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What is a conference hearing before a judge in federal court? what will be the next step after that?

Rochester, MI |

I have a Conference hearing before a judge in federal court after filing a workplace discrimination lawsuit under Title VII (based on national origin and retaliation) . I went pro se . Defendants filed a motion for a summary judgment but their motion was denied. A CONFERENCE date is now scheduled and I'm kind of lost. Can someone help on the following questions?
1. How does this conference work ? what should I expect when going there?
2. is it a trial ?
3. I asked for a jury trial, is that a good move as I fear people on the jury could well not be from foreign nationalities and could also be insensitive to my grievances.
4. If a jury trial is granted, How do I know who is on that Jury?
5. If this Jury does not seem diverse to me, can I ask for another Jury?

Please advise.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

I will preface my answer by saying that you need a lawyer. A federal judge once told my opposing and unprepared lawyer that the Federal Court is the battleship of litigation and not some row boat. Having said that a conference hearing is to assess the status of the case. It will entertain questions on the progress of discovery, possible stipulations and other matters to expedite the resolution of the case. But, be prepared for anything. The court may make rulings on anything which comes up and may even have something in mind. An experienced lawyer will be able to anticipate that. The hearing may well take place in chambers as opposed to the court room and likely there will be no stenographer, especially if in chambers.

As to a jury trial, I would have to know much more about your case. As a matter of preference, demand for a jury would always be at the top of my list, but there are cases where a bench trial might be more prudent. No, because your panel does not have an ethnic balance, you may not ask for a new panel. You will be given a list of what are called veniremen from which the jury will be selected. It will contain the names, ages, occupation and usually the addresses of prospective jurors.


Your questions are for lawyers handling cases like yours. No one can prepare you for this kind of undertaking. I highly encourage you to find a lawyer ASAP. Otherwise, you will be in the dark and likely get beat by the experienced lawyers for the defense. Congrats on beating the Summary Judgment, however.

My answer to you question does not constitute legal advice. Only an in person or telephone consultation will result in an attorney/client relationship. Call me at (313)402-0853 to discuss your matter further.


WHY did you go pro se?
You NEED an attorney.
A jury trial is generally the way to go.