Every courtroom should have one of these.

Blawgletter’s theme today highlights the importance of good manners in a trial lawyer. 

Do you know who likes rude people?  Nobody!  Not even grumpy judges — and certainly not their staff.  So please remember:

  1. You can’t say "courtesy" without "court".  Show it to everyone, especially your opposition.  Courtesy projects confidence.  It will please everyone except the other side, whom it will drive crazy.
  2. Make friends with the janitor — and everybody else who works at the courthouse.  "Everybody" includes bailiffs, associate deputy assistant clerks, and even interns.  Trials often turn on small breaks, and you never know where the key one will come from.  Help others want you to get it.
  3. Clean up your messes.  Pick up your plastic water bottles and post-it notes; put papers back in boxes; and move your equipment out of the way.  Leaving a mess implies disrespect, for which you will eventually pay.  (Bonus tip:  clean up the other side’s messes, too.)
  4. Loose lips sink ships.  This WWII watchword applies anywhere in or near the courthouse.  Save your innermost thoughts and feelings for when you get safely out of eavesdroppers’ earshot.
  5. Smile.  Blawgletter has never seen so many happy people as at the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial.  Libby grins as his lawyers beam, displaying confidence that they may not really have.

Barry Barnett

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