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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Trial Preparation Requires Client Preparation

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There is more to preparing for trial in a personal injury case than lining up witnesses, organizing exhibits, preparing arguments and researching the law. One of the most important steps a trial lawyer must take is to properly prepare his client for the trial process.

Crucial to prep plaintiffs for trial

Preparing a plaintiff for a medical malpractice trial is a balancing act at the best of times, says medical malpractice and personal injury litigator Duncan Embury.

“On the one hand, you want to ensure that you come across assured, optimistic, and confident to your understandably nervous and emotional client, for whom the upcoming trial is likely to be one of the most significant and stressful events of their life,” he explains in his paper.

“On the other hand, you need to make sure that the client is not lulled into a false sense of security regarding the real risks of trial, and that their expectations are properly managed.”

He also says it’s key to discuss the potential cost implications of an unfavorable verdict. Make it clear, he says, that under a contingency arrangement while the client may not be responsible for your legal fees at an unsuccessful trial, they are responsible for satisfying the costs order requiring them to pay the defendant’s fees.

Duncan’s excellent article lists several specific steps he regularly takes to assure that his client is comfortable with all aspects of the trial experience. Although his article concentrates on a medical malpractice trial, the same preparation is required before every trial. After trying cases for 35 years I would rank client preparation within the top three most important steps required to achieve the best result in a trial.

There is more to preparing for trial in a personal injury case than lining up witnesses, organizing exhibits, preparing arguments and researching the law. One of the most important steps a trial lawyer must take is to properly prepare his client for the trial process.

Crucial to prep plaintiffs for trial

Preparing a plaintiff for a medical malpractice trial is a balancing act at the best of times, says medical malpractice and personal injury litigator Duncan Embury.

“On the one hand, you want to ensure that you come across assured, optimistic, and confident to your understandably nervous and emotional client, for whom the upcoming trial is likely to be one of the most significant and stressful events of their life,” he explains in his paper.

“On the other hand, you need to make sure that the client is not lulled into a false sense of security regarding the real risks of trial, and that their expectations are properly managed.”

He also says it’s key to discuss the potential cost implications of an unfavorable verdict. Make it clear, he says, that under a contingency arrangement while the client may not be responsible for your legal fees at an unsuccessful trial, they are responsible for satisfying the costs order requiring them to pay the defendant’s fees.

Duncan’s excellent article lists several specific steps he regularly takes to assure that his client is comfortable with all aspects of the trial experience. Although his article concentrates on a medical malpractice trial, the same preparation is required before every trial. After trying cases for 35 years I would rank client preparation within the top three most important steps required to achieve the best result in a trial.