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5 Free Trial Tips

#1. Always go with your gut instinct, if something does not feel right it probably isn’t right. As a trial lawyer you must trust your instincts, it’s the buffer between you and embarrassment.

#2. Research your witnesses. You should meet with your witness before trial and prepare your witness so that s/he will know what to expect at trial—a satisfied and informed witness will be more persuasive and effective in trial.

#3. Research your opposing counsel. You need to consider the following factors of the opposing lawyer: level of experience, talent, presence and demeanor, reputation, relationship with the judge, habits and preferences, how the attorney will be perceived by the jury. Such information can be obtained through sources such as colleagues, court clerks, bailiffs, and other individuals who know the opposing counsel.

#4. Research your judge’s background. Being familiar with the judge’s strengths and weaknesses will help guide the case. The following factors should be considered: strengths and weaknesses of the judge, the judge’s handling of evidentiary rulings, special demands that the judge may place on lawyers, if the judge was involved in any similar cases, educational and professional background of the judge, and the judge’s judicial philosophy.

#5. By thoroughly researching your case you should be prepared to handle most circumstances. Conduct a case analysis and evaluate facts and laws, procedural rules as well as the evidence and themes. Plan your case and gather facts, evidence, pleadings, trial memos, and trial briefs. Use your findings to prepare your entire case and presentation well in advance of the start of trial.

#6. BONUS - Look like you know what you are doing even if you don't. Often times perception is greater than reality!