacation time. Shoppers, and legislation corporations that advance costs, will appreciate these personal savings.
A latest damaging development is the flip-facet of the exact same coin. One particular issue I really like about currently being a trial judge is observing and interacting with lawyers and folks in individual. The additional successful we get using know-how, the considerably less immediate interaction we will have with a single a further.
I’ll end the job interview by answering queries 7-11 in my next column.
The Honorable J. Layne Smith is a Circuit Judge and the author of “Civics, Legislation, and Justice—How We Turned U.S.” Send your inquiries to [email protected]
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