On January 23, 2017, Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke issued a standing order regarding courtroom opportunities for newer attorneys. The standing order explains that “[t]he Court is cognizant of a growing trend in which fewer cases go to trial, and in which there are generally fewer opportunities in court for speaking or ‘stand-up’ engagements. This is especially true for newer attorneys, that is, attorneys practicing for less than seven years (‘newer attorney(s )’).” Id. at 1. The standing order goes on: “Recognizing the importance of the development of future generations of practitioners through courtroom opportunities, the undersigned Judge encourages the participation of newer attorneys in proceedings in my courtroom—particularly as to oral argument on motions where the newer attorney drafted or contributed significantly to the briefing for the motion.”
Accordingly, Judge Burke adopted the following procedures regarding oral argument as to pending motions:
- After a motion is fully briefed, either as part of a Request for Oral Argument, or in a separate Notice filed thereafter, a party may alert the Court that, if argument is granted, it intends to have a newer attorney argue the motion (or a portion of the motion).
- If such notice is provided, the Court will:
(A) Grant the request for oral argument on the motion, if it is at all practicable to do so.
(B) Strongly consider allocating additional time for oral argument beyond what the Court may otherwise have allocated, were a newer attorney not arguing the motion.
(C) Permit other more experienced counsel of record the ability to provide some assistance to the newer attorney who is arguing the motion, where appropriate during oral argument.
Id. at 1-2. Judge Burke emphasized that the Court will draw “no inference from a party’s decision not to have a newer attorney argue any particular motion before the Court,” and that it “will draw no inference about the importance of a particular motion, or the merits of a party’s argument regarding the motion, from the party’s decision to have (or not to have) a newer attorney argue the motion.” Id. at 2.