— Knowing the Law May Save a Life —

How not to be scared before the judge

In practice, one of the most common fears, of course, is associated with speaking in court. As a trial attorney, Bill Rotts has held hundreds of sessions, including in the Missouri Supreme Court, but one of the cases was very troubling. In it, he represented department store customers who felt they were racially discriminated against. Rotts considered the matter to be very important on a national scale, which, of course, did not add calmness before the meeting. He felt the pressure of experienced lawyers, he was oppressed by the very atmosphere in the 8th US Court of Appeals, the largest federal court in the country. The meetings were held in magnificent ceremonial halls, and the seats of the judges were in the shape of a semicircle, so that they seemed to surround the speakers. “It’s hard to imagine how terrified it all was,” recalls Rotts. To overcome himself, he decided to invite not only his colleague to the meeting, but also his children. “They motivate me to be a good father, and I decided that their presence would help me to get together in court in the same way,” the lawyer explains. He performed as well as never before and is grateful for that to his children. And although Rotts lost that case, he brilliantly won the battle against his fear.

Not only court hearings, but also negotiations with clients can inspire fear. Here lawyers find themselves between Scylla and Charybdis: on the one hand, they need to demonstrate to clients the confidence and strength of their position, on the other hand, they sometimes need to negotiate, which can show them from the weak side, says Lande. The traditional tactic of “rolling everyone into the asphalt” can be justified in court, but less effective when you need to convince a client of something, says lawyer Sevilla Rhoads. “Discussing the terms is the essence of representation in court, and I’m not afraid of that, because I am the plaintiff’s representative and make demands,” says Rotts. “At the same time, clients want this kind of bulldog. do not back down. “