First, there are no tricks. There is just enthusiasm, and respect. And the basic rules of human behavior.
Judges like people who like and respect them; who respect their time; who do what they say they will; who are pleasant; who like to avoid unnecessary fights; who are accessible.
Most judges don’t like presiding at trials. They’re not afraid of trials, but every time there’s a disagreement, there’s a chance they’ll do something wrong. And trials keep them from getting other things done.
In fact, most judges really don’t like disputes between lawyers. I do everything I can to get the other lawyer to agree with me before I ask the judge to step in and resolve it.
Judges generally do not like continuing a case to a later trial date. They are concerned that the lawyers are “beating around the bush”, avoiding the issues, causing the case to drag on longer at the expense of the justice system and at least one of the people in the lawsuit. So if I am going to need more time for something, I try to tell the court about it as far in advance as possible.
Judges hate it when a lawyer won’t answer a question directly. I try to answer the judge’s questions as directly as I can; if I can’t be definite, I try to tell the judge why I can’t be definite.
And I try to steer the conversation to issues that work against the other side. To put the other lawyer in a position where he has to choose between giving a definite answer that will hurt him, on the one hand, and not answering the question at all.
I can summarize all this in just a few short rules for lawyers:
• Show up when you’re supposed to.
• Do what you say you will, when you say you will.
• Know your case – the facts and the law.
• Know what your client wants, and talk to your client about whether this is reasonable.
• Try to get to the point in everything you do.
• Be nice. Especially when it kills you.
• Give the judge what he wants.
I have had judges call me and ask me to handle cases for family members, or other friends. I have had the same judge who accused me (undeservedly) of malpractice and threaten me (also undeservedly) with contempt in one trial treat me later with the utmost respect and understanding.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I get more done by getting along with my own clients, with the other lawyers, and with judges. If you’ve been injured in an accident, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.