January 01, 2019 From the Bench

Going from Trial Lawyer to Trial Judge

Trial insights that a judge wishes that he had recognized while still a lawyer.

Hon. Dean Hansell

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Making the transition from trial lawyer to trial judge has been a great journey. The job satisfaction rate among judges is high. Few of us ever will return to private practice, even those who enjoyed being there.

So today I sit in a different seat in the courtroom and see everything from a new perspective. While most of my early insights about judging are not truly new, I wish I had known them better and understood them more fully when I was an advocate. And for those insights that I did know then, I really wish I had learned them sooner and paid more attention to them. It might have made a world of difference.

As I see it, there are few if any judicial secrets. None of these points is a surprise. Rather, they all are common sense and well known, yet each is ignored more often than heeded.

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