Today’s Tip for Commercial Litigators: In General District Court, Ask Judges If They Want an Opening Statement
In Virginia, General District Court dockets are busier than Circuit Court dockets in terms of the sheer volume of cases. For this reasons, General District Courts impose time limits on the maximum length of a case. One issue for a litigator is whether to present an opening statement at a General District Court trial. While it would be highly unusual to not give an opening statement at a Circuit Court trial, most attorneys defer to the practice of the particular judge when in General District Court. Some judges prefer a brief opening statement so that they know the key issues in dispute prior to hearing the evidence. Others prefer that the attorney go straight to presenting the evidence.