I spent the morning in state court, beginning the project I discussed with my mentor, the chief justice. I couldn't decide how to dress, first of all. I didn't want to look like a lawyer. I didn't really want to look like a client, either. What is neutral clothing for a day in court, I wondered. (Half of my closet is full of business apparel, clothes suitable for air-conditioned conference rooms with a view of the ocean. I don't know what I'm going to do with those clothes.)
Anyway, I picked out an outfit that was neither businessy nor casual, and packed up my computer and went to court. Nobody had computers; the black leather bag marked me as an outsider. Although they scanned it through the metal detector, nobody asked me about my bag or my cell phone. They ask you whether you have a cell phone before you go to bankruptcy court, and if you have one, they ask you whether you are an attorney. Attorneys get to bring cell phones in (turned off, of course), but nobody else does. I never understood that small privilege, and had been wondering whether to admit being an attorney or disclaim my bar privileges if they asked me today. But they didn't seem to care.
I watched part of a divorce proceeding that I'm not sure I was supposed to be witnessing, and then went down to the criminal court to watch. I'll be writing my impressions up later. Since I've hardly spent any time in district court I watched the process as an outsider. One thing I noticed was that the phalanx of attorneys representing the DA were almost all women (8 out of 9) and almost all appeared to be under 30 (7 out of 9). All of the criminal lawyers were men, and varied in age. Is this a typical arrangement?