August 09, 2017

JIOP Etiquette

Ida Wahlquist-Ortiz – December 1, 2014

Yes, please. No, thank you. Excuse me. May I … Do you remember learning these golden phrases? Good manners apply in the courtroom setting, as well. Here are eight tips to keep primed and polished—tweet your tips to: @JIOP_ABA

• Use proper titles: Judge, Mr., Ms., Officer
• Remember to greet folks: good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good-bye
• Don't forget your golden phrases: yes, please; no, thank you; excuse
me; may I
• Keep orderly: place books/files/cases where they belong
• Clean up: dress appropriately
• Listen and learn: don't interrupt
• Be mindful of those around you: keep discreet/your voice in check
• Respect everyone

Here are pointers for interns, from Judges—clerks/JIOP alums: tweet your pointers to: @JIOP_ABA

Topnotch work product:

• Never hand in a first draft.
• Understand the format in which the written product is to be submitted .
• Check the substance (law and facts as you describe them) and the form (grammar, spelling, citation form) of your memos before submitting them.
• Discuss your project with the law clerks during your researching and drafting.
• Complete assignments on time.


• Take the opportunity to observe trials/good lawyering in the courthouse.
• Ask questions as to what you have observed in the courthouse.


• Do not insert yourself without being invited into conversations and meals (invitations will come).
• Keep confidences.
• Do not abuse the privilege of being behind the court's curtain by sharing deliberations in which the judge and clerks engage, or that you have with the judge or clerks.
• Do not exercise judicial discretion in a draft order without first discussing it with the judge.
• Do not discuss what you are working on with anyone other than the judge and the clerks.
• Be careful to avoid participating in gossip.
• There's no pride in authorship—only with the judge's permission may you say that you've worked on an opinion once issued.

A cheery disposition adds much to the collegiality in chambers. Treat all court personnel and lawyers cordially and respectfully and enjoy yourself—you will be having the most fun in the law until you become a law clerk or judge! Tweet us: @JIOP_ABA

Ida Wahlquist-Ortiz – December 1, 2014