September 01, 2017

Sua Sponte: A Judge Comments

A judge advises thinking outside the box to gain trial experience.

Hon. Barbara M.G. Lynn

 Download a printable PDF of this article. (Sua Sponte begins on page 2 of the PDF.)

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of thinking outside the box in finding opportunities for stand-up experience in court. My court, the Northern District of Texas, has formalized a process for appointing lawyers where the case of an unrepresented party has withstood initial screening. Most of these cases are actions brought by detained persons, but they could involve legal representations of criminal defendants and of civil plaintiffs. Given that the lawyers are accepting the appointment as a service to the court, after the case is over, some of our judges are willing to provide appointed counsel with a feedback session, in which they will make suggestions for improvements in trial preparation.

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