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The Role of Judges II

Burdine & Brown Feb. 13, 2020

Many times Judges at all levels in the court system, either in the workers' compensation system or in the state court in automobile accident cases or the Court of Appeals, would like to tell us lawyers a “thing or two” about how we present our cases to them.

In the Fulton County Daily Report, Thursday, December 26, 2019, a number of judges were interviewed. Here are some of their comments that us lawyers should listen to very carefully:

“I watch juries and they tend to zone out after 15 minutes. I frequently offer lawyers this tip, but few ever need my advice.” Chief Judge Randall Hall US District Court for So. District of Georgia

“With respect to argument, I am always surprised when an attorney is not prepared to engage with the court. We want oral argument to be a conversation between the advocates and Justices, not a mere recitation of written briefs.” Justice Sarah Warren of the Supreme Court of Georgia

“If the case was flawless, it likely would not be in the courtroom. I prefer that counsel tell me upfront why the facts or law may be distinguishable and why their client should prevail.” The late Steven Goss, Georgia Court of Appeals

“The point. Get to it.” Chief Judge Penny Freesemann, Chatham County Superior Court

Will Rogers, a famous comedian of the 1920's once said about lawyers: ”The minute you read something you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.”

In summation, we lawyers need to always remember who we are speaking to, hoping the judges and juries will listen to us. But one of the most famous lawyers ever, Clarence Darrow, once said: “The trouble with law is lawyers.” We can really “muck it up!”