One of the advantages of being in a private practice is the opportunity to travel and practice in different courts.
What’s the advantage? There are 3 that immediately come to mind.
First, it’s just a pleasure to see so many different people, from court staff, to attorneys, to judges. Each court has its own character, and understanding how different people think and act can give a leg up when in the courtroom.
Second, the travelling attorney is much better equipped professionally as a consequence of exposure to so many different methods of practicing law. Thus, the new concept & technique that prevailed in Jackson last week can be used in Kalamazoo this week.
Finally, the exposure to so many different legal environments provides a challenge for the attorney to constantly improve inter-personal management skills, which essentially means the travelling attorney does not have the luxury of getting comfortable and complacent.
This was apparent in a recent visit to Washtenaw County Circuit Court in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the sentencing hearing of an embezzlement case. My experience taught me the court was hyper-formal. Using this knowledge in negotiation with the prosecution and skillful management of the case, I was able to protect my client from a 20 years prison sentence, instead garnering probation without any jail time – a much better outcome.
What’s the disadvantage in staying limited to a single court?
When an attorney is relegated to practice in a single court, that attorney is exposed to only one way of doing things. Thus, the attorney becomes comfortable in that one court and might falter in other courts. This is also true for many assistant prosecutors, who are assigned to a single court only, which usually involves assignment to a single judge’s courtroom. So, the assistant prosecutor will become comfortable managing litigation in that one courtroom, but will have limited experience in managing litigation in other courts.
In any given week, I am usually travelling to court for hearings in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Allegan, Hastings, Centreville, and Paw Paw. However, sometimes we have the opportunity to travel to courts that are a bit farther away, including Grand Rapids, Holland, Lansing, Charlotte, Coldwater, Jackson, and Pontiac. These experiences and our exposure to different protocols, cultures and attitudes helps us provide exceptional legal protection.