Three Career Lessons I’ve Learned from Judges

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Listening Skills

Judges have taught me that you have to know the subject matter you are listening to and then you have to know what you are listening for.

Judges are charged with following who is speaking,   what is said and how it is said while making sure the Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure are followed. That means they are listening to everyone speaking and applying the basis of their role and their words throughout the litigation process.

When it is a bench trial they are going to rule on the evidence presented. So, they apply their knowledge of the law and precedents in such cases.

That is a lot of knowledge to keep up to date. It is also a lot of filters to keep in place.

Patience

Judges have taught me to evaluate a situation and the intent of a person who is disrupting a proceeding before reacting.

There will always be participants in a trial that have no clue about courtroom protocol or rules of the judiciary. Sometimes first time lawyers fall into that category. It is difficult to fulfill your responsibility when the smooth flow of order is upset. Just three words will exemplify the full range of possible tests of patience:  Pro Se Witness.

Realizing a Passion to Serve

Judges have taught me to pull the curtain away from the somber rituals and courtroom décor and know the history of the purpose of service in the judicial system.

When you look at the history of the development of our judicial system, you learn the depth of the value for such service. If you take the time to consider each participant, from Bailiff to Court Reporter, from Interpreter to Lawyer, you will realize that we are all walking a road paved with hard work and dedication to justice. I truly enjoy that honor.

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