Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Layn Phillips Offers Rules for Court; Dispels Rumors / State's Youngest Federal Judge

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Layn Phillips Offers Rules for Court; Dispels Rumors / State's Youngest Federal Judge

Article excerpt

Oklahoma'syoungest and newest federal judge took center stage Wednesday at a University of Oklahoma law alumni luncheon to dispel some rumors about his work and to offer some simple rules for attorneys to follow when practicing before him in court.

U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips, the former college tennis star and past U.S. Attorney for the Northern Judicial District in Tulsa, spoke to the group during the 83rd annual meeting of the Oklahoma Bar Association on the subject of his "view from the bench."

Phillips, sworn in earlier this year, has been probably "the" topic of conversation among members of the bar who've come before him in Oklahoma City's federal courthouse.

At the T-Bar, an Oklahoma City landmark restaurant and club that's become a mecca for the professional crowd in recent years, Phillips' name can be heard in almost any conversation as attorneys young and old alike discuss the latest rumors regarding his supposed use of the Rule 11 sanctioning power of a federal judge.

There was a rumor, Phillips said his speech, that he'd sanctioned one attorney because he had an "ugly tie or pocket handkerchief," or another for a minor infraction involved in the writing of a legal brief.

There was even a rumor that Phillips sanctioned a lawyer for backing away from the podium in court.

While none of those are true, Phillips said smiling, the rumors themselves have helped to decrease the trial docket and increase the number of those cases settled in his court.

Whatever the case, Phillips said attorneys practicing before him need only follow three simple rules.

Those rules, he said, are:

- "Be honest.

- "Be prepared.

- "Be responsible."

Dealing with the third rule first, Phillips said he wants his trials to be run in a "quiet, dignified manner" and the responsible attorney, while utilizing the "tools of the trade" to his or her fullest, will not abuse those to "obfusicate justice. …

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