Last week, I had the honor of being able to present with my colleague Debbie Champion at a Continuing Legal Education meeting about some professional insights we have acquired from our more than 50 years of trial experience.
These are the five most essential insights Debbie and I gained from our years in the legal profession:
- Highlight good quotes from medical records to read to the jury.
Sometimes jurors have a hard time understanding the complete picture some experts are trying to get across. Reiterating good quotes from the expert allows the jurors to pay attention to key details and get a better understanding of the expert opinion.
- When cross-examining a witness, read from their deposition and be prepared with citations!
Witnesses play a key role in any trial. The last thing a lawyer wants is for his witness’s experience to be misrepresented in the court room. That is why it is essential to directly cite depositions while cross examining. Sometimes witnesses forget what they put in their depositions and that is why having citations from the original deposition is so key to maintaining a truthful and transparent court room.
- Use illustrations to show medical procedures.
One of the most essential roles of an attorney is to properly communicate the experiences of their client to the jury. Illustrations that are detailed make abstract and often hard to understand explanations of a client’s very real pain and suffering easier to understand. These illustrations ensure that the jury can fully understand your clients’ situation and deliver a more informed verdict.
- Deal with problems in your case before the defendant does.
Clients who are facing charges are already dealing with more than enough stress. As their counsel, it is our duty to alleviate as much of this doubt and stress as possible. By proactively addressing issues that may arise in your case and keeping them our of the way of your defendant, you will make your defense successful and your client will be even more confident going into the court room.
- Think before you object.
Objections and motions in the court room are essential to any good defense, however, these sometimes surprising and abrupt interruptions may be translated differently in the jurors’ heads than you intended. No attorney wants to be perceived as rash and unprofessional by jurors. Therefore, it is important to weigh the importance of appearing calm, cool, and collected before objecting. Always remember: the jury is watching!