Imagine a case in which person A sues person B, and the case is tried before a judge. The judge takes all of the evidence under consideration and objectively supports his/her ruling with accurate factual findings based on the evidence presented at trial. The judge finds that person A is not credible and rules in favor of person B.
Then imagine person A sues person B again on a related matter in the same courthouse, but a different judge presides. Unlike the first ruling, this judge does not take all of the evidence into consideration and supports his/her ruling with subjectively interpreted findings that are factually inaccurate because they are not based on the evidence presented at trial. This judge finds that person A is the credible one and person B is not and rules in favor of person A.
Dear legal consumers, it is not just lawyers who need reform, it is the entire legal system. Almost all consumers enter the legal system thinking they will get justice, but few emerge feeling that justice was served. Anyone entering the legal system needs to understand that the judge presiding over their matter, with a jury or without, has a tremendous amount of power over the ultimate outcome.
Let’s dispel the myth right now: judges are not always just. A judge is a lawyer in a robe, who likely was once a practicing lawyer. Judges are susceptible to the same prejudices and predisposed notions that we all are. The judge assigned to your case may well make the difference between winning and losing.
So, what’s the tip? Before you embark on litigation, talk to your lawyer or potential lawyer about the judges who may preside over your case and how each may affect the outcome. LPR suggests questions like:
- Who are the judges that could be assigned to my case?
- What is the track record for each; how have they ruled in the past on cases like mine?
- Do they tend to favor one side versus the other or any particular type of litigant?
- Which of the judges have you litigated before and what was your experience?
- What do you think my chances of success are with each judge?
While this list is far from exhaustive, the legal consumer should evaluate for him or herself whether to litigate. And keep in mind that the judge you get could be a lead weight on the wrong side of the scales of justice.
You’ve got options. The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field. Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.