If you were one of the lucky few that had the chance to attend the first Coffee with the Court event on June 14, 2013, you walked away with a better understanding of how to prepare and argue your next motion for summary judgment (or defend against one). Judge Tonya Parker of the 116th Civil District Court took time away from her busy docket to speak to 18 attorneys in her jury room to offer practical advice about drafting MSJs, responding to them and arguing for or against them. Due to the intimate nature of the event, everyone had the opportunity to have all their questions answered and learn useful information that included the following tips:
• Include in your MSJ or response any transcript testimony to which you cite.
• Bring your proposed order on a flash drive in case the judge wants to edit the order before signing it.
• Don’t bother with providing a standard of review; judges know the standard.
• When sending a courtesy copy, send it straight to the judge’s court coordinator and be sure to tab any exhibits so that the judge can easily flip to them.
These were just a few of the tips that Judge Parker gave attendees while they enjoyed coffee and bagels. She also spoke about her personal experiences in the courtroom as a practicing attorney and relayed information about the practice of law in general. As a result, attendees walked away well-informed and better prepared for the next time they had to file or respond to a MSJ.
The DAYL Judiciary Committee truly appreciates Judge Parker volunteering her time to help develop a group of young lawyers. For those unable to attend, please watch for emails and publications regarding future Coffee with the Court events so that you can see what everyone is talking about.