As Board Members for Region VIII of the HNBA, today we had the pleasure of hosting and attending an intimate lunch with Judge Antonio Arzola who is currently assigned to the Civil Division. Judge Arzola was kind enough to share his personal story and journey to the bench. He also shared some of his practitioner tips with those in attendance. Among the points he shared were the following:
- In no uncertain terms, judges discuss the practiioners that appear before them—your reputation matters;
- Do not interrupt your opposing counsel while they are making their arguments;
- Avoid colloquialisms such as “to be honest with the Court,” and maintain the formality that must accompany formal court proceedings;
- While it is proper and necessary to preserve any objections you have to the Court’s rulings on the record, avoid making facial expressions or using language that expresses your displeasure with the Court’s ruling;
- If your motion or argument relies on the Court’s prior statements or oral rulings from a prior hearing, and that prior hearing was transcribed, make sure to provide a copy of that transcript to the Court;
- If you’re going to share case law with the court at the hearing, make sure to bring 3 identical copies of the case(s) for yourself, the Court and opposing counsel; and
- Come to any motion-calendar hearing with proposed orders: one granting the motion, one denying the motion, and one with lines that allows the parties and/or the court to handwrite in more specific language regarding the terms and parameters of the order.
Judge Arzola believes in being accessible to litigants and has an open motion calendar where you can show up the day of the motion calendar if both parties are available. He also informed those in attendance that he would hear longer motions at the end of his motion calendar if he has the time and the parties agree.