Articles on Judicial Experience in Michigan Business Courts, and Advice on how Young Litigators can Learn their Craft with only Limited Courtroom Time

The Spring 2022 issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal includes an interview with Wayne County Business Court Judge David A. Groner. Judge Groner addresses his experience in the Business Court, discovery, mediation and settlement conferences, and motion practice. He also addresses the use and benefit of Zoom (and like services), and observes it is here to stay.  He specifically notes the use of Zoom for trials and evidentiary hearings.

Lastly, Judge Groner offers advice based on his long experience:

  1. “For lawyers who appear in front of him, he wisely recommends litigators ‘be prepared, be prepared; don’t waste my time.’”
  2. “As for briefs and oral arguments … ‘Know your judge; when you know your judge, less is more. Tell the judge up front what you want. Get to the point.’ … ‘If you don’t get to the point quickly, you probably have a bad motion.’”
  3. “Getting to the point quickly is also important for hearings—other lawyers are waiting, and their time is valuable.”
  4. “[]‘Be civil,’ and don’t talk over each other. ‘Honey gets you more than vinegar. Why not be nice and civil to each other?’”
  5. Be punctual. “Being late disrespects other counsel and their clients.”
  6. “’[J]udges are appointed, not anointed.’” Lawyers “want … ‘a judge who will read the papers; provide a good, reasoned opinion; and make a ruling.’”
  7. “In his courtroom, Judge Groner wants ‘everyone to be comfortable; I want everyone to be treated with respect, to be treated fairly, and to have their day in court.’”
  8.  “’Remember, this is your job, not your life. It’s important work, and hard work, but it’s your work, not your life.’”

The article also looks back and acknowledges the tenth anniversary of the Michigan Business Courts in Macomb and Kent Counties. It additionally includes a “refresher on a business court protocol and briefly discuss[es] the amendments to the case evaluation rule, provide[s] an update on new judges in the business courts, [reminds the readers of] the redesigned business court website, and briefly mention[s] the ‘Lessons Learned’

The article also looks back and acknowledges the tenth anniversary of the Michigan Business Courts in Macomb and Kent Counties. It additionally includes a “refresher on a business court protocol and briefly discuss[es] the amendments to the case evaluation rule, provide[s] an update on new judges in the business courts, [reminds the readers of] the redesigned business court website, and briefly mention[s] the ‘Lessons Learned’ findings and recommendations.”

A link to the article can be found here.

Our thanks to Michigan Attorney Douglas L. Toering of Mantese Honigman, for bringing this article to our attention.  Mr. Toering has reported closely on Michigan’s business courts since their inception, and is an invaluable resource on developments in Michigan’s business courts.  He and his partner Fatima Bolyeaco-authored this article.

There is another article in this issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal that is of interest to business court litigators, authored by Douglas Toering and Ian Williamson, entitled “Virtual Hearings and Vanishing Trials:  A Modest Proposal for Training New Business Litigators in the Virtual Era.”  It addresses the basic concern of how younger business litigators are to learn to litigate and try cases in an era when they seldom get to court, and focuses on the further development resulting from the Covid pandemic, and likely post-Covid litigation world, where in-person appearances are replaced by Zoom arguments and hearings.  A link to that article can be found here.