On October 16 2013, the DAYL hosted its third Coffee with the Court of the year, this time with United States Magistrate Judge Renee Toliver. Judge Toliver provided the fifteen DAYL lawyers in attendance with a behind-the-scenes tour of her chambers and explained the day in the life of a federal magistrate judge. Back in the courtroom where the young lawyers feasted on donuts and coffee, Judge Toliver discussed the role of the United State Magistrate Judge in the federal judicial system, including how the magistrate judges receive assignments from the district judges and the various roles the magistrate judge plays depending on whether he or she receives a case by consent of the parties, a pretrial reference from the district judge, or a motion-specific assignment.
The young lawyers had the opportunity to ask Judge Toliver questions in a relaxed and comfortable environment. As a result, the lawyers learned how Judge Toliver handles discovery disputes, including issuing a standing order that requires the parties to confer and submit joint motions on all discovery disputes. The lawyers also got the inside scoop on Judge Toliver’s pet peeves, which include not conferring with opposing counsel, string cites, and lawyers failing to cite authority contrary to their position. Judge Toliver also explained how she participates in the young lawyers’ initiative for hearings. Judge Toliver enjoys having young lawyers in her courtroom and is happy to give feedback (just not ex parte!). As a result of this great event, the fifteen young lawyers came away with a unique understanding of how United States Magistrate Judges receive assignments and work on cases, as well as practical tips for practicing in the Northern District of Texas and specifically before Judge Toliver.
The DAYL sincerely thanks Judge Toliver for opening up her chambers and courtroom and giving these young lawyers such great insight and advice.