The Tao of Docket Management
“A terrifically well-run docket is a rare and beautiful thing.” -Judge McKay Chauvin
It is the judge’s responsibility to establish practices that allow lawyers and litigants to know what to expect and what is expected of them in return. This is particularly true when it comes to scheduling, in that you have to know how the docket works in order to know how to work the docket. The practice in Division 8 is to get cases that are otherwise ready for trial to trial: (1) as soon as practicable, and (2) as scheduled. The primary method to achieving this madness is to not schedule a case for trial unless or until the parties have exhausted the realistic possibility of a negotiated settlement.
On the criminal docket that means the trial date will not be set until a formal plea offer has been made and rejected. On the civil docket that means the trial will not be set until after the parties have been to mediation. The benefit to both criminal and civil litigants is that when your case is ready for trial it can get to trial very very very quickly. Because we only schedule one (1) trial for each trial date (i.e. trials are not “stacked” ) on the docket, a trial date in Division 8 is the date the case will be tried.
We try very hard to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules when scheduling hearings on the Division 8 docket. If you cannot get into court as soon as you want or need during regular work hours, please feel free to ask to be heard “early” (before 8:30 a.m.) or “late” (after 5:00 p.m.). We are also open to conducting routine business, by agreement of the parties, by telephonic conference.
A terrifically well-run docket is a rare and beautiful thing. It inspires confidence in the judicial system and saves everyone time, aggravation and money. We want, and you deserve, a terrifically well-run docket.