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Judge Jane Manning of Cobb County Statsoe Court, Marietta, Georgia. (Courtesy photo) Judge Jane Manning of Cobb County State Court, Marietta, Georgia. (Courtesy photo)

One of the great joys of being a female judge is when I answer the phone and the caller assumes I am the judge’s secretary. Often, it’s a criminal defendant’s mother or girlfriend trying to spring him from jail. Without identifying myself, I explain “the judge’s” procedures, referring to myself in the third person like I am a tin-pot dictator. Finally, the caller, weary and cynical from the courthouse runaround asks, “And with whom am I speaking?” There I am—busted. On other occasions, I answer the phone and it’s an attorney on a civil matter and the conversation turns out to be not so civil. Again, the conversation ends with, “And with whom am I speaking?” This time the caller is there—busted. 

Attorneys should know instinctively that their communication with chambers will undergo scrutiny. Judges and their staffs are more like family than co-workers. A noteworthy conversation with one will be quickly told to the others. As such, communication with chambers should never be adversarial. We want to help you. Like you, we are committed to advancing your case to conclusion. In light of our common goal, I suggest the following:

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