Top 6 Trial Prep Mistakes That Must Be Avoided

Preparing for a trial takes experience and knowledge as well as a unique perspective on how to conduct a case. While no two litigators are alike, many often find themselves making the same mistakes. It is easy to make fundamental mistakes when preparing for a trial. In this guide, we will help guide you in the mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Here are the top 6 trial prep mistakes that must be avoided.

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Lack of Story

One major mistake litigators make is not providing a valid story in the case. The art of storytelling is an effective persuasion device. It is critical that every case you make must have a story around it. Many teams often arrive with no story and leave litigators to craft one up for them. However, without a story, there is no effect on the case. This is your chance to prepare the jurors on why they should care about your client and the involving case. If not, the results will not be successful.

Using Associates or Paralegals As Trial Technicians

Many good people who support litigators are often asked to run software that they are not fully experienced with. This often leads to a poor presentation from an under-experienced person and ends up with poor results. The judge and the jury will be forced to wait in silence for minutes on end just to wait for the technology to work. Refrain from using those who are inexperienced in the technology. After all, you will not get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Using Amateur PowerPoint Skills

One surprising mistake that is often made is preparing the litigation graphics on your own. Most of us know how to use the basic skills of PowerPoint. However, not everyone understands the right choices of using tools to prepare a slide. Keep this in mind if you want to win over the jury.

Failing to Survey the Courtroom

Just as professional singles and athletes visit their areas in advance, visiting the courtroom will improve your confidence and prepare you before the trial begins. Find out how large the courtroom will be. Is it too small for a standard-sized projector? If so, they will not be able to use it in the layout.

Failure to Testing Graphics Beforehand

Surprisingly, mock trials are often conducted without testing the graphics beforehand. This is important as you do not want to find out during the trial that the equipment or graphics are incompatible the with court setup. The jury relies more on what they see rather than what they hear, so be sure to prepare a visual presentation.

Losing Your Patience

Even the best trial teams face tough cases. But that doesn’t mean you need to lose your cool when anxiety is at its highest. Preparation is key, especially in this situation. Prepare for the worst and expect the best.

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Conclusion

It is important to understand your setting and the judge who will be present. There are plenty of ways to research a judge and give you a clear understanding of what they expect in their case trials.

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Last-Minute Trial Prep

When it comes to preparing for a trial, there is no single approach that will work for everyone. That is why it is important to prepare and create a strong strategy. In this guide, we will help you understand how strategies work and why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute.

Here are 6 reasons why you should avoid last-minute trial prep.

Last-Minute Prep Costs More

One mistake litigators make it believes that fewer hours of prep will mean less cost for preparation. However, this is entirely false. Making last-minute preparations will lead you to use more staff than the ideal amount for a single project. This will lead to using most staff and higher costs. Last-minute prepare will also lead to using more people that it would’ve taken if done on time.

Quality Storytelling Takes Time

Storytelling in the court relies on the connection of persuasion. This improves scientific studies as well. Crafting a quality story that is persuasive must not be rushed.

Maximizing Effective Persuasion Requires Plenty of Time

Anyone can construct a quick presentation on PowerPoint using a template with bullet points. However, quality visual presentations require time and expertise. Litigations graphics in the presentation will indicate just how good the presentation is. The main point is to reject what is unneeded and keep what is necessary for the creative process.

Mock Trials Are Used for Better Understanding

While many juror consultants suggest that mock trials are used to predict what will happen during the trial, mock trials are better used for understanding on the reactions to the case. This will better prepare you for the case by learning from cases and helping you find key details for a successful trial. Additionally, you will also understand the other side’s case and learn your ideal jury profile.

Makes Use of Too Much Gut Instincts

When preparing for a trial for a limited period, the litigator will rely too much on their gut instincts rather than on scientific analysis of what is effective and what is not. The great news is that successful litigators do have great gut instincts. When it is combined with analysis, outside perspective, science, and expertise, the case will have better results.

Fewer Options

When an individual decides to skip getting their college diploma, there is no solid reason why they can’t be just as or even more successful than a graduate. However, their options will have a less chance of success. The same goes for preparing for your trial. Teams that wait until the last minute will end up with fewer options and choices on how to prepare.

Conclusion

There are countless ways on how you can prepare for a case that will encourage ideal settlement. When you prepare for the trial, it is important to prepare the witness and test them with the questions they should expect. Running a mock trial will help you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This will lead you to a strong position in the settlement.

6 Trial Presentation Tips You Can Learn From Actors

Ever wondered why courtroom scenes are frequently shown all over TV shows and movies? That is most often because the audience loves the drama that comes with the clash between right and wrong.

With all that drama, you can barely notice the level of skill actors need to behavior like lawyers. However, actors have been known to study the best lawyers in the world to determine what it takes to get the scene right. That is why we can learn a lot from Hollywood actors in what it takes to make a trial presentation compelling.

Here are 6 Trial Presentation Tips You Can Learn From Actors.

Make Great preparation


By the time actors perform, they will already know everything they need to know about the plot and their role in it. A successful presentation requires hours of preparation. You don’t have to start your presentation as an essay but rather an effective method of communication. If you write your presentation down on flashcards to just read each out one by one, this will create an impersonal delivery and lose the audience’s attention.

Practice, Practice, Practice


While most actors might not have what it takes to be an actual lawyer, they can surely pull it off in their scenes. This is due to hours of practicing. It is important to practice what you are going to say and how you will deliver it. Listen to the sound and confidence in your voice.

Are your nerves causing you to feel disrupted? Do you find yourself speaking too fast? You can deliver your speech in an audio recorder to get a glimpse of how you sound like to an audience. To help you improve, you can send it to a colleague or family to help you gain better feedback.

Warm Up


Even with hours of practice and preparation, do not underestimate the tools you need to perform. Actors will never walk onstage without warming up. Before walking into the courtroom, warm up your voice and move around. Take deep breaths as you stand to get your blood flowing. Make sure to keep your body and voice expressive as this will help activate concentration and calm the nerves.

Use Simple Language


The best screenwriters know how to make simple sentences go far. Using layman’s terms and language will lay out a forward and emotional sense in your opening statement.

Relate to the Jury


It is important to create a moment that relates to the jury. Ideally, consider touching the most crucial part of the case as it is important to relate the knowledge of a local custom to something meaningful.

Be Ready to Respond


Anything can happen during a performance. This forces actors to prepare for the unexpected. Someone may miss their cue or end up on the wrong stage. Remember to take the time to breathe and read the audience.

Conclusion

You’ve done your work, checked your facts, understand your laws and know what you want as well as how you will get it. Just remember to keep your eyes on the juror and invite your audience to care about what you are trying to say.

5 Statements Lawyers Should Never Say in Court

When it comes to major case hearings, lawyers always have a lot to say. However, how the sentences that come out isn’t always what they expect. I conducted an interview with Chris Stoy, which is a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer at Hutchison & Stoy and had him list some of the most common statements that you never want to hear yourself say in court.

Here are 5 statements lawyers should never say in court:

“Can I please have a few minutes to sort out this issue?”

Fixing any sort of issue, especially technical glitches, during the middle of a hearing is something you don’t want to do in court. However, this is one statement that many lawyers end up saying from time to time. While there are some exceptions of technical difficulties that cannot be controlled, most problems are easily preventable. In cases like these, it is always best to have a backup plan.

“You might not be to see this clearly, but here it is.”

If valuable evidence is not clearly shown, why would the juror and judge include it in their decision? Make sure that whatever you plan to show is clearly visible. This is one of the most common mistakes we see in court. A good presentation provides high-quality text and projectors that include equipment, proper font sizes, and more. Be sure to use texts no smaller than 25. Small problems like these can easily be avoided. However, it is one of the most common PowerPoint mistakes litigators make.

“You can take my word for it.”

Litigators often catch themselves saying things like “you can take my word for it” or “believe me.” However, as a litigator, it is your job to prove the evidence to the case. If you find yourself saying something like this, it ruins the effect of the presentation and becomes an inadequate exercise for visual quality. The juror will take it as an excuse to explain your errors. With all the quality testing tools available, there is no excuse to make this statement and be unprepared.

“Put yourself in their position”

Known as the “Golden Rule” in the courtroom, this statement alone creates a negative approach to the case. Yet, we still see lawyers, even from the top law firms making this mistake over and over. The statement is meant to ask the jury to put themselves in their client’s shoes. However, it may do more harm than good. The purpose of the statement is to really help the jury understand. However, there is a line between how it is said and delivered. Avoid statements like “imagine if you were in their place and suffering or “reward my client the same as you would expect to receive.”

“Check out my next bullet point.”

Generally, the use of bullet points on slides must be avoided. This court will be forced to read them rather than listen to your presentation. Additionally, it is important to understand that you must not speak and show at the same time.

Keep these statements in mind for your next court presentation. Knowing what not to say will help guide you in better performance and in results.

4 Reasons Why the Consulting Expert is Vital in Science-Based Litigation

Consulting experts are important for the success of a trial case. However, many litigators fail to realize that the performance of the expert must be well experienced and engaged.

To better understand why we have compiled a few reasons why it is important to identify a qualified expert in science-based litigation. The testifier must be qualified and credible communicative to the jury. These details are often the success of a case.

Check out these 4 reasons why the consulting expert is vital in science-based litigation.

Experts have Limited Availability


According to AML Experts, the ideal consulting expert will have limited time due to their daily obligations as the leader in their field. That is why it is one of the most common challenges litigators have when working with a consulting expert. A testifier who conducts scholarly research, teachers, or simply committed to too many clients will be hard to work with. However, their opinions are vital to helping the court understand the science involved. Understanding the science will not be enough to cross-examine the other side’s expert witness. A consulting expert will provide useful details and take the time to prepare you for your case.

Understands the Litigation Landscape Better than Academic Expert Witnesses


Consulting experts understand the litigation landscape better than academic expert witnesses. However, this is an excepted of professional testifiers as many are not particularly experienced in litigation and may not be used to the manner of twisting and turning scientific evidence. A consulting expert will have studied the literature, as well as the positions of the reports, trials, and depositions. This will help litigators prepare for their testifiers more effectively.

Provides Meaningful Evaluation as well as Their Own


Consulting experts provide a better means of evaluating the case as well as their own. They can provide a thorough understanding of where the strengths and weaknesses lie within the evaluation. Today, clients are demanding the opportunities to find more ways to resolve disputes without having to spend big bucks on further discovery and retention. An expert will help access the case to help provide the effective cost-saving demands of the client.

Builds Network of Ideal Testifiers


The right consulting expert will also help you find ideal testifying experts for complex issues. This is ideal for litigators who don’t have the time to do their complete research into the science. The right testifier will provide the right candidates who have profound views that will answer the questions to critical questions. A quality consultant will help vet and the selection process in areas where the litigator cannot.

Conclusion

A consultant expert will help assess the areas of attack that can make or break the case. While lawyers are highly skilled at identifying errors of omission, logical flaws, and inferences that may damage the analysis, a consulting expert will dig deeper into the scientific research to help ensure that the argument is truly effective.

3 Strategies on How to Handle A Hesitant Expert Witness in Court

An expert opinion witness lies at the center of many cases. That is because its significance plays a strong role in the issues within the case. Expert witnesses are proven to be highly educated and brilliant specialists in their field.

Experts must be well-prepared for their testimony as well as every possible attack against it. This is where the case would be determined as a win or lose. Experts that fail to provide visual aids to support their testimony will become invalid and not useful for the case.

Additionally, they are also the individuals that can turn their testimony into a defeat or victory in court. The task is to allow them to be as effective as possible, which can be achieved through preparation. However, not all experts are welcoming to the challenge.

Some expert witnesses use visual aids to support their claims, while others use trial graphics consultants. These are meant to be used for technical presentations that are well understood in laymen’s terms. In other cases, expert witnesses are certain that they will already be well understood without the use of charts. So how does one convince an expert witness to testify in court?

Here are 3 strategies on how to handle a hesitant expert witness in court.

Boost Their Ego


Talk to the expert witness and tell them that most jurors and judges are not as intelligent as they are, so visual tools will help them to better understand the testimony. Using a related quote that help inspired their willingness to accept and motivated to communicate effectively. The right tool and understanding will help boost their ego and motivate them to speak with effective tools.

Use Video Tests on the Expert


If the expert witness is interested in improving the testimony, the best way to get started is to use repeat video tests. You can do this with an online evaluation service or with a live mock jury. Consider this as a rehearsal for the opening performance. Video tests will allow you and the expert to see their strengths and what they lack in their performance.

Let the Expert Go


It is important to understand that having the right evidence is not enough to win over a trial. An expert witness must be able to present their given evidence persuasively without causing confusion. Why try forcing someone into an uncomfortable situation that they are not ready for?

The expert witness will need to be just as confident as they are knowledgeable about their industry. This will clearly show on the stand if they come off as uncomfortable. Expert testimonies are based on 20% persuasion and 80% knowledge.

Conclusion

If the following strategies don’t help you reach success, perhaps it is time to let the expert go and shop around for another. As the litigator, it is not your job to thoughtfully explain the need for quality visual aids.