After undertaking a big case, it’s extremely important to step back and seek a little perspective.
Trial can be a stressful and chaotic time, but it’s one of the most influential in a lawyer’s career. We’ve asked the Bast Amron team to share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way to ensure a successful hearing.
Witness preparation is the key to a successful trial. Witnesses tell the story, advance the themes, and close the loopholes. It is the job of a good lawyer to ask the right questions of a witness and the job of a great lawyer to have prepared a witness to give the right answers. –Lissette Carreras
Understand the Jury Charge
Although it’s usually one of the last things to be done, in a jury trial, the most important document is the jury charge—the list of questions the jury will answer during deliberations. No matter how well you present your case and poke holes in the other side’s, all of that will mean nothing if the jury isn’t asked precisely the right questions, or worse, doesn’t understand those questions. They can be completely on your side, but make a simple mistake on the charge form that costs you the case. One of the most valuable exercises is to actually go through the charge in detail with the jury during closing arguments, making sure they understand which answers will give your side a win. –Zak Laux
The Importance of Teamwork
What it takes to be successful in trial is similar to what it takes to be successful in life – surround yourself with a great team, prepare, adapt as necessary, and remain focused and determined. –Brett Amron
To me, the best lesson I have learned from trial is the importance of teamwork. Last year, we had a two-week jury trial for an important client of ours. Although it was a stressful time, and I have never worked harder, I was so proud of how our team came together. We divided the witnesses and other tasks for trial. Like a well oiled machine, we presented our case in a clear and cohesive fashion, with each person contributing in some way. We were honest with the jury, and they could see us working together. Our adversary had a team of lawyers and paralegals as well, but the jury only heard from one of them. I always felt ours was the right approach. And my belief was confirmed when the jury came back in our favor on every claim at issue. Getting the right result is such a great feeling. It doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does, all of the hard work and stress are overshadowed by the thrill of victory. –Jeff Bast
Next time you’re in trial, remember to take a deep breath. Being challenged and out of your comfort zone is where growth is initiated. As Epictetus best states, “It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.” And, feel free to reach out to us. We’re always willing to help if we can.
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