October 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

Chancellor John Grant is one of two chancery judges serving in the Twentieth District (Rankin County). Here is a Q & A he 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:  Lawyers should be properly attired, punctual and bring with them a working knowledge of the law and procedure with regard to the issue before the court.

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

A:  Good lawyers are always well organized and prepared.

Good lawyers are dignified and extend civility to fellow members of the bar and to the court.

Good lawyers are expedient in their presentations. (They don’t have to ask the same question three times. They make their point and move on.)

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

A:  They should avoid being disruptive or discourteous, whether it be in the questioning of a witness or in making argument before the court.

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

A:  I probably most enjoy being able to participate in the adoption of a child by worthy parents. At other times, it is knowing that an important and difficult decision that I had to make was the right one.

Q:  What part of your job do you enjoy the least?

A:  Having to remove children from a parent who that child loves first comes to mind. Having to sanction a member of the bar for misbehavior is another in the “least” category.

Q:  What is your pet peeve as a judge?

A:  A lawyer will act with restraint and will not be allowed to transition a court case into a dramatic performance for the benefit of onlookers or client.

Q:  Tell us a funny story about something that happened in your court room.

A:  We had a very contentious domestic case one day involving a female pro se litigant and her ex-husband. Prior to the beginning of trial she could only write down her request for a continuance because she could not speak due to some type of throat condition. She professed an inability to properly present her case due to this malady. Her request was denied.

Within 5 minutes of beginning trial the lady’s voice mysteriously returned.

Epilogue: She lost the case.

Q:  Cell phone ringing during a trial: death penalty, stern look, dismay, or no reaction?

A:  Stern look only. (After all it has happened to me – accidentally, of course!)

Q:  Lawyer tells you, “That’s not how we do it back in ________ County.” Discuss.

A:  This comes up from time to time and I usually respond using the great Judge Cortwright’s classic line, “Mr. Jones, are you in Hinds County?”

Q:  Who do you model yourself after as a judge?

A:  I hope I have some of the qualities of three of my favorite mentors: Ed Cortwright, Sebe Dale and Mike Carr.

Q:  Who do you consider to be the best chancellor you ever appeared before, and what set that chancellor apart?

A:  Probably Judge Ed Cortwright. He possesses great character and integrity, much like other fine judges I have known. What set him apart, however, was his brilliant legal mind.

Q:  Share your innermost thoughts and feelings about MRCP 81.

A:  Many have expressed hate for this rule. However, once one is around it constantly for an extended period of time and gets to really understand its application, it reveals itself as probably one of the best protectors of due process for litigants. After all, what’s not to like about a type of process that informs a litigant of when and where to appear for trial?

Q:  What do you do to try and get control of your probate docket?

A:  We require annual accountings, the timeliness of which are monitored by computer program. We also have certain days allocated during the year to deal with delinquent accountings and other fiduciary related matters.

Q:  Should chancery and circuit court systems be merged?

A:  No.

Q:  There are 19 appellate judges. What would be the ideal number of former chancellors serving on the two appellate courts?

A:  About 19.

Q:  Tell us your favorite quote.

A:  ”When I was 14, my old man was so stupid I could hardly stand to have him around the house. However, when I became 21, I was astonished at what my father had learned in 7 short years.” (sic) Abraham Lincoln

Q:  Tell us your favorite court room movie.

A:  My Cousin Vinnie (“Mr. Gambini, are you on drugs?”)


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