Judge McMahon issued a memo today to the parties scheduled for a forthcoming civil trial, and the memo sets forth various rules reflecting her efforts to keep trials running efficiently.

Highlights of the memo include:

  • If you run out of witnesses prior to the end of the trial day, the next words you should be prepared to say are, “We rest.” Plan accordingly.
  • Because this is a civil trial, we listen to witnesses once and once only. This means that both sides should be prepared to question a witness fully when s/he takes the stand.
  • It is my custom to pre-admit exhibits so that we do not consume jury time with ritualistic matters that can easily be resolved prior to trial. I rather imagine that you have “over-objected” to your opponent’s exhibits — everyone does, though it is a practice I view with distaste — but be advised that you must be prepared to argue every objection, in 25 words or less [at the pre-trial conference].
  • Each side will have one half hour (30 minutes) for opening statements. You can factor that into your thinking now because at 30 minutes you will be asked to take your seat. If you start to argue your case during your opening, I will also ask you to be seated.