Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It really IS a team sport!

When someone asks you if you interrupt the proceedings, what do you say? 

I say ABSOLUTELY.  My duty is to the record, not anyone's ego.  When I started the job in the court system, I was a little worried about how that would be welcomed.  In depositions, I was pretty confident and had no trouble asking for help of the parties/witnesses.  In court, I was really hoping it would be the same. 

When I met my current judge, we chatted, and he agreed that he would have NO IDEA what I was or was not getting and that it was incumbent on me to let him know.  PHEW.  And whenever I go out of county, I introduce myself to the judge I'll be working for and let them know that's how I operate.  All have welcomed it.

Today it came up in spades!  It was a civil case, wherein the plaintiff was a member of a corporation and their attorney was asking to withdraw... All the parties and their attorneys were present.   It was starting to get a little hairy in there, and I glanced at the Court and he suggested that they only speak one at a time, or "she" (me) would yell at "us" (the participants, including His Honor).  Another 20 pages or so, and I did interrupt.  Loudly, abruptly, but politely, "I'm sorry.  One at a time, please."  To which the offending party took offense and wanted the Court to admonish ME.

I do so love my judge.  He said, in no uncertain terms, that NO, it is her JOB to do that, and the only way she can retain the words is to do it suddenly and loudly so that we stop.  We have to respect that she cannot take two people talking at the same time.  It is PHYSICALLY impossible.

We had no more problems the rest of the day.

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself - AND THE RECORD.  This is our DUTY.  If you are NOT GETTING IT, you MUST say so.  Don't rely on audio.  More often than not, there will be a malfunction; you MUST use your brain to recognize when you just can't get something.  The true professionals will appreciate your record consciousness.

1 comment:

  1. Great info, Tori! Its nice to know that judges are understanding and will back you up if you need to halt the proceedings. Thank you for sharing this!

    -Angelia Bell