When To Keep Quiet in Court

listentojudgeTenacity is great, but attorneys in the courtroom need to monitor their mouths.

  1. Never talk over the judge. If you are a practicing attorney, you already know the repercussions are generally not positive. In state court, you might be able to get away with it. In federal court, the federal marshals might have you in cuffs before you finish your sentence. If you are a law student, hopefully your moot court instructor will drill into your brain that talking over the judge is an extremely bad idea.
  2. If the judge agrees with you, stop talking. Sounds simple, but some attorneys cannot hear themselves talk enough. I have seen attorneys lose arguments they had already won—because they just had to throw in some extra point or some lame joke.
  3. When the jury agrees with you, you have said enough. As the article below points out, if the jury just decided in your favor, do not poll the jury—they might change their mind. Quit while you are ahead.

Rule 1: When the Judge Agrees With You, Stop Talking | Legal Blog Watch

(photo: Diane M. Byrne)


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