As a new-ish solo practitioner, I am constantly looking for ways to increase both my experience and exposure in the field. Recently, I had a morning scheduling conference for a divorce case in Fairfax County, Virginia, and since those proceedings normally last no more than 10 minutes, I decided to make the trip out there worth my while by watching random court proceedings.
I took in a sampling of cases in General District and Traffic courts in order to get a feel of what these proceedings are like since I have never practiced in them before (I already have some limited experience in Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts). This is what I learned:
* Cops don't recognize the popular concept of "rolling stop." Neither do judges.
* If you ask a witness a question, don't interrupt him before he fully answers. Judges don't like that.
* General seating in a courtroom can be really tough on your back.
* Never, ever let someone use your driver's license to operate a vehicle, even if it's your our own brother and you love him dearly. You might end up with a criminal record without actually doing anything wrong.
Besides that, I did get one very important lesson reinforced out of watching other lawyers practice law in front of judges. Even if s/he disagrees and rules against you, a judge will always appreciate a good advocate.
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