On May 21, 2014, the DAYL’s Judiciary Committee hosted its first Coffee with the Court with a criminal court judge. Sixteen young attorneys had the privilege of gaining first-hand knowledge from Judge Ernest White in the 194th District Court. While attendees enjoyed coffee and bagels, Judge White discussed the various drug treatment programs he utilizes and shared several success stories of program participants.
In addition, Judge White provided the audience with many practical tips, including when to “cut to the chase” during sentencing hearings. In short, save the theatrics for the jury. Judge White also discussed the types of witness testimony that have the most impact on sentencing decisions –for example, the defendant’s employer rather than the defendant’s mother. Judge White’s tips for young and inexperienced lawyers included:
- Arrive to court on time, and call the court coordinator in the case of conflicts.
- Volunteer to second chair trials in order to get more trial experience and increase chances for court appointments.
- Be prepared – know the facts and the law.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions regarding the judge’s procedures.
These were just a few of the tips that Judge White gave attendees. He also spoke about his personal experiences in the courtroom as a practicing attorney. As a result, many of the attendees who are starting their own criminal law practices walked away well-informed.
The DAYL sincerely thanks Judge White for opening up his courtroom and giving these young lawyers such great insight and advice.