The Federal Bar Association — an excellent group that is worth joining (disclosure: I am a member) — recently held a panel of Northern District judges. Here are my notes regarding Judge Kendall’s comments:
- Judge Kendall will allow parties to appear by phone, if there is a legitimate conflict or need, but prefers not to hear counsel ordering a latte during a hearing.
- She pointed out that an average district judge has a docket of 300 civil and 100 criminal cases, with about 100 pending motions.
- Judge Kendall scans briefs as they come in and meets clerks formally every two weeks to discuss the direction of opinions. Noted that many motions are straightforward to decide.
- Judge Kendall has sidebars with jurors either if a juror has private information to share or if a juror has very strong feelings on any question. Sidebars avoid problems, and lawyers tend to be more human during sidebars. Sidebars also allow lawyers to ask questions that they may not be able to in open court.