News & Media

Wine, Cheese and Judge's Pet Peeves

Published: October 25, 2010
Wine, Cheese
Vallera Johnson, Gary Bloch '81, Cathy Ann Bencivengo

Wine, Cheese and Judge’s Pet Peeves was a great way to spend a Friday evening for a group of TJSL students who came to the Phi Alpha Delta-Black Law Students Association event on October 22.

Where else are you going to hear this stuff all in one place from a group of judges?

“The fact that you’re here shows that you’re the kind of people who won’t make these mistakes,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo told the students. Some of her advice? “Be on time. Meet and confer with other counsel before you file a motion.”

“Part of being on time is being prepared,” said Superior Court Commissioner Gary Bloch ’81. Also, Commissioner Bloch strongly stressed being truthful in court. “If you shave something off the truth we’ll know it and it will be passed on to other judges. We talk to each other.”

Administrative Law Judge Vallera Johnson added “the other part of being prepared is knowing the law,” while Superior Court Judge Lisa Foster made sure the students understood that “you are counselors at law. So you must represent them, but also counsel them. Don’t let a client stand there in court and say ‘I won’t pay child support.’ The Judge isn’t going to care and the law doesn’t care.”

Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring told the students they will “be appearing before the same judges and deal with the same attorneys perhaps throughout your career. If you build a good reputation, it will come to your aid.”

“The biggest single mistake you can make is not treating the court clerk well,” said Judge Bencivengo. “And the bailiff,” added Commissioner Bloch.

After the panel discussion, the students and judges got to mingle and network in the Courtyard over the wine and the cheese. And who knows? Many of these students may one day appear before the very same judges in the courtroom – and they will be much more effective if they remember what they heard Friday night.