Legal Question in Family Law in New Mexico

Pre Trial Conference

I am set for a pre-trial conference that is set to only last about 30 minutes. What is this for? I am not sure what to expect with this?

Asked on 2/11/01, 1:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Watson John Watson, Attorney at Law

Re: Pre Trial Conference

In it's most pure form the Pre-Trial conference is

set up by the Court to find out from the parties

(or their lawyers) some semblance of the procedural

progress of the case. What that means is the court

wants to know whether everyone is participating in

discovery. The court wants to know if there are

any procedural problems that are appearing and need

to be addressed; and last, the court wants to have

some idea as to when the parties (the case) will

be ready for trial. Now, in real world practical

terms, the pretial conference is run differently

by each judge. With some judge it is a very formal

procedure and with others it is a very informal

and with others it is somewhere in between. There

is nothing wrong with calling the judge's chambers

several days or a week before and asking

the judge's secretary if the judge is formal or

informal in the pretial conference. This is also

the time to contact the opposing party or, if they

have a lawyer you must contact the lawyer, and

discuss the procedural aspects of the case. (Be careful

here though, if you have a restraining order preventing

you from direct contact with the opposing party you

had better pay attention to the restraining order.

That order will tell you how - or the judge at the

pre-trial conference will tell you how to contact or

interact with someone when you are otherwise restrained

from contacting them).

As a pro se person (i.e., without a lawyer) it is some

times difficult to separate your own personal feelings

from the procedural occurances in the case. This is

the time to focus on moving or setting up the movement

of the case. The best way to prepare for the pre-trial

conference is to sit down and make an outline of what

you believe needs to be addressed. If you need

information then you will need to communicate that

to the opposing side. The other thing to remember

here is that this is usually the first time you will

appear before the judge. The old maxim "first

impressions last" applies. That means dress up

nicely; act in a professional/busness manner, put

your best foot forward and try to listen more than

you talk.

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Answered on 3/22/01, 7:22 am

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