As most of you know, my primary practice area is representing people injured in car and truck accidents.
We just completed our sold-out fall seminar on “Maximizing Auto Negligence Claims.” The seminar included a judicial panel featuring five Maryland Circuit Court judges talking about their experiences presiding over car and truck accident cases.
This was a discussion that offered something for everyone, whether a new practitioner or an experienced lawyer. It would be impossible to reproduce all of the excellent advice given, but I want to pass along some choice pieces of wisdom from a few members of our panel.
Hon. Leo E. Green, Jr. (Circuit Court for Prince George’s County): Once you file a lawsuit, you are “on the clock.” This means being ready to actively pursue service on all defendants and to move the case forward. The court’s case time management standards do not allow time for delay. We really do underestimate the pressure the court places on itself to move cases forward. In a place like Anne Arundel County, the “try-by date” is really important to the court. You can’t expect the court to give you a trial date after that date.
Hon. Diane O. Leasure (Circuit Court for Howard County): Be passionate in your advocacy, but not “over the top.” Do not underestimate the value of demonstrative exhibits in opening/closing.
Hon. W. Michel Pierson (Circuit Court for Baltimore City): Don’t assume the jury knows anything! Your job is to educate the jury. Even if you have handled similar cases, don’t let your presentation become rote- it will come across to the jury.
These are just a few of the great tips from our panel. No matter how busy your trial practice is, the judges will preside over more cases in a year than you will try, so you can always learn something. I have been handling car and truck accident cases for over a decade, and I found the discussion to be very valuable. It is also good to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. We want to know what judges need from us so we can give it to them. This helps both us and our clients.
If you weren’t able to attend, a DVD of the seminar is available for purchase from the MAJ. Also, keep an eye out for the upcoming Spring Auto Negligence Seminar.