Insulting the attorney's knowledge by making in court corrections and interruptions
Because lawyering is a "learned" profession, the most effective attack on a lawyer is to insult his knowledge of procedure or the law.
-The court can't decipher a motion because it is written so incoherently that the court is stumped. Here, the court my hold up the motion and solicit assistance from the audience.
-The attorney was late for a morning call. Here, the court turns a general morning call into a "time certain" and attacks the attorney's lateness.
-The attorney sought an adjournment improperly. Here, the court reprimands the attorney for seeking an adjournment even if the case is first time on.
Watch for belittling statement from the bench against your attorney.
The court yells at your attorney
Here the court simply raises its voice in order to fluster your lawyer. Lawyers are taught that this is a gentleman's profession where learned arguments are made between people of education and culture. When a judge yells at your lawyer, he locks up right away because he is not accustomed to such treatment. A secondary benefit of yelling is to break up the lawyer's arguments such that an incomplete record is the result. This tactic is used both during pre-trial colloquy and during trial.
Accusing the attorney of yelling at the court
Here, the court tells the lawyer to hold his voice down when in fact the lawyer never raised his voice in the first place. This is an accusation of criminal contempt against an attorney: an attorney cannot yell at the court. So, again, the lawyer's train of thought is interrupted making an incomplete record for future use against the lawyer's client - you.
Talking directly to the litigant
Here, the court bypasses your attorney and communicates directly with you while in court and on the record. This violates the litigation structure established between the court and the litigant and your lawyer might not object thinking that this saves him the step of having to ask you for your input and him having to repeat it to the court. In reality, this is a demeaning act by the court and is a sign of deep disrespect toward your lawyer.
Depriving a record by failure to have a court reporter
Your lawyer discusses issues with the court, and on future appearances before the court, the court does not remember what was said. Here, the court is depriving itself and the litigants a record of the proceedings: the deliberate absence of a court reporter or a working taping system. Although on appeal there is no need for transcripts of the proceeding because the appellate court can decide an appeal using other methods, the lack of a transcript is a sure fire way of depriving your lawyer any way of preserving the record and having it work in your favor.
Coercing a settlement instead of allowing the case to proceed according to the civil practice statute
In this situation, the court shuts off its pre-trial procedural role altogether and activates its settlement role. You'll see a coercive bent toward forcing a resolution of the case often by intimidation or insult. Your lawyer argues to no avail. The court threatens sardonic pendente lite awards to your adversary and in light of those, you have to throw your case.
Imposing an escrow account with a substantial sum without compenation
The most effective way to eliminate your lawyer from the roll of attorneys is to have him mismanage escrow finds. Courts know this. They have a hotline to the disciplinary committee to phone in accusations of mismanagement against lawyers which will suspend them automatically. Here, the court finds an opportunity to impose an escrow agent requirement against your lawyer and if he mixes funds or makes off with funds, his career in the legal field is wiped out.
Dividing the attorney from his client by criticism of the attorney's effectiveness and performance
Throwing a hand grenade into a camp is very effective way to disrupt operations within the camp. Here, the judge criticizes the lawyer in such a manner as to turn you against your lawyer. You will be made to feel that your lawyer sold you out, for example, revealed your files or gave your secrets to the opponent. You may even reveal confidences you shared with your lawyer forcing him to defend himself while your opponent learns all the juicy secrets he needed to win the case against you.
Typically, the court will say your lawyer "malpracticed" you. This is code for your dipping into your lawyer's malpractice insurance fund and getting a payment on settlement from that fund. It is as if the lawyer's malpractice fund is a res in the case subject to calculation and use in the case.
Allowing and hearing impromptu testimony while precluding testimony of the attorney's client
Here, the court allows social workers, professionals and other experts to simply approach the podium during the pre-trial phase of the case and begin to testify on any matter they wish to. This allows an unsworn, one-sided record to be made against you. Your lawyer may object all he wants but the court will not allow any interruptions to the testimony. Your lawyer may even seek relief from representing you because of the one-sided nature of the court's conduct.
Demeaning the attorney by having him "go find out" what his client's assertions are
Here, the court snaps at your lawyer to "go find out" from you a fact of circumstance in the case. Most attorneys in private practice have achieved independence and maturity in the field, and to have a court turn your lawyer into a "go-for" is a serious slight. If your lawyer allows this one instance, then the court will continue the demeaning conduct toward you lawyer and your case goes out the window.
Failing to enforce litigant adherence to the requirement of communciating through counsel
In this instance, you adversaries agents come directly to you and seek your direct input on matters in the case. This circumvents the protections you are due because you retained an attorney. This also facilitates a division between you and your attorney because the agents can now assert you said something when in fact you didn't and your attorney was not present to control the flow of information.
Less sophisticated failures by the court to enforce procedural rules involve failing to enforce discovery rules abound in today's litigation. However, violating the litigation structure cuts off your protection of your lawyer.
Denying counsel's every motion no matter the prayer for relief
No matter what motions your lawyer files and no matter the number, the court always denies the motions. This sets up you and your lawyer for frivolous practice and could lead to sanctions. This also plants the seeds of doubt in your mind that your lawyer does not know what he is doing to lose each and every motion before the court. Be assured it is not your lawyer; instead, it is likely the synergy between your adversary and the court that leads to the denied motions. Watch for your adversary's motions being granted each and every time and you'll know what is going on.
Precluding the attorney's expert while allowing the opponent's expert to slur the attorney
Here, the court finds your privately retained expert to be unqualified to render an opinion on a subject in the case. This is fatal to your case. Then, the opponent's expert opines (and himself may be totally unqualified to do so) and the court accepts everything the expert says. The danger here is that your lawyer may be drawn into the litigation with false accusations of misconduct as assessed by the opponent's expert. Now, your lawyer is not defending you; he is defending himself against the allegations.
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