Thinking Like a Judge

Although judges tend to be secondary characters in the novels they appear in, readers and writers alike are fascinated by them. Books, Crooks & Counselors includes a chapter on thinking like a judge, and I’ve continued to get questions about how judges might rule or respond in particular situations.

So today I’m linking to an issue of The Montana Lawyer, the monthly magazine published by the Montana State Bar, that highlighted the careers of two prominent Montana judges who died late last year, and some aspects of their jobs that bothered, motivated, and cheered them. The article on state Supreme Court Justice John Harrison starts on p. 5, and a former law clerk’s appreciation of Judge Joe Gary starts on p. 14. 


 (Image of the original Flathead County, Montana courthouse, now the main county office building, from the Montana Historical Society.)

3 thoughts on “Thinking Like a Judge

  1. Great articles, Leslie. I love the personal touches, especially in the second one. The fact that the judge was reluctant to help the little boy at the drinking fountain. And the round jury table–what a great idea!

    • Thanks, Kaye. Judge Gary’s competing desire to help the little boy and his realization that he probably shouldn’t illustrate to me the everyday conflicts good judges must resolve for themselves. What if he had helped the boy, then discovered the child was a key witness, whose competency to recall or to testify where in question? He might wonder, and the parties might wonder, whether he was objective. And so on … .

  2. Pingback: Judicial misconduct = good story options | Law and Fiction

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