Sit through a court call to gain some insights

If you plan on filing an important motion in your business litigation case, and you do not have a great deal of experience with your judge, consider sitting through a court call before you file.

Judges have their own preferences, procedures, and inflections when addressing complex, disputed motions. Some rely extensively on the briefs and only ask specific questions of interest, while others permit limited argument while still others allow counsel to present their positions with liberal time allotments. (Many judges today rely exclusively on the papers without oral argument at all.)

By monitoring a call, you can learn a great deal about what to expect in court. For example, you can track:

• how many cases typically are heard on given day

• how much time the court spends on each case

• whether the judge marks up the brief, comments on its length, or how he or she otherwise utilizes the written material

• whether the court review the written submissions as the argument progresses

• whether rulings are typically taken under advisement, made in writing or issued verbally from the bench?

Lastly, make sure to check the judge’s standing order. The court may have specific requirements or expectations, and properly expect their rules to be followed.

Knowing the answers to these sorts of questions can make you a better in-court advocate for your client. The results will be well worth the effort.