“We willingly traded the extra travel time and inconvenience of appearing in court for the opportunity of the in-person courtroom experience where we saw old friends, made new friends, and learned how to effectively relate to opposing counsel and the court. Just as surgeons need to be in an operating room, litigators and trial lawyers need to be in the courtroom.”
The elimination, in various venues, of the in-person courtroom experience is stunting the professional growth of new lawyers and judges alike. We call for the establishment of hybrid hearings which provide lawyers the option of virtual/in-person courtroom appearances of all hearings and non-jury trials. Jury trials should be exclusively in person for the lawyers.
The convenience of virtual hearings has rendered in-person hearings lasting less than 30 minutes passé in some jurisdictions. As these represent the majority of hearings, newly minted lawyers are deprived of learning their way around the courtroom, including thinking on their feet, the adept utilization of exhibits, case law, statutes, as well as interaction with court clerks, bailiffs, judicial assistants, opposing counsel and the judge.