The court system is a highly complex series of rules and procedures. The judge assigned to each case is responsible for enforcing compliance with all of the rules, whether they regard the parties’ pleadings, the discovery process, or trial procedures. As a result, the assigned judge can have a huge impact on a litigated case, as the judge may rule on virtually hundreds of elements that effect a parties’ case.
As a result, it is important to the parties and the lawyers to treat the judge, the court, opposing counsel and the process with respect. Showing respect ensures compliance with the rules of Civil Procedure, the Court Rules, the Evidence Code and the Professional Rules of Conduct. Compliance with these various rules will ultimately become recognized by the court. Although opposing party’s lawyers will advocate their client’s positions, even in a respectful and appropriate manner, making the arguments based upon legal positions, case law and logical analysis is always superior to “gamesmanship,” name-calling and petty complaining.
The judge when, for example, ruling on a discovery dispute, is highly likely to consider the position of the respectful attorney more seriously than a counsel who is behaving poorly, being accusatory of the opposing counsel, or making arguments based upon conduct, as opposed to legal principles.
When in trial, juries are generally highly tuned towards how a lawyer addresses the court, the opposing counsel and even the witnesses. Those lawyers that act with dignity and treat the parties will respect are in a superior position to be accepted and taken more seriously by the judge and jury.
Litigation is confrontational and can be a highly charged experience. Having respect for the process and the players can only assist the client’s case towards a positive resolution.