Monday, November 2, 2015

Why attorneys call the trial judge "the court"

Yes, there is a reason attorneys call the trial judge “the court”. And it's not just because that's the formality we were taught in law school. As so excellently phrased by this article:

“But the very best litigators know that however prepared the litigator is, however much experience in the relevant area of law she has, and—here is the hardest part—however right the lawyer may actually be on the law, the only law that is going to matter in deciding the motion is the law as the trial judge in front of them, right then and there, finds it. The best litigators who win know to listen to what the judge thinks the law is, and make their argument to that interpretation of law of that judge—the court on that motion.”
Yes, the law is what the judge says it is, even if the attorney can quote the actual language of the actual law which is actually NOT what the judge actually thinks it actually is.

In fact [actually], back before I realized this particular principle, I was once in a courtroom and I pulled out a copy of the relevant statute, and read from it verbatim.

The judge replied - “Counsel, I know what the law is. But in my courtroom, we do things my way.”

Then he ruled contrary to the law.

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