Might Have To Reschedule Again If You Don’t Stop Interrupting!

, , , | Legal | October 16, 2019

(I work as an attorney. There are strict rules about when and how parties to a lawsuit can communicate with the judge handling it. Essentially, no attorney or client can speak directly to the judge while their lawsuit is pending without the presence or consent of the attorney for the other side, and it cannot be done outside of a hearing or a meeting either called by the judge or scheduled with proper notice given to all parties. Notice requirements have their own set of rules, too. Time and again I have had to explain this to clients who, for reasons I do not understand, seem to think that attorneys can just call up the judge directly to discuss their case. This exchange takes the cake, however:)

Me: “Hi there! I’m just reaching out to let you know that the hearing has been rescheduled for [date]; we will be sending–”

Client: *interrupting* WHAT?! Why was it rescheduled!?!

Me: “Well, the court had to reschedule it. So, we will be–”

Client: *interrupting again* “Why? Why did the court reschedule? Tell me why.”

Me: “The clerk did not see fit to provide us with a reason, so it could be any number of things, really. We will–”

Client: *interrupting a third time* “What did the judge say?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Client: “WHAT. DID. THE. JUDGE. SAY?”

Me: “The judge didn’t say anything; his clerk was the one who informed us of the schedule change, but–”

Client: *interrupting* Why didn’t you ask the judge?! Why didn’t you take this up with him?!”

Me: “Well, actually, we can’t, because–”

Client: *interrupting* “Oh, you ‘can’t.’ I see. You just ‘can’t’.” *I can hear the air quotes she’s using.* “This is unacceptable. You call the judge. You call the judge right now and you get him to un-reschedule.”

Me: “I’m afraid I am unable to do that. You see–”

Client: *interrupting* “Enough! Stop saying you can’t. You can call the judge, and you will, because that is what I’m paying you to do.”

Me: “Ma’am, it would be illegal for us to do so.”

Client: “What?”

Me: “The court rules say that attorneys can not speak directly to a judge about a lawsuit on the judge’s docket while that suit is pending.”

Client: “Bulls***. Where does it say that?”

Me: *cites a long string of court rules* “This is done to protect all parties from having unfair access to the judge. You wouldn’t want opposing counsel to be able to do that, would you?”

Client: “Well, no, I suppose not…”

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