Two lawyers were on the other side from each other in a hotly contested case where emotions between the clients ran high. One of the lawyers was local and the other was located 150 miles away. A hearing was scheduled for 9:00 in the morning by the lawyer who lived 150 miles away. As a matter of courtesy, the local lawyer offered to cover the other lawyer for the call of the docket, and agreed to start the hearing at 10:00. The arrangement was approved by the Court administrator. There was no motive for the local lawyer to arrange for this one-hour delay, other than kindness.
When the out-of-town lawyer arrived, the two lawyers talked as the court handled what are called “ ex parte matters” with other lawyers. The local lawyer lamented that a child’s travel plans had changed over the weekend and the child was departing that morning for Europe, to be gone for five months. The local lawyer was in some trouble with his wife for missing the departure. Upon hearing that, the out-of-town lawyer said, “Why don’t we agree to hold our hearing at 1:00 p.m. and I will cover for you this time.” After receiving approval from the court administrator, the matter was arranged.
This is a true story. It proves that we are all in this together, and that common courtesy is not only the right way to handle things. It can also come back to benefit you. Credit must be given to the Judge who allowed this, and all who read this should know that neither client’s rights were impinged by the extension of courtesy.