Justice Scalia and Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary, led a CLE seminar at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. last July. All profits from the event were donated to Legal Aid.
Here is an extract from the book which gives its flavour and insights:
Learn as much as you readily can about the judge’s background. Say you’re appearing before Judge Florence Kubitzky. With a little computer research and asking around, you discover that fly-fishing is her passion; that her father died when she was only seven; that her paternal grandparents, who were both professors at a local college, took charge of her upbringing; that she once chaired the state Democratic Party; that she enjoys bridge; that she has been estranged from her brother and sister for many years; that she graduated from Mount Holyoke College and took her law degree from the University of Michigan; that she’s an aficionado of good wines; that her favorite restaurant is the Beaujolais Room; that she was counsel for a craft union before coming to the bench; and so on. Going in, all these data seem irrelevant to how the judge might decide your breach-of-contract case, but you might well find some unpredictable uses for this knowledge over the course of a lengthy trial. You might want to stress, for example, that the defective contract performance your client is complaining about violated basic standards of the craft and reflects
shoddy workmanship. At the very least, these details will humanize the judge for you, so that you will be arguing to a human being instead of a chair.