June 14, 2024

Know Your Court — and Its Unwritten Rules

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Daniel I. Small

Litigation attorney Dan Small wrote an article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly discussing courthouse written and unwritten rules. He shares an anecdote from his time trying cases in Hyattsville, Maryland, Magistrate's Court, when a high-level executive from Washington, D.C., faced a trial for driving under the influence and arrived with a defense team of four top-level attorneys. However, Mr. Small said they did not have knowledge of the court's unwritten rules, which led to a first offer in settlement negotiations for a plea deal that was more severe than the range of punishments generally imposed. Mr. Small said he helped walk back the resolution to a more favorable outcome for the defendant, highlighting the importance of "knowing your court" — especially its unwritten rules — to best advocate for a client.

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