Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for Judges

Hon. William H. Burgess, III, B.C.S.

In response to my recent post, "New Year's Resolutions for Young Lawyers," I have been asked to turn the focus around to the bench and suggest a set of resolutions for jurists.  Here are my suggestions:

#1.  Always bear in mind that you are a servant of the law and not a ruler over the people who appear before you.

#2.  Come to the bench on time and prepared to make rulings on all matters before you.

#3.  Do not let your ego become engaged in any matter.

#4.  Always be polite and listen carefully to those who appear before you.

#5.  Do not make gratuitous comments or statements.

#6.  Base all of your rulings on the law, and not on emotion.

#7.  Be patient and understanding with young attorneys, and encourage them to grow.

#8.  Be patient and understanding with older attorneys, and encourage them to be respectful toward the court and their fellow attorneys.

#9.  Teach the attorneys who come before you that they are counselors first, and litigators second.

#10.  Issue written orders without undue delay, and ensure that the parties receive copies.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for Young Lawyers

Hon. William H. Burgess, III, B.C.S.

Some people believe in New Year's Resolutions; some do not.  I think that it can be a very good thing for one to regroup at year's end and make a fresh start, especially in the case of a young professional.  With this in mind, the following are my suggested New Year's resolutions for young lawyers:

#1. Commit yourself to your own professional and career development.

#2. Master the rules of evidence and procedure.

#3. Improve your writing skills.

#4. Strengthen your relationships with your clients and your fellow lawyers.

#5. Master a new legal skill and become the go-to person for that skill.

#6. Sharpen your time management skills.

#7. If in a small firm or partnership, make marketing a top priority.

#8. Get involved with your local community, as pro bono or volunteer.

#9. Make it a priority to take care of your health and well being.

#10. Always come to court on time, fully prepared, and be on your best behavior.