Persuasiveness in the 
courtroom: from consultation to trial

Issue November 2015 By Emily Amara Gordon

The courtroom can be an intimidating place, especially for young lawyers. Sometimes the most challenging part of advocating in a courtroom is knowing essential courtroom etiquette that we typically do not learn in law school.

What do you do when you are not prepared and need to request a continuance? What should you do when you are examining your client on the stand and you know that your client is not being truthful? What is the best strategy for examining a hostile witness? Understanding how to navigate these common, yet troublesome issues can make a world of a difference when you have to make a quick decision while appearing in court.

Join the Law Practice Management Section Council, with co-sponsorship from the Young Lawyers Division and Criminal Justice Section Council, on Nov. 17, at 12:30 p.m., to get an inside view on how to be an effective advocate in the courtroom. Retired District Court Judge Robert A. Gordon will lead the lunchtime program, which will be an excellent opportunity for young lawyers and trial attorneys alike to get answers to their burning courtroom questions.

The program will provide a candid, up-close and practical discussion of effective tips on how to prepare a case for the courtroom, including client and witness examination, client preparation starting at the consultation stage, common evidentiary issues, how to be a persuasive advocate, and what to do and not do in a courtroom.

Gordon retired this past summer after serving as associate justice of the District Court Department, Springfield Division, for 14 years. Since retiring from the bench, Gordon has formed a mediation and arbitration practice, Gordon Resolution, based in Brookline.

Before being appointed to a judgeship, Gordon was in private practice as a trial lawyer for more than 20 years, representing clients in civil and criminal litigation cases in the state and federal courts, as well as being approved for appointment as counsel in first-degree murder cases in Superior Court.

From his vast and broad experience handling civil and criminal cases in a high volume urban court, Gordon will offer constructive and helpful advice to lawyers who are interested in improving their courtroom skills. In addition to his judicial experience, Gordon has a substantial background that enhances his views and observations of how to improve a lawyer's advocacy and effectiveness in the courtroom.

The program will include a popular "Top Ten List of Dos and Don'ts in the Courtroom," including:

  1. How should your client dress for court?
  2. What do you when you are late for court?
  3. When should you (and shouldn't you) file a motion to continue?
  4. What do you do when you are frustrated with how your case is progressing?
  5. How you should prepare for court, and why it is so important to know the facts of your case?

Emily Amara Gordon is the principal attorney of Amara Immigration Law LLC, an immigration law practice located in Brookline. She is a member of the MBA Law Practice Management Section Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and she serves as a New Members Division Liaison to the AILA New England Chapter.