Attorney Sidebar: Professionalism

John T. (Jack) Ballantine

I don’t think there’s any question that professionalism is down from what it was in my younger days. Some of this hostility exists because of the pressure of more lawyers trying to get more business. I never address the court without either standing or getting the court’s approval to remain seated for my answer. Now that’s the exception, not the rule. It is not because I like that judge or I don’t like that judge, it’s because I think the judge’s position deserves that respect. Jurors don’t like that kind of behavior, and it shows in the verdict that they come back with.

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The most destructive, horrible change is the free tendency for people to lash out at courts without knowing what or why the court did what he or she did. We’re a government of laws not of men. We’ve got a Constitution. Judges have to follow the law and if it’s unpopular they get castigated by people who don’t have any basis of understanding the nature of the ruling.

~John T. (Jack) Ballantine
Kentucky Lawyers Speak, page 40.