Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Judge Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio of the Montgomery County (PA) Court of Common Pleas tells me that when she hands out her Rules of Courtroom Decorum to the lawyers appearing before her, the proceeding flow more civilly.
- When addressing the Judge, always stand – it is a sign of respect for the process.
- Always direct comments and arguments to the bench – a conversation should not occur in the Courtroom with the Judge being left out.
- Know when to stop arguing. When a ruling or decision is made, accept it and move on to the next area of the case.
- During discussions and objections, don’t raise your voice in anger or objection to the Court or your opponent. You can always alter the volume of your voice, but a Courtroom is not the place for yelling and screaming.
- Never point your finger at the Judge, interrupt her or tell her she is wrong.
- Never criticize your opponent personally. Criticize the facts or evidence, but never your opponent or the Judge.
- Know the Rules of Evidence – if you argue them effectively, there will be no reason to have tantrums.
- The Court is not your secretary. Come to trial with sufficient copies of pre-marked exhibits.
- Remember your ethical and moral responsibility to the Court of candor and honesty.
- Don’t react emotionally to a ruling as if it were personally directed to you. If, for some reason, the case is indeed personal to you, you are too close to the issue to be the attorney for the client.
- Law is a profession, not a business. Remember, what is best for your client, may not always be best for your pocketbook.
- Remember you are a professional. You will win and you will lose. This is our legal process.