October 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Chancellor Deborah J. Gambrell presides in the 10th District (Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry). Here’s an interview she provided for 12 CCDM.

Q:  Tell us some of your personal preferences that lawyers from outside your district need to know before they come before you.

A:  Please bring the court file from the respective county. Pre-Trial conferences shall be held prior to trials. They are scheduled on Fridays and you should contact the Court Administrator for a setting. We do not schedule hearings that require a court reporter on Fridays.

Q:  What are the 3 attributes that you would consider to set the good lawyers apart from the bad ones?

A:  Good lawyers represent their clients zealously and in doing so are prepared, knowledgeable, and courteous. Lawyers that are not deemed “good” are ones that appear in court unprepared, without necessary documentation for the court to properly determine the disputed issues, and are rude or argumentative. Arguing and screaming is not impressive to me. I have raised six (6) daughters; three (3) of whom lived through sharing the same room without maiming each other. I sat as a Justice Court Judge for thirty (30) years hearing litigants’ disputes without the benefit of counsel so just tell me what you need me to know. Do not interrupt, and do not get upset if I’m not impressed by the bickering back and forth.

Q:  What is the main thing lawyers should know to avoid doing in your court room during a trial?

A:  DO NOT ANNOUNCE “READY FOR TRIAL” IF YOU ARE NOT. Being ready for trial means: 1) having three (3) copies of all proposed Exhibits; 2) having presented a copy of the proposed Exhibits and Exhibit List to counsel opposite; and 3) having all necessary parties present. I’d rather hear, “Judge we’d like to proceed but realize that we are missing a few things that would assist the court in resolving the matter.”

Q:  What part of the job do you enjoy the most?

A:  I enjoy serving my community by seeking to bring litigants to a win-win resolution of disputes. I know that cannot happen all of the time, but when it does, I feel good and have my faith restored in “seeking the good” in people.

Q:  What is your pet peeve as a judge?

A:  I get extremely upset when lawyers are not truthful with me!!! If you have weaknesses or advantages over the other attorney, spit them out in “Pre-trial.” Do not withhold information that will ultimately come to light. It makes me wary of you.

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