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No More 'Slapping With the Enemy' for Virginia Lawyers

While many lawyers have no objection to defense attorneys socializing with prosecutors outside of the courtroom, when it comes to chumming around in the courtroom, most would draw a different line. At least, that's what the Virginia District Court judges have done: They've requested that defense attorneys refrain from slapping with the enemy, i.e. patting cops on the back, while in the courtroom. According to Chief General District Judge Gene Woolard, the back-slapping practice conveys the impression of a "good old boy" system; plus, it makes many of the police officers uncomfortable. As yet, the court hasn't imposed a formal order prohibiting back-slapping but instead will rely on lawyers to police themselves when it comes to palling around with their opponents in the courtroom.

What's the local custom where you practice? Do defense attorneys joke around with the other side in front of the judge? Is it ever appropriate?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 9, 2008 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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