May the Record Reflect

8. Best Practices for Remote Hearings, with Judge Amy Hanley and Reuben Guttman

June 03, 2020 National Institute for Trial Advocacy Episode 8
May the Record Reflect
8. Best Practices for Remote Hearings, with Judge Amy Hanley and Reuben Guttman
Show Notes

In Episode 8 of the podcast, we are joined by Kansas District Court Judge Amy Hanley and D.C. civil litigator Reuben Guttman to talk about how to get it right in video and telephonic hearings. The disruptions caused by the covid pandemic have suddenly moved the courtroom into your dining room, and our guests are sharing their best do’s and don’ts from their respective positions on and before the bench. The Honorable Amy Hanley is based in Lawrence, Kansas, and presides over a civil, domestic, and criminal docket for the Seventh Judicial District of Douglas County. In his class action and complex civil litigation practice, Reuben Guttman has become one of the most prominent whistleblower lawyers in the world. 


6:04    Constitutional and statutory constraints
9:12    Preparing your client 
11:20  Judges’ expectations
13:40  Putting clients at ease
15:08  Courtroom transition to online 
16:51  Views from the bench
18:33  Creating formality
23:17  Equal time 
29:25  Exhibits and judge preferences
31:43  Presenting exhibits
33:45  Making a court record
35:25  Recording the hearing
36:44  Communicating with client
40:25  Witness sequestration
41:42  Confidentiality issues
43:26  Public Zoom hearings
46:00  Closing advice
48:20  Technology’s impact on the law
49:07  Signature “softball”


“If your judge doesn’t have the protocol [for remote hearings], don’t be afraid to ask for it. A little secret that I’ll let you in on is that judges love it when counsel does that work for us. You might be better suited to draft and propose a protocol due to your familiarity with the technology or because you know the witnesses and exhibits that need to be used. And we love it when you do that work for us ahead of time and send in a draft that we can use as a starting point.” Judge Amy Hanley

“It’s important to get [clients] to appreciate what it’s going to look like, what they’re going to look like, in the courtroom and to have them to appreciate that maybe the judge might actually pose a question to them directly, to rehearse some of that so they’re not surprised. If you’re sitting next to somebody, it’s a lot easier to tap them and say, ‘It’s ok, don’t worry about it. Answer the question,’ but remotely, I mean, there’s an intuitive sense of fear: ‘Oh, my God, I’m not prepared for this.’ So, the idea is that you want to make sure whether you’re putting your client on from prison or jail, or whether you’re putting your client on from a hospital room, you want to make sure that at least they understand what the possibilities are, in preparing them. I call it inoculation, inoculation against the possibilities that may give them anxiety.” Reuben Guttman

Recommended Resources

Douglas County District Court Guidelines for Court Hearings on Zoom

Using Zoom for Court Hearings

Videoconferencing in the Courtroom

First Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster, Supreme Court of Texas

Remote Testimony and Fed. R. Crim. P. 26

Center for Legal & Court Technology Best Practices