J. Layne Smith
This column completes my interview with the Trial Advocate Quarterly journal.
Q. What are some things attorneys can do to make your career a lot easier at hearings? At demo?
A. Read through, realize, and stick to the rules of course of action and court docket orders. Chat with your opponents and get the job done as a result of problems. At hearings, actively hear and make your stage swiftly.
I examine everything to put together for hearings. That features the circumstance documents and the law.
Usually, I am completely ready for a hearing a 7 days forward of time, so you should not wait right until the previous moment to file legal memoranda, depositions, etcetera. Timeliness is a trait of professionalism, and generally much less is additional.
At trial, will not above-item, and do not make talking objections. Point out your basis, and the judge will check with you for extra if essential.
Q. What is one particular attribute of the court technique, or the broader lawful system, that you want could be adjusted?
A We can honor the people’s correct to entry the courts by acquiring much more tolerance and compassion for professional se litigants. Accomplishing very simple items can make a massive variation. For example, I explain rules of technique, the evidence code, the burdens and criteria of evidence, and the court’s anticipations to professional se litigants. Attorneys can help by doing work with them every time probable. Disregarding or currently being hostile to them is counter-productive.
Ultimately, the people’s religion in justice depends on remaining heard, treated with fairness and dignity, and comprehending what occurred and why.
Q. Centered on what you have seen at hearings and trials, what is the variety just one continuing lawful education subject that you believe would profit the lawyers who practice in advance of you?
A. I have often been a large proponent of on-your-feet mastering. Civil lawyers, particularly young types, don’t attempt more than enough scenarios.
I would emphasis on teaching essential trial techniques to inexperienced civil legal professionals. The fruits would be their shipping and delivery of opening statements, closing arguments, and conducting direct and cross-examinations. Peers and instructors would offer constructive comments.
Q. How do you reach get the job done-life balance with your personalized life?
I appreciate what I do. In addition to my work, I compose a column for community newspapers, have printed two books. Have I stated that I will be a applicant to hold my seat in a 6-county circuit in 2022?
I read a lot and love investing my spare time with household, participating in with my doggy, and watching university football. My spouse and I are blessed, and we rely our blessings day-to-day.
Q. If Hollywood created a movie about you, what actor would you want to portray you and why?
A. I’d say the late Brian Dennehy. Why, mainly because he was a gifted actor who arrived across as a normal man. And my spouse thinks he was adorable. But, I am not holding my breath waiting on Hollywood.
The Honorable J. Layne Smith is a Circuit Judge, a revealed writer, and a public speaker. Send out your concerns to [email protected]
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