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Tales From the Bench: “Wine, Cheese and Judges’ Pet Peeves” Continues to Intrigue

November 18, 2013

On Thursday, November 14 Phi Alpha Delta hosted its fall signature event “Wine, Cheese and Judges’ Pet Peeves”. The event consisted of an hour-long question and answer session, followed by a reception that allowed students the opportunity to connect with the judges in a more intimate setting. This year’s panel of judges included: The Honorable Gerald Jessop, The Honorable Linda Birkmeyer, and The Honorable Melinda Lasater. Each panelist brought their unique background and experiences.

Emphasis on professionalism, honesty, and preparation ruled the panel, as all three judges stressed the importance of these traits. “Being unprofessional is the worst thing that I have seen from attorneys throughout my years on the bench,” said Judge Jessop. That sentiment was echoed by Judge Birkmeyer who said “your word is your bond. All you have at the end of the day is your inner ethical core.”

When asked what advice she gives new attorneys, Judge Lasater said “Be prepared. And always admit when you don’t have the answer.”

Courtroom etiquette was also an important topic of conversation. “Always address a judge as “Your Honor” in court. Please do not refer to me as “dude,” said Judge Jessop. “And please don’t show up in flip flops.”

“Shut your cell phone off,” said Judge Birkmeyer. “It is a huge distraction in the courtroom. “And do not bicker with opposing counsel.”

“Think about changing any sentence that starts with ‘well, to be honest’,” said Judge Lasater. “Shouldn’t that be presumed?” she retorted. “And always be on time.”

After the panel discussion, attendees enjoyed a reception in the 8th floor conference room which provided an opportunity for law students to mingle with the Judges and ask more personalized questions.