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Young Lawyers in the Courtroom Program

Young Lawyers in the Courtroom Program: Hearings and Trials

 

This Court is aware of a trend today in which fewer cases go to trial, and in which there are generally fewer speaking or “stand-up” opportunities in court, particularly for young lawyers (defined for purposes of this program as lawyers licensed to practice law for less than seven years at the time the request(s) to participate is made).  Accordingly, the Court encourages litigants and counsel to be mindful of opportunities for young lawyers to conduct hearings and trials and adopts the following program to encourage such opportunities:

 

  1. In those instances where a party notifies the Court that a young lawyer will argue a motion, the Court will hold an oral hearing on the motion.  If the motion has been set on the submission docket, counsel should notify the Court per the procedures described below that the motion will be argued by a young lawyer and the Court will set that motion for oral hearing, subject to the Court’s schedule and provided that holding an oral hearing will not adversely impact any of the other parties to the case. 

 

  1. When the Court is informed that a young lawyer will serve as lead counsel at trial, the Court will schedule trial for the earliest possible available date on the Court’s docket, subject to the discretion of the judge and court coordinator, as well as the availability of the parties, and provided that the trial setting will not adversely impact any of the other parties to the case.  Serving as “lead counsel” shall mean that the young lawyer: (a) makes the opening statement and/or closing argument; and (b) conducts the direct or cross-examination of ten percent (10%) or more of the witnesses to be called at trial. 

 

To notify the Court of his/her intention to opt-in to the program above, an attorney shall provide notice to the Court on the pre-approved form available on the Court’s website, submitted by e-filing and served on all counsel of record in accordance with the following deadlines: (a) for hearings, no later than seven (7) days before the hearing; or (b) for trials, no later than twenty-one (21) days before the trial.  All other parties to the case may object to the trial setting or hearing in writing within three (3) days of the date of service (in the case of hearings) and within seven (7) days of the date of service (in the case of trials), after which the Court will make a determination as to whether the hearing or earlier trial setting will be granted.  If no objection is filed, the hearing or trial will be scheduled and notice shall be provided by the Court to all counsel of record.

 

The Court understands that there may be circumstances where having a young lawyer handle a hearing or serve as lead counsel might not be appropriate, and the Court will not hold any litigant or counsel accountable for the fact that a hearing or trial is handled by a more senior lawyer.  Even so, the Court believes it is important to provide substantive speaking opportunities to young lawyers, and that the benefits of doing so will accrue to young lawyers, to clients, and to the profession generally.  Thus, the Court encourages all lawyers practicing before it to keep this goal in mind and encourages attorneys practicing in this Court to opt-in to this program whenever possible.

 


Young Lawyers in the Courtroom Acknowledgment Form.doc

Notice Regarding Young Laywers in the Courtroom Program.docx
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