J. Layne Smith
Not too long ago, I did a judicial interview with Demo Advocate Quarterly. I believed I’d share my responses to queries from major trial legal professionals in Florida.
1. What is the most frequent trait you see in attorneys who you look at to be the finest in their respective fields?
The best trial legal professionals choose delight in their work, really like to contend, and put their consumers first. They prepare, get to the stage, and present as thoughtful, first rate, and sincere. Normal people can relate to them, and they seldom overreach.
2. What normal information would you give a young lawyer who is up from a discourteous or overbearing opposing counsel?
Keep on being expert and defuse volatile scenarios. When responding, be agency and well mannered. Never do anything you can not easily make clear to the Main Justice. People observe how you take care of everyone, such as opposing counsel. Don’t forget, jurors resent bickering legal professionals, so behave.
3. What is 1 new standpoint you obtained upon turning into a decide you did not have as an attorney?
I underestimated how considerably studying the position calls for. As an advocate, I required to gain. As a judge, I you should not choose sides. As a substitute, my aim is to boost owing approach, fairness, and conclusions on the merits.
4. What is the most widespread slip-up you see attorneys commit at trial?
Some lawyers present up unprepared and squander time. Some others you should not know when to end conversing and overkill each and every position. The worst example is the lawyer who won’t fully grasp the variation amongst getting a discovery deposition and cross-examining a trial witness. Be geared up and regard the jurors’ time.
5. What varieties of scenarios qualify for an unexpected emergency listening to?
True emergencies commonly come up in relatives regulation, prison, probate, or guardianship cases. Believe loss of life, dismemberment, human trafficking, or the removing of kids from the jurisdiction. Civil injunctions involving irreparable accidents, no suitable treatment at law, and a chance of achievements on the deserves also qualify for crisis hearings.
Waiting until the past second to plan a listening to is not an crisis.
6. Have you detected any good or unfavorable tendencies that are impacting the observe of legislation?
I hope and pray that the coronavirus pandemic breaks shortly. 1 optimistic course from the past yr is our expanded use of Zoom and phone conferences. In the future, I anticipate much less folks to go to short non-dispositive hearings in-particular person.
Attending hearings through know-how will conserve them vacation expenses and cut down on non-effective vacation time. Clients, and legislation companies that advance fees, will appreciate these savings.
A latest detrimental pattern is the flip-facet of the exact same coin. A person detail I like about being a demo judge is observing and interacting with attorneys and people today in individual. The much more economical we get making use of technological know-how, the less immediate interaction we will have with one particular an additional.
I’ll finish the interview by answering thoughts 7-11 in my up coming column.
The Honorable J. Layne Smith is a Circuit Judge and the creator of “Civics, Regulation, and Justice—How We Became U.S.” Send your questions to [email protected]
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