Monday, July 2, 2012

Time Off For Good Behavior?

When I was growing up, every few weeks we would head over to the mall and have lunch at Woolworth's.  (For those of you too young to remember Woolworth's, it was a five and dime store, that had a lunch counter and booths.)  One of the best things about lunch at Woolworth's was sitting in the booths by the window.  We would eat our patty melts while watching the people walk by.  I don't know about you, but I love to people watch.  Some folks are dressed in such a way that you wonder if they own a mirror, much less use it prior to leaving home.  Some folks pick their noses, fix wedgies or slap their children.  It was all fascinating, some of it not in a particularly good way.  Now, I've grown up, and I people watch professionally, and not just because it's interesting (it is).  Reading body language tells me how close we are to settlement, whether I'm hitting someone's hot button, and what effect I and my client are having on the judge.  We all know appearances are important, that first impressions count.  I tell clients all the time that the judge is ALWAYS watching them when they are in the courthouse, even when it doesn't seem like it.  Why is it that so many of them don't listen?  A shoving match with your spouse in the courtroom, wearing dirty, holy jeans, sighing and rolling your eyes - the judge sees it all and interprets it, usually not in a positive way.  Your venting your spleen by engaging in a juvenile display, or your not showing the court and its process proper respect all have an impact, and it's not good.  Please, behave like your parents hopefully taught you, and your Sunday school teacher expected - Here in the Trenches.

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