It is easy to understate the importance of good trial lawyers when prosecuting or defending a case in court. A client of legal services simply must screen his/her potential lawyer for trial experience, skill and knowledge.
The trial attorney is a specific breed. In the span of a 2-5 year litigation, the trial lawyer can anticipate, all the way back in the discovery phase, what challenges will be faced at the ultimate trial and is better equipped to minimize those challenges. The trial lawyer involved in the discovery phase can make the case that much better and insulate a weakness from hurting the case at trial. Conversely, the trial attorney can make a strength in the case overwhelming to the adversary so that only a favorable settlement or a win are imminent. But it is the familiarity with burdens of proof, evidentiary rules, and judicial requirements of the lawyers that sets a trial attorney apart, and gives the consumer the best chance at a favorable outcome. Of course, in every case, lawyers cannot guaranty any particular result as a case has a number of variables throughout its years-long trudge through the court system.
There are many different types of attorneys, but not all of them are skilled, or even comfortable, stepping into the trial Courtroom. A trial is a stressful, time-consuming, and serious project. A trial cannot be handled by just any attorney. To name only a few, the lawyer has to know the rules of evidence, court procedure at trial, demeanor with a judge and jury, general process, and proof requirements and the law.
And it is also not enough to have done only judge or “bench” trials. A good trial advocate is comfortable and familiar with both judge and jury trials. The right to a jury extends to both sides, so even though a litigant may request a bench (judge) trial, the lawyer has to be ready to try the case to a jury if the other side so requests.
Preparation is everything. It is not only the trial lawyer’s own preparation of documents, order of testimony, arguments to the judge and others that is important. It is the preparation of the client for the stress of testifying that is crucial. There should be no surprises to either the sum or substance of what the client and the witnesses will testify. Comprehensive preparation is the key to a successful trial.
But there are always unknowns in litigation. The good trial attorney is able to handle whatever is thrown at them. Sometimes battles are not always won, but it is the war that is most important.
The Ely, Valentine & Reed, PLLC firm is here to be your trial lawyer, with years of experience, battles won, and satisfied clients, we’re here to help. Give us a call and get your FREE consultation.