Clearing the Bench, Part 2

How the Hawai`i federal court could lose a magistrate judgeship by 2017

 By Nick Kacprowski

 In a previous post, we discussed the dismal prospect of losing an Article III judgeship in the District of Hawai`i by the year 2017 in Clearing the Bench, Part 1.  U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren covered the topic before the Federal Bar Association–Hawai`i chapter.

The judges also talked about the potential loss of a magistrate judgeship by the same deadline.  While that scenario is thankfully a little less complicated, it is somewhat similar.  There is a judge (Judge Kurren) who will soon be eligible for retirement.  If he stays for another term, the spot will be preserved. But if he retires, his position may be lost to the bench.

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Clearing the Bench, Part 1

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Updated on January 9, 2015 by Nick Kacprowski

How the Hawai`i federal court could lose an Article III judgeship by 2017

 By Nick Kacprowski

 By the year 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i may have two fewer judgeships.  As a result of two different sets of circumstances, the District stands to lose both an Article III and a magistrate judge.  This issue is not simply one of two judges retiring, but of two spots on the bench being eliminated.  At a November 20, 2014 discussion with the Federal Bar Association – Hawai`i chapter, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren talked about this somewhat unique and difficult situation that the Aloha State is unlucky enough to find itself in.

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Fee Recovery

Know the Rules in Hawai`i’s Federal Court

By Kee Campbell and Louise Ing

We have previously posted here and here about the below-market rates awarded in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i.  In light of these low rates, practitioners seeking adequate compensation must ensure that their fee applications conform to the Local Rules.  Courts in this district often employ percentage reductions to reduce fees, and these reductions can be significant.  The key is to know the rules as you bill time, so that the time entries themselves clearly convey the nature of the work done and the value added to the case.

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Practical Advice on Bankruptcy Court Protocol

By Joshua Michaels, Sean Wong and Michelle Comeau

Tips from Hawai`i Judges, part 7 of 7

In the final post in our series on Tips from Hawai`i Judges, we hear from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawai`i, located at the opposite end of town from the District Court at 1132 Bishop Street between Union Mall and Fort Street Mall.  These tips appeared in the May 2014 issue of the Hawaii Bar Journal.  Our one active federal Bankruptcy judge and one retired federal Bankruptcy Judge had very practical suggestions for those appearing in bankruptcy court:

  •  Always bring the Bankruptcy Code with you to court hearings.

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Brevity, Clarity and Credibility in Federal District Court

Tips from Hawai`i Judges, part 6 of 7

By Joshua Michaels, Sean Wong and Michelle Comeau

In part 6 of our review of Tips from Hawai`i Judges, we’re sharing some of the best guidance from our Federal District Court judges featured in the May 2014 issue of the Hawaii Bar Journal.

The United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i is located in the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Federal Building and United States Courthouse at 300 Ala Moana Boulevard.  After five years of retrofit work hidden by barriers, the new main entrance off of Halekauwila Street is finally open.  Our Federal Judges offered a wide variety of suggestions on briefings, pleadings, witnesses, and decorum:

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Litigators’ Top Mistakes: From the Judges’ Eye View

By Morgan Early

Don’t overkill a motion for summary judgment – the shorter it is, the more it appears there are no genuine factual disputes. Don’t underestimate the value of verdict reporters – you can bolster your negotiating power at a pre-trial settlement conference when you cite them.

These were just some of the points covered in a recent National Business Institute seminar entitled “As Judges See It: Top 10 Mistakes Lawyers Make in Civil Litigation,” which featured three Denver District Court Judges in the 2nd Judicial District of Colorado sharing candid advice and war stories.  Their advice also rings true for Hawai`i courtroom practice.

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“With All Due Respect”?

Do the honorable thing and don’t tell that to the judge.

By Louise Ing

You are in the midst of an incisive argument to the court, yet the judge disagrees with your point.  On the tip of your tongue is, “With all due respect, Your Honor….”  But wait, do you say it, or should you keep that overused phrase to yourself?  Let your opponent say it if he or she dares (think about how often you hear lawyers flinging that phrase around in court).  For yourself, the better part of valor is to ban it from your courtroom vocabulary.

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Successful Practice Before the District Courts of the State of Hawai`i

Tips from Hawai`i judges, part 5 of 7

By Joshua Michaels, Sean Wong and Michelle Comeau

Previously, we looked at Tips from Hawai`i Judges of the Hawai`i Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and the Circuit Courts that were featured in the May 2014 issue of the Hawaii Bar Journal.  This week, we continue our review of judges’ tips, focusing on the District Courts for the State of Hawai`i.   The District Court Judges, whose dockets include traffic violations, civil actions under $40,000, and petitions for temporary restraining orders, stressed responsibility and professionalism:

  • If you have a scheduling conflict, make arrangements and notify the court. Do not fail to appear. Make sure you have a trustworthy calendaring system and a back-up calendaring system.

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Making a Good Impression Before the Hawai`i Circuit Court

Tips from Hawai`i judges, part 4 of 7

By Joshua Michaels, Sean Wong and Michelle Comeau

In our previous post, we shared tips from the Intermediate Court of Appeals included in the May 2014 issue of the Hawaii Bar Journal.  This week, we have some great oral argument tips and suggestions from the judges of the Circuit Courts of the State of Hawai`i, which have general jurisdiction in criminal and civil cases.

Always come prepared and assume that the judge has read your pleadings. As such, do not simply reiterate what you have written, but use the time at the hearing to summarily emphasize your major points.

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