WE ALL WORK IN A HYPER-COMPETITIVE, STRESS FILLED ENVIRONMENT: The practice of law can be demanding and exceedingly stressful. Put an ordinary individual (which includes even the most well balanced and well-adjusted judge or lawyer) in a hyper-competitive, stress filled, emotional, high stakes environment such as the law, and you have the formula for a psychological crisis. According to an often-cited Johns Hopkins University study of more than 100 occupations, researchers found that lawyers lead the nation with the highest incidence of depression and unhappiness.
TEN (10) TRAITS & HABITS EVERY JUDGE & ATTORNEY SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR: Although there are many legal professionals that are truly happy, most of us bounce back and forth between happiness and unhappiness depending on the day. According to Psychology Today, there are ten traits and habits that chronically unhappy people have mastered. However, it is important to remember, we all have bad days, even weeks when we fall down in all ten areas. The difference between a happy and unhappy life is how often and how long we stay there. This Training Update outlines the ten traits and habits to guard against.
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There is a myriad of publications and articles dedicated to the improvement of legal writing. Unfortunately, in many of these materials, you need an English degree to understand anything past the first paragraph. There is, however, a simple way to dramatically improve any style of legal writing that has nothing to do with dangling participles or misuse of pronouns, etc.
“Cutting” down your writing is the key to making it better. Cutting does not require any particular knowledge of grammar or writing style. This training update covers three basic steps that every judge and attorney should learn to follow.
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PendletonUpdate15-14 (replaced by 20-02)
THE PROBLEM: In a perfect world judges make decisions by applying legal analysis to the facts of a case in a rational, fair and deliberate manner. But in the real world, we know that judges, despite their best efforts, are often subject to the same foibles, biases and imperfections that affect everything humans do. We would love to believe that a judge’s rulings are solely based on rational decisions and written laws. In reality, they can be influenced by a variety of non-relevant factors that may be so subtle that they go mostly unnoticed by attorneys, the parties and most importantly, judges themselves. In order to keep this update short and concise, these non-relevant factors are broken down into two main categories:
1) IMPLICIT BIAS; and 2) DECISION FATIGUE.
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FUNNY JUDICIAL QUOTES: In honor of this being the 100th Judicial Training Update issued since 2010 I offer a bit of uncharacteristic judicial humor. If anyone has ever questioned whether judges too have a sense of humor, you need look no further than this top 10 list of the funniest judicial quotes found in the legal blogosphere.