Many clients get upset when you, as their attorney, don't treat the other attorney as the Great Satan. This is somewhat understandable, as most client's have never been involved in the legal process, have no idea about the procedures of law, and are depending on you for everything. In short, they have given up control of their life to you; a hard thing. They don't know that you may have gone to law school with opposing counsel, see opposing counsel at social events regularly, serve on boards or committees with opposing counsel, or know that opposing counsel is a reasonable person. Most of us are familiar with this concept.
A less-discussed area is the above concept in relation to the attorney-judge relationship. Even in a court system as big as Cook County, Illinois, over time one can get to know certain judges pretty well. In the collar counties and surrounding areas, this can happen even more quickly. Your area of law may only have four judges (or less!) in the division, and you may see them every day. It's not unusual to have a hearing in front of a judge in the morning, sit next to that judge at a CLE or committee meeting in the afternoon, and then schmooze with the judge that evening at a bar association or social event. You might wind up knowing the Judge much better than you know opposing counsel. And the client has no way of knowing this. The flipside of this relationship is that sometimes the judge will do things to you that he would never do to another lawyer, because he or she knows that you won't take it personally and that they will be able to explain the "why" of what they did later on at some social function. That leads me to this tale, a typical example I offer for your reading pleasure, which occured in Basura Blanca County:
PART ONE: 9:00 am
I was in front of Judge Trigger, arguing for slightly more time to respond to a motion, on the basis that counsel had filed it two weeks before a hearing, hoping to shaft me by giving me insufficient time to respond (the nature of the motion is that it would have to be heard concurrently at the hearing).
Judge: "Why would I give you more time? The hearing's in two weeks."
Me: "Your honor, we all know what opposing counsel's doing. I'm entitled to 21 days, at a minimum, to respond. If counsel wanted it for the hearing, he should have filed it earlier."
Counsel: "Your honor, I have always zealously advocated for my client..."
Judge: "I don't need your commentary, counsel."
Judge: (to me) "what's the problem? You could get this done before the hearing date."
Me: "That's not the point, your honor. Theoretically I could clear my caseload, to the detriment of my other clients, for any reason under the sun. The point is that you shouldn't reward opposing counsel's lack of planning, poor behavior, and blatant gamesmanship by hamstringing me in the interests of 'judicial economy' ."
Counsel: "How dare you..."
Judge: "Counsel, I don't need your input."
Judge: (to me) "Mr. Crane, I'm going to make you respond to this motion within seven days, no more."
Judge: "You don't seem happy, Mr. Crane."
Me: "Your honor's powers of perception are, as always, beyond compare."
Judge: "I don't want you leaving this room thinking you've been slighted."
Me: "However, mind control is not in your arsenal."
Judge: "Mr. Crane, the court doesn't appreciate commentary."
Me: "I'll file my response within seven days."
Judge: "Mr. Crane, have you ever seen the inside of the county jail?"
Me: "Only when we had to bail Judge Twerp out of his DUI." (a VERY sensitive issue among this circuit)
Judge: "Mr. Crane, the court is not going to put up with this."
Me: "Thank you, your honor, I'll file my response within seven days; order to come."
Judge: "Mr. Crane, I'm serious."
Me: (nothing) (staring at judge)
Judge: (nothing) (staring at me)
Counsel: (nothing) (looking back and forth between Judge and me)
Judge: "Order to come."
PART TWO: 1:00 pm
The Judge and I are at a committee meeting, in line getting food.
Judge: "That chicken sure looks good."
Judge: "I wonder if there's any dark meat left, I'm a 'thigh man'."
Me: "That's funny, I always heard you were a tit man."
Judge: "Very funny counselor."
(we're now at the end of the line)
Judge: "why don't you come sit with me and (court reporters)?"
Me: "Sorry your honor, I'm already sitting with people who won't send me to jail."
Judge: "Oh, come on."
Me: "See ya later."
PART THREE: 6:00 pm
We are now at a bar association social function at a local pub, with about 70 people in attendance.
Judge: "Hey there, what's new?"
Me: "What was that all about this morning?"
Judge: "Don't get all bent out of shape, I can't have counsel thinking that he's getting home-teamed."
Me: "What? He was clearly playing dirty pool. I should have won that, easily."
Judge: "Maybe; I know you'll get it done though, you always do. I don't think you've ever blown a date in your life."
Me: "What was with the jail stuff?"
Judge: "Oh I was having fun with that, you should have seen the look on your face!"
Me: "Oh thanks, glad I was able to entertain you."
Judge: "Hey, the other two hearings I had scheduled both settled....I was bored."
Judge: "I'll make it up to you, what are you drinking? Bourbon?"
Me: "Maker's Mark---make it a tall one."
Judge: (on way to bar) "If the waitress ever comes back, get us some food."
Me: "mozzarell sticks?
Judge: "Naw, get those awesome potato skins...all that cheese would plug me up for days."