Anatomy of a Case

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Hearings

Hearings are meetings with the judge, usually in open court and most often "on the record" which means a recording is made to avoid disputes. Many hearings are made under oath. Usually hearings occur on motion made by one party or another, but sometimes the judge can summon both parties to a hearing in an effort to resolve some problem regarding the case.

These take travel time to court, preparation for the hearing, legal research, and actual court attendance. Additionally, delays are rampant, since hearings by judges are conducted at specific times, and in an attempt to hear many cases during that time, your case time is often limited and the judge often appears to favor one side or another. Clients should not be worried if the judge is asking the other side all of the questions, or if she/he is not focused on what you think is important. Often, hearings seem totally unrelated to the issues of the case and they are conducted in language that many people not trained in the law may not understand. These should not always be considered, unless your attorney believes so, as a predetermination as to the result of your trial. Sometimes hearings are vital to the outcome of your case, and many times the results in a hearing are completely unrelated.

It is important to note that if you are required to provide information to your attorney for a hearing, that you should do so as fast as possible, since the attorney may need to conduct additional research after reviewing your evidence. It is also important to be on time, but to realize that attorneys tend to consolidate hearings with their other cases so they can handle several matters in one trip. This may not seem fair to your case, but it tends to keep your costs down, because costs can be apportioned between several cases. Also the court system widely recognizes this likelihood, and allows attorneys to go from courtroom to courtroom in many instances. Expect delays, but do not be upset at your attorney for making trips back and forth, since lawyers are expected to do this.

Also, there will be many periods of time when you will want to ask your attorney many questions about a hearing. It is important to understand that attorneys spend most of their day in litigation hearings, and as such, if you have chosen a reputable experienced attorney, he/she will likely know what information they need from you and when they need it. Remember that they will be doing the talking and arguing to the Judge, not you. They need to be prepared, and they will make the judgments needed to present the relevant issue in its best light.

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