Mmmm…Donuts! But Can You Bring Them to the Courtroom Staff or Jury?


Seasoned litigators know how important it can be to have a good relationship with courtroom staff. Bringing holiday treats or morning coffee can certainly bolster that relationship, but is it ok to do?

Trying to ingratiate yourself with the courtroom staff by bringing them donuts or coffee may get you into trouble with the judge. You don’t want to be seen as giving inappropriate gifts to court personnel. Stick with simply being nice to the courtroom staff, and leave the goodies at your office.

By contrast, treating the jury to lunch or coffee and donuts in the morning may be just fine, as long as it’s neutrally provided (i.e., by both sides in the case) and with court approval.

In this short video clip, Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.) goes over appropriate gift-giving when it comes to the courtroom staff and the jury.

New to the practice of law? There are so many mine fields they never tell you about in law school! This is just one of the many helpful tips in CEB’s program Courtroom Conduct: Do’s and Don’ts & Common Sense, available On Demand. And check CEB’s offers for Young Lawyers as you get started in your first years of practice.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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