Important Trial Tips – Chapter 5 – Treat the Court Staff Like They Are Your Best Friends

By: Leonard A. Martinez, Attorney at Law

While it might be our fifth installment, this tip is really number one. Nonetheless, treating the court staff as if they are your best friends is essential for any trial lawyer.

The key to a happy judge is when the judge’s staff is happy themselves, and when everyone is seemingly on your side, it’s hard to lose. To this knowledge, it is evident that no matter what situation being on good terms is extremely beneficial, even if it is dramatized interactions. If you talk with any former judge, they will tell you similar information, especially when concerning their clerk.

There is nothing that can convince a judge more than his own clerk, not even a hot shot attorney like yourself can interfere; additionally, the clerk can make your life a lot easier by scheduling your case appropriately. Having your case called up first or even getting pleadings in front of the judge for their review can make any hectic trial smoother. So essentially start your first interaction with the judge’s clerk. Now when I said treat the staff well, I’m not implying the old-fashioned wine and dine, instead I am talking about common courtesy, kindness, and most importantly of all- patience. These acts alone can go a long way to warming any individuals heart.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can occasionally give them a nice card or gift certificate, but remember, there is a fine line between generosity and bribery. Words from a former judge I know has said “I always noticed the attorneys that came in and were very pleasant to my clerk, bailiff and even sheriff’s in my courtroom. However, I also never forgot the attorneys that were rude to them as well”.  So, remember if you want to argue a case in front of a happy judge make sure you have established a good relationship with his/her staff to help you achieve your goals in the courtroom.

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