Paul M. da Costa Quoted in NJLJ Article, “I Did Not See a Single Person’: Things Have Changed at Courthouses.”

Dec 16, 2022

As published in the New Jersey Law Journal
December 14, 2022
By Charles Toutant

‘I Miss It’

Lawyers say they enjoy these informal meetings, but they also provide a type of instruction that helps them learn about intangible aspects of the profession such as power structures in a particular courthouse. And the loss is particularly acute for young lawyers who are cut off from a learning opportunity, those lawyers said.

At some hearings, lawyers would have to wait around until they are called before the judge, which means there is “a lot of down time” in the courtroom, said Paul da Costa of Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC in Roseland, New Jersey.

“That downtime inevitably leads to very friendly, collegial chats—checking in on what’s going on with their family life, personal issues. It’s also a venue to talk business and try to get cases settled, or at least close the gap from where the case was when you walked in that morning as opposed to when you walk out that evening,” da Costa said.

The switch to more remote hearings allows lawyers to be more flexible, since they can multitask when waiting to speak to the judge, and that’s especially important for plaintiff lawyers, who, unlike their counterparts on the defense side, aren’t billing hourly for courthouse visits, da Costa said.

“I miss it primarily for the collegial, social aspect of it, but there’s no doubt when you’re face-to-face with someone in any setting, there’s a higher chance that something will get accomplished as opposed to when I’m in my office and my adversary is in her office,” da Costa said.

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