Legal Blog

Never Assume

Being a trial lawyer is not for the faint of heart.  The pressure to prepare yourself and your client, and to be fast on your feet is enormous. Even after you prepare and produce to the best of your ability, when you sit down after closing argument, the matter is out of your hands.

I am referring, of course, to the fact that Judges, just like all humans, are different. They have different backgrounds, preferences, strengths, preconceived notions, good and bad days, and they don’t always see things the same way we do. Therein lies the danger of assuming.

So what can you do?  Do your homework. Ask around to other attorneys and courthouse personnel about the characteristics and preferences of your audience. Be prepared to shift your line of questioning, your evidence, your closing argument based on the cues you receive during the trial.

Probably the best advice however, is to resist the urge to assume that the Judge has the same reaction to a certain set of facts that you do. And then, resist the urge to assume that the Judge perceives the facts the same way that you do.

Planning, planning, planning is the key. Try to consider your facts from various points of view. What if he believes your client’s version? What if he believes the adverse party’s version? What if he doesn’t believe anyone? What if he does not understand your point? All of the unknowns converge at one time, so you must be prepared to pivot. To do so, you must have actually thought about the various possibilities. We get caught up in the documents, exhibits, witnesses, and don’t always back away from the table to consider other options. Doing so will be offering your client an enormous service.


If you need an attorney to for any family law matter, please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at or 301-575-0381.





Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 34 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.



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