» Courtroom Conduct

Written versus Oral

Reflection, March 1, 2017

During my morning run, I reflected on criminal and civil jury cases I tried decades ago. I though about how much I concentrated on what I perceived as brilliant and persuasive cross-examination and oral argument and how little emphasis I placed on documentary exhibits and written jury charges. On reflection, I got it backwards. Today, I would concentrate on written persuasion without neglecting oral persuasi… Read More


Thomas F. McDow

Any time I ask, “why”, the least satisfactory answer is “Because that is the way we have always done it.” I want to know why that is the way we have always done it.

Today’s question is why do lawyers always begin affidavits “Personally appeared before me __________ who being first duly sworn deposed and stated under oath as follows…”? The jurat, which is the “sworn to and subscribed before… Read More

Trial Strategy in Family Court

Conventional wisdom in Family Court cases, particularly custody cases, teaches dredging up all of the mud on the other party and then spending the entire trial plastering the other party with that mud. Erin Urquhart and I believe that the conventional wisdom is not necessarily wise. We think maybe George Bernard Shaw got it right when he said “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Lawyers and litigants make a severe tactical… Read More

About The Authors

Thomas F. McDow's Profile Image
Thomas F. McDow is the author of Debating SC Family Law, a blog devoted to discussing family law and appellate court issues in South Carolina. Read More
Erin K. Urquhart's Profile Image
Education: Spartanburg Public SchoolsWinthrop University, B.A. 2003University of South Carolina, J.D. 2006 Admitted: All South Carolina courts and the United States District Court for South Carolina, November 13, 2006 Professional Activities: South C… Read More

Subscribe to the Debating Family Law blog by Email!

Recent Comments

These are very helpful comments. I am starting a similar newsletter in WV for my clients and potential clients. Getting the clien...

John B on 03/02/2017
Read More

I am well aware of this conundrum. That's why I called it "When you absolutely cannot or will not hire a lawyer (for your divorce)...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/28/2016
Read More

I agree! Unbundled would be a great help to people like me. I tried to get lawyers to assist me with specific parts of the process...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
Read More

I haven't followed this thread for awhile. By far the best option is an experienced lawyer who cares about you and your family. Se...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/27/2016
Read More

I absolutely love this discussion on this subject. Involved in a divorce and forced to represent myself due to lack of funds and n...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
Read More