Most probably, this would seem like a no-brainer and an obvious thing for any Lawyer to do even before entering the Courtroom, but it’s NOT. I’ve seen far too many instances where a Lawyer appearing before a Court, is shockingly not really prepared with his case that well. He is busy flipping pages back and forth, often referring back to the index again and again in order to ascertain the pages of relevant documents. When you think he finally has a grip on things, the moment a new query comes his way, the vicious cycle of flipping pages repeats itself…AGAIN.
You know what the Judge is really thinking at that particular point of time?
“You had one job!”
I don’t think I need to make it more obvious, but this situation really creates a bad impression about that Lawyer. The Judge probably thinks that either the Lawyer is not interested in pursuing the case hence the lack of preparation, or maybe he is just not a good Lawyer to begin with. That, I can say, is the most damaging thing for a Lawyer and his career. Continue reading →
There is a lot riding on a Lawyer’s shoulders when he walk into a Courtroom. There is a tremendous amount of preparation which goes behind every Court hearing. But a common misstep I see a lot of young Lawyers making in the Courtroom is that they are so eager to argue and get the facts of their case out of their system, that they fail to realize what the Judge is asking from them, what is his reaction to their arguments and whether he’s even listening to them or not.
It was only last week that I saw a young guy in Saket District Courts, standing as a proxy counsel for his senior, who was probably occupied in the Delhi High Court, yapping non-stop for 10 minutes straight, without even waiting to see what the Judge had in mind.
He wasted 10 minutes in arguing as to why his senior can’t make it to the Court and why they had not yet filed a reply to an Application. Had he observed the Judge more closely, he would have understood that he was predetermined to adjourn the case and grant a period of 4 weeks to file the reply, without even hearing arguments of any sort.
A severe downfall of this mistake is that these arguments don’t have much impact on the Judges anyway. That young guy could have simply waited for the Judge to give him a lead, and then formulate his arguments accordingly. I’ve even seen Judges, literally, scolding Lawyers to stop their rambling, keep quite and listen to them first.
Few pointers I can give to my fellow (young) Lawyers would be to:
Keep your calm in the Courtroom.
Don’t rush your arguments.
Understand, learn and practice the art of pausing while presenting your case and even during arguments.
Try to keep your pitch soft and your pace a little slow so that the Judge can easily understand you and keep pace with you.
Don’t focus only on your notes, but also try to watch the Judge’s reaction and mood so that you are able to mould your arguments accordingly.
Practicing these Lawyering tips can add a lot to the quality of your presentation and arguments in the Courtroom. The resulting impact on the Judges would hopefully get you a much more favorable Order.
How do you think your fellow Lawyers can improve their presentation skills for compelling and effective arguments in the Court?
Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.
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