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A Lawyer's Credibility

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Recently, I happened to see an order where (among other zingers) a local judge characterized a party’s argument as “disingenuous” and expressly reminded counsel of the good faith requirements of Rule 11.

At least in a situation involving a judge and lawyers I know, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The issue that prompted this pointed analysis? A mundane, albeit somewhat misplaced, procedural motion.

The judge is not one who is known for being difficult - the contrary, actually.

A lawyer’s credibility matters hugely. Judges and opposing counsel need to have confidence that you are making reasonable arguments, ones based on law and actual facts. Without that confidence, your ability to represent clients effectively is impaired. Lawyers persuade; if one is simply not believable, then it’s just that much harder to make your case or defend a position.

Sadly, knowing the entire cast of characters, I am fairly sure that the arguments which prompted the judge’s ire were not an isolated event. Still, it’s a vivid reminder that a lawyer’s credibility is both precious and easily lost.

Losing credibility is easy. Regaining it is hard, if not virtually impossible.

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