Don’t read blogs! (And nine other stress-busters for judges)

motz-judge.jpgJudges might appear to have the life, the ability to rule from on high. But their job is intensely stressful.

For each decision judges make, they incur the wrath of at least one of the parties appearing before them, not to mention the possibility that they will be hounded by a critical public and suffer what might be regarded as the indignity of being reversed on appeal.

To help his state-court colleagues deal with the stress, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz announced a 10-step program, of sorts, during his appearance Wednesday at the Maryland Judicial Conference meeting in Linthicum:

1. “Enjoy your family and friends … the best cure for your discomforts.”
2. “Take vacations … and make sure you don’t take your BlackBerries.”
3. Volunteer at a place where people call you by your first name, not “judge.”
4. Exercise;
5. “Read literature and history, not blogs and newspapers” rife with criticism of judicial decisions.
6. “Have confidence in your own judgment,” and do not fret over being reversed by a higher court — “They [appellate judges] had the last, not necessarily the better word.”
7. When in your chambers, “surround yourself with people you like.”
8. “Try to find one of your colleagues who will be your buddy” to act as a sounding board and help you avoid bringing your work-related stress home with you.
9. “Take your work, but not yourself, seriously”; and
10. “Always be true to yourself. We have to live with our own consciences.”

Are there any judges – or lawyers – out there who can add to the list?

STEVE LASH, Legal Affairs Writer

A world without judges

Ever wonder what life would be like with no judges?

Today through Friday, you can get a temporary taste of it. That quiet you hear in the courthouse is brought to you by the Maryland Judicial Conference, now underway at the BWI Hilton in Linthicum. With sessions on everything from rules changes to foreclosure reform to employment cases under Article 49B — not to mention Thursday’s all-day look at Lincoln’s presidency (yes, really) — their honors are sure to be ready to get back into their robes come Monday.

BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor/Law