I tell clients in preparation for trial that the jury observes everything about them during the trial. This is also obviously true of the lawyers representing them. The jury is attentive of not just what we say, but how we say it, how we dress, and our responses to unexpected developments or an unfavorable ruling from the judge. The lawyers have a critical role in the courtroom and the jury has definite expectations of how that role should be filled. The judge not only has expectations of the lawyer’s preparedness, but also has rules for that lawyer to follow for the orderly presentation to the jury. It is vital that the lawyer come to court prepared not only to speak to the jury and examine witnesses but also to professionally address any issues raised to the court. The trial lawyer must be in control of not only their work product before the jury, but also their passion in order to respond professionally to any rulings with which they simply don’t like.
Every judge has rules on how the lawyers are to conduct themselves in court. The trial lawyer may not agree with those rules. The trial lawyer may not agree with the rulings. That does not matter. The judge is deserving of deference and respect. It is never appropriate to argue with the judge but it is considerably worse to challenge the court’s authority in front of the jury. Remember the jury observes everything. Texas juries understand they are there because there is a dispute that could not be resolved. They recognize there will be disputed factual issues and legal issues. But the jury’s expectations are that everyone will be professional throughout the process. The process is supposed to allow both sides a fair and equal opportunity to make their case (a record). At some point the court will rule. That is the decision. The decision should be accepted and respected, even if not agreed to. As a trial lawyer, if you want to meet the expectations of the jury, do not argue with the judge and never be dismissive of their rulings.