PSA: Adapt to the Court Metal Detector, Genius!

A Legal Pad public service announcement: Along with courses on criminal law and civil procedure, it might be a good idea for California law schools to start teaching a more basic lesson — such as how to navigate courtroom metal detectors.

It seems that not one argument before the California Supreme Court goes by without several lawyers slowing down the line into the courtroom by fumbling through their pockets at the last minute for keys, loose change and money clips. How many times do they need to practice this before they get it right?

And, of course, there are always those who are too busy talking to hear the security guards’ warnings that cell phones, pagers and beepers aren’t allowed inside. So invariably, the metal detector goes off and the oblivious offender has to go back out and start over again.

Maybe this isn’t such a big deal, but it sure makes getting into a courtroom frustrating and lawyers should know by now that metal detectors are a fact of life for entering a courthouse these days.

On top of that, getting into the state Supreme Court’s courtrooms in San Francisco and Los Angeles requires going through two metal detectors — one at the entrance to the building and one at the door to the courtroom. It seems that someone who’s already had to remove everything from his or her pockets once would be prepared to do the same minutes again later.

It just takes a little thought.

And please don’t get me started on the lawyers who drag their entire case file into the courtroom. It’s not as if they’re going to have much time during oral arguments to refer to their briefs.

So pack light and move along. There are others waiting behind you.

— Mike McKee

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