The last couple of weeks prior to an important trial in the court can be pretty hectic for attorneys and their support staff. There is a great deal of responsibility as well as enormous pressure that can have considerable impact on the trial proceedings and its outcome. Every minor detail of the case must be properly monitored and studied in order to ensure that the case proceedings are managed well. Even the most experienced attorneys may find this period extremely demanding and strenuous on their mind and body.
Each attorney has their own way of preparing for trial. As we’ve worked with attorneys for decades, we’ve learned some ways and useful tips that attorneys can be efficient and effective in their trial preparation. These tips assist attorneys in organizing their case properly and ensuring that they have a firm control over the proceedings of the case. These tips will also help attorneys to produce arguments that will help them to present a strong case and get the judgments to be in their favor.
7 Tips for an Efficient and Effective Trial Preparation
1. Planning every aspect of the case
There are very few factors that contribute more to the success of a case or trial than a carefully detailed plan covering all major as well as minor areas of the case. It is important to have a clear idea of the objectives of the case, and create a plan that will help the attorney to drive the case towards that direction. The plan should include the overall costs of the entire case as it would be unproductive for clients to win a case where the expenses are more than the rewards.
Also, when planning the course of a case, it is important to also include any minor hiccups that may occur, and include as many of these scenarios as possible in the planning process. This will help the attorneys to react well during such occurrences and ensure that the flow of the case is well under control.
2. Ensure proper communication between all members connected to the case
This includes the attorneys and their clients, and the numerous other paralegals and other litigation support team members that are assisting the attorney in the case. Proper communication between all concerned members associated with the case will ensure that everyone is aware of their roles and know what do in any situation. Proper communication will also to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings that can often swing the case out of favor, and cause irreparable damages.
3. Know the judge presiding over the case
Judges are bound by the law and are required to follow it when presiding over cases and trials. However, by virtue of their human nature, they also have certain habits and emotions that are very common in their court proceedings. Some judges are overly strict and preside over the court with a set of inflexible rules. On the other hand, there are those who are more easy-going, and might forgive a few lapses or rule violations. Studying the behavioral patterns and habits as well as the thought process of the judge can be very helpful in preparing a case in a manner that will gain the judge’s attention. This will have some, if not a major, influence on the eventual judgment and may be the winning factor that an attorney needs.
4. Preparing witnesses for trial questionings
This is a very common method used by numerous attorneys to ensure that their witnesses are able to present their statements well in court. The court can often become a stressful environment amidst a trial hearing, and even the most experienced attorneys often tend to wilt under the pressure. Witnesses, in comparison, are novices and unaccustomed to such scenarios. Hence, they often have the tendency to panic amidst courtroom trials, and this often has numerous adverse impacts on the case.
However, preparing a witness through a courtroom simulation may help them to achieve the confidence that will help them to give their statements in court in the proper manner. It is imperative to understand that witnesses and evidence are two major pillars on which cases are won. Preparing the witnesses will contribute greatly towards obtaining a favorable decision.
5. Prepare to always present a calm demeanor
It is important to always be calm and composed even in the most stressful of scenarios. This helps the mind to function better, and court trials require a perfectly functioning mind. However, there are scenarios when a major setback or development could cause this calm façade of an attorney to break. When this happens, the confidence of the attorney is dealt with a blow, and also causes the people in the courtroom to entertain doubts about the arguments presented by the lawyer.
However, maintaining a calm demeanor even under tremendous stress will have a positive effect on the people in the courtroom, and make them have faith in the confidence of the attorney. This can often dent the oppositions’ confidence as court trials often end up as a fight between the confidences of the two sides involved.
If you have not had a lot of experience in trials and in remaining calm throughout, it might be helpful to have a mock trial with your team members to practice various scenarios that may occur during the trial.
6. Prepare a believable story
There is a storyline with each case. How that story is presented in the courtroom can often be very persuasive for jurors, and help attorneys win favorable decisions. Regardless of how strong a case one may have, if they are unable to present it in a believable manner, the judges may not think much of it. On the contrary, when evidence is supported by a strong and believable storyline, the judges may accept it and rule the decision in its favor.
7. Use technology in your trial preparation
Technological innovation has led to the introduction of preparation and presentation technology for attorneys. This technology allows an attorney to prepare well for every trial. It may cut the preparation time down almost by half. In fact, the number of jurors expecting cases and evidence to be presented using technology is increasing tremendously.
Some attorneys are not using technology anywhere near the level they could be. With the various benefits that technology brings, attorneys should consider incorporating it into their daily professional practice as much as possible. (read more about this in Trial Preparation Technology Tips for Attorneys)
These are just some of many practices can be helpful to an attorney in being efficient and effective in trial preparation.
If you have other tips that have been helpful to you, I’d love to hear from you and possibly share your tips on our blog. If so, please email me (Jodi Casamo) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other related articles, we discuss Trial Preparation Technology Tips for Attorneys and What Should a Witness Know About a Deposition [Top 10 Articles].