Questions with a Judge – Ed Patten, Chancery Judge

Chancery Judge Ed Patten
Copiah & Lincoln Counties
13th Chancery District

Judge Patten Strong earned a B.S. and J.D. from the University of Mississippi. Judge Patten joined the bench in 1999.

1. What do you like most and least about being a judge?

I like solving problems. Chancery Court provides an abundance of problems so I get a lot of practice. I find it rewarding to listen to a fact pattern, apply the law and ultimately render a solution that I find first and foremost to be the right thing to do and then to be confident that I have correctly applied the law. I least enjoy sorting out a case that is presented more like a discovery deposition than a trial.

2. Identify one judge, living or dead, whom you admire the most and explain why?

My predecessor Donald Patterson was a lawyer’s lawyer and on the bench a judges’s judge. His mastery of the rules of evidence and procedure raised the level of practice in our district. His is the example I aspire to.

3. What three suggestions would you give to a lawyer about how to improve their writing?

(1) Be concise, (2) be clear and (3) write sufficiently in advance that you can let the work product “cool off” then read it again to make sure it makes sense and is coherent.

4. What three suggestions would you give a lawyer about how to present an effective case in your court?

(1) Life happens in chronological order so do cases. (2) Chancellors are factor driven. Know the factors, present them in the order the court has to rule and help the judge know what you are addressing and when you change subjects. For example start a line of questions with “I want to ask you questions about your grounds for divorce.” Then when you change subjects, “I want to ask you questions about your claim for custody” and so on. (3) Make your record and stop. Letting a witness drone on hurts more often than helps.

5. If you could change any law or rule, what would it be?

I would erase Rule 81 from the book.

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