Monday, September 22, 2014

Judge's Panel: Mistakes Attorneys Make in Juvenile Court

We had a great turnout for the Judge's Panel on Friday, September 19, 2014.  Judge Jim Michie, Judge Sharon Sipes and retired Judge Kay Lindsay each spoke on Mistakes Attorneys Make in Juvenile Court and answered audience questions.

Judge Michie identified three mistakes he sees and offered the following advice.  First, tone down the adversarial process and focus on helping families.  Second, don't gloss over "squishy words" or those phrases that are hard to define, such as, "reasonable efforts" and "best interest of the child."  These should be argued and advocated in the court room.  Third, file motions.  Don't wait for the next court appearance to ask for things that will help your client and move the case along.

Judge Lindsay's advice was to make sure that your client knows you care.  Cases are much more successful when an attorney cares about their client.  She also discussed the importance of mediation and attending family team meetings.

Judge Sipes noted that attorneys can benefit from an expanded vantage point.  By considering and anticipating what other courtroom players might do next can help you make a game plan to benefit your client.  Judge Sipes also stressed the importance of the rules of civil procedure.  "Yes, the rules of civil procedure apply in juvenile court," she reminded us.

If you missed the panel and would still like to see what the judge's had to say, stay tuned.  It should be available on our website in the next month or so.

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