Be realistic in your estimates of how long your case will take

July 2006
By Judge John Wittmayer, Multnomah County Circuit Court

At daily call the presiding judge needs to know when you report ready for assignment how long your trial will take. The presiding judge needs this information from you as accurately as possible because trial judges are not available for indefinite assignments. We all report to the presiding judge the number of consecutive days we are available for assignment, and the presiding judge tries to match up our availability with the length of your trial. When you report on the expected time needed for your trial, you should report the number of days the entire matter will take, from pre-trial motions (if any), through jury selection, the presentation of all the evidence for all parties, closing argument, etc. It is never sufficient for you to claim you don't know how long the other side's case will take. You need to talk to the other lawyer about this in advance of daily call so you will both be prepared to make your best estimate for the presiding judge.