In the October 2004 issue of the Madison County Bar Association's Bar Rag, James May interviewed Justice Gordon Maag of the Fifth District of the Illinois Appellate Court. (Judge Maag, of course, is running for Illinois Supreme Court, and will be on the ballot tomorrow in the Fifth District.)
Here is a selection from the interview:
Q. What advice would you give young lawyers in arguing Appellate or Supreme Court cases?
A. Be totally candid. Don't try to evade the questions that are asked. Answer them directly and specifically and truthfully. Don't be offended when the judges ask a question. Be pleased. Because sometimes young lawyers have a script. It's like a part in a play, and they want to go in and recite what they have to say. They know just how they are going to say it, and they have prepared the argument, and they have timed it. When they are asked a question, it takes away from what they want to say, and it throws them off the track that they want to be on.
But they need to remember it is those three judges on the Appellate Court that are going to be deciding their case. When they are asked a question, the question concerns a matter that is of importance to the people that are going to decide it. So be pleased when the question is asked and not offended, and answer it fully and completely.
Tomorrow: Judge Maag answers the question, "On the appellate court, what is the procedure for the judges to get together and discuss the case before a decision is rendered?"