Over the last 15 years of practice, I have developed my own views about how to treat the tribunal – court, administrative agency, UI appeals division, etc – that is adjudicating my own clients’ cases. My approach is to save procedural grievances either for appeal, motions for rehearing or, in extremis, the disciplinary authorities governing the tribunal. It is an admittedly conservative approach, designed to avoid causing offense to the people who control my clients’ freedom, property and good name – such as for example a law license, which involves the current or potential freedom, property and good name of an attorney or attorney aspirant.
Certainly I have encountered a few judges (including administrative judges and UI Hearing Examiners) who seemed at moments unprofessional, unpleasant and lacking in judicial temperament, or otherwise seemed biased or otherwise unreasonable. Every litigator has such experiences. But they have been a small fraction of the set over the last nearly two decades; perhaps due to the minimal role of elections in judicial selection or the requirement that judges must be licensed to practice law, the bench is better here than for example in Pennsylvania, where judicial corruption seems to be a constant theme in the news.
If I did have a problem with a judge, I would address the issue as noted above. Perhaps I would discuss the issue with my closest confidants or, if the judge had an “alter ego” designee with the local Bar association, contact the “alter ego.” This is my approach.
Prominent Florida criminal defense and lawyer discipline attorney Brian Tannebaum has written a post about his practice before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. I do not know Mr. Tannebaum personally, but I have to conclude that at least one of two things is true: either his philosophy of practice is different from mine (likely), or Florida legal culture is very, very different from Maryland legal culture (I am reliably informed that this is true.)
Read the post “Blogging The Florida Board Of Bar Examiners Hearings: Now I’m Confused” and let me know your thoughts. Maybe Tannebaum’s way is better than mine; he does Bar admission litigation and I do not, so perhaps his approach is better founded than mine. What do you think?