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Appellate Practice

Next Time, Wear a Tie, Fed’l Circuit Judge Tells Left Coast Lawyer

Posted Aug 21, 2008 3:07 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A popped collar button on a Seattle lawyer's dress shirt resulted in a sartorial instruction from Judge Randall Rader at the conclusion of a recent argument before a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C.

"Next time, wear a tie. This is the Federal Circuit," Rader called out to attorney Delbert Barnard as he was leaving the courtroom, reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The judge was "very polite about it," Barnard notes. And, as the law blog points out, the three-judge panel didn't hold the dress issue against the lawyer: It unanimously ruled in his favor in a written opinion (PDF) last week.

After the button popped on his only dress shirt, the intellectual property lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal, "I put it on, and put the tie on to see if it could lay flat even though the collar wouldn’t stay down, and it wouldn’t. I thought to myself, out here on the West Coast a lot of people will wear a suit with a turtleneck. I had a dark polo shirt. So I wore that.”

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