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Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014

Time restrictions? I am informal when it is only lawyers. I will let lawyers go back and forth for a long time to finish their points. I give them a lot of latitude for argument. No time limits on trials, voir dire, opening or closing. Jury trials: So far I’ve had twelve jury trials. I provide doughnuts and fruit to the jurors every morning during trial. Some of them may not want to be here, so it makes it a little better. Technology? Use it. Make sure it works. Always know your equipment before working it because if you don’t, the jurors will hold it against you. They get impatient. But they do like it, especially if it means a video deposition over reading it. It makes things come to life. They can see the witness and judge his/her demeanor. I learn best by viewing. I’m a visual person and when a lawyer has a power point and they give me a copy of it, it gives me something to review when I’m making my decision. It makes things simple. I like simplicity. Trial Continuances? I don’t like continuances. I will ask lawyers to send me their recommendation for a trial date based on how long the case will take to prepare and what works best for their schedule. You can tell me what you think the scheduling should be. But, once you tell me the schedule and I adopt it, then it has a great deal of finality to it. That trial date is firm. I rarely will grant a continuance. Discovery disputes? I welcome them. If you are having a problem, feel free to call me, or come see me. We will make it work. Summer comfortable? I think lawyers should dress like lawyers before a jury or in front of their clients. However, if there is inclement weather or it’s summertime, business casual is acceptable. Fastest way to get on your bad side: Not telling the truth or calling my staff and asking how I’m likely to rule. Advice to young lawyers appearing in your courtroom for the first time: Don’t be nervous. And call me with any procedural question. I would rather you call and get it right. As a Person Family: Husband, Rodger, and three daughters and one son. The most important thing to know about me is that I love and respect my family. My youngest daughter is at Hampton University on an athletic scholarship. Proudest achievement? To have a second chance at being a judge. Free time? Read, travel, attend sporting events, and Rodger and I ride our motorcycle together. Work forever or retire? Work forever. JUDGE JIM HUGHEY, III As a Practitioner Legal Education: Graduated from The University of Alabama in 1998. Legal Career: Went from law school to Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLP, and practiced there for 14 years doing civil litigation of every type. Also handled several pro bono trials involving prisoner litigation in federal court. Why a lawyer? Because I respected my dad and his judgment. He has a calm and deliberate approach to problem solving. I also realized that litigation was a good fit for my personality. Admirable qualities in judges? A judge who used common sense in making a decision. As a result, win or lose, I felt like it was a good, fair result. Biggest frustrations of practicing law? Putting in a lot of work and not being graded because your matter settles before your work can be used or applied. Young lawyers crave feedback from lawyers and judges, and obviously whatever is best for the client was best for me, but it was hard putting in time and energy and having the game cancelled. Most rewarding about the practice? Interaction with clients. The pro bono clients were so grateful to have someone on their side, and when you get them a good result, that kind of appreciation is really rewarding. As a Judge Your judicial style? I view myself as a lawyer-friendly judge. But not every case or situation allows me to be that way. If there are folks not handling their business, and the case is being delayed, or the lawyers are fighting with each other, or one side is being rigid, then I have to wade into that situation and be more strict. Formal or Informal? Middle of the road. When I practiced, I liked to be more formal. As a practicing lawyer, I always stood when the judge entered the courtroom because I think it showed respect for the system. Chambers v. Courtroom? Courtroom. I like things to be out in the open. You never know who wants to watch a proceeding. Docket call or Special set- Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Spring 2014 27


Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014
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