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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2015

Private Judging/ Membership Picnic Your Day in Court continued from page 17 Rule 1.3 Diligence (Rules of Professional Conduct) states “A lawyer shall not willfully neglect a legal matter entrusted to him.” If a lawyer knows his/her case may take 15 to 24 months, or longer (non-jury) with the assigned judge, does he not owe it to his client to present the option of Private Judging? Yes, there are other factors to consider, including cost, but it may be in the client’s best interest to be heard sooner rather than later. We all know a client’s interest may often be adversely affected by the passage of time or a change in circumstances. Private Judging provides an option for clients and may remove any anxiety they have about their day in Court. Recently, there have been ongoing discussions about expanding the use of Private Judging as an option to consumer contracts and contracts in general, in place of arbitration or as an option to arbitration. This is a novel idea when one considers the time factor in getting heard, the finality of the decision, and the cost savings in having the issue resolved sooner rather than later. All of the judicial requirements are in play, as with any other Circuit Judge, including the right to appeal. Considering all of the positive aspects of Private Judging, not every contract, tort, combination of contract and tort, or domestic relations case is suited for Private Judging. The parties may want the public forum, or they and their lawyers may not be ready to go to a Private Judge because they are unfamiliar with the process. Hopefully, this article will be educational to the point of all lawyers being familiar with the option of Private Judging. In addition, all judges, especially the Presiding Judges of each circuit, need a working knowledge of the Act and how it might benefit their individual caseloads by reducing their dockets. It is not uncommon for a judge to suggest that the parties mediate their case. Taking it a step further, why not suggest the parties consider Private Judging? Your day in Court: Sooner or later. Why wait? G The Legendary Birmingham Bar Membership Picnic continued from page 23 vate grudges for claimed good reason, we liked each other and enjoyed each other’s company. We knew that our lives would be better if we warred as adversaries, but treated each other with civility and respect. The sheriff of Shelby County, C.P. “Red” Walker, was our friend also. In those days of political incorrectness, though, he would station patrol cars at the roads leading from the picnic as it was winding down around dark or a bit after. They would stop the lawyers who needed stopping and haul them off----to their homes. The tradition of Birmingham as a singularly good place to practice law is due in large measure to the bar picnic and the relaxed cordiality it engenders. May it last forever. – Art Hanes . . . entertaining and impressive is the vast collection of antique and vintage cars at “Car Heaven.”  The BBA picnic is definitely one of my favorite events.  While it is more “reserved” in recent times - and thus less memorable - (I remember getting home from some at around midnight— and being in trouble for some time thereafter,) the fun-loving disposition of some of the young folks gives me cause for hope that it will again become one of the best and memorable parties Birmingham lawyers may attend. – Dudley Motlow Being on the Entertainment Committee is an honor and privilege. It is a labor of hard work, love, enjoyment and fellowship. – Nick Callahan, III Obviously, the Spring Picnic is an event not to be missed. The food is always delicious, the drinks are always free-flowing, the lawyers are relaxed and comfortable. We get to experience each other’s company in a way that is rare on the other 364 days of the year. In my opinion, it is important to step out of our normal roles, take off the coat and tie and set aside the boring, uptight reputation with which we are often saddled. I always look forward to the Spring Picnic and hope never to miss it. One year, I saw a lawyer with whom I was involved in a case. He told me at the picnic that he could not stay long because he needed to get back to the office to finish writing a reply brief in our case. I begged him not to go and promised that we would agree to continue the hearing so that he could stay longer. I believe it is just as important, if not more, to share these fun times together where we can just hang out, eat good food and share a beer before getting back to the daily grind. G Well done Entertainment Committee! Here’s to Next Year’s Picnic! 34 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2015
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