Whether you’re a seasoned litigator or a recent law school grad just beginning your career, thorough trial preparation remains the most critical factor in your overall success. This is, however, easier said than done, as mounting responsibilities make it difficult to stay on top of a seemingly endless to-do list. Luckily, you’re not alone, and successful attorneys have created a number of useful strategies for coping with the workload, streamlining the preparation process, and optimizing the use of every hour leading up to trial.
1. Organize Plans
Before you get to work, put your thoughts, responsibilities, and plans on paper. Create a schedule that details important dates, such as deadlines for motions or evidentiary exhibits, as well as structured to-do lists. Don’t forget to include travel, lodging, and meal accommodations in your plans.
2. Delegate Work
It may seem like an obvious suggestion, especially to senior attorneys with a wealth of human resources at their disposal, but attorneys of all ages can find themselves taking on too much work. Delegating tasks frees up your schedule and allows you to focus on more intensive or pressing issues.
You can also seek help outside of in-house support by connecting with professionals whose job it is to lighten your workload. Hiring a litigation support specialist, for example, is an easy way to ensure that technology is not only used most efficiently but also always running without you having to do anything at all.
3. Review Materials
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for court is to review relevant materials, especially those you intend to center in your arguments. Even if you have tirelessly poured over them throughout the duration of the case, it helps to refresh your memory, as changes to past proceedings are common and ongoing.
4. Create a Narrative
Preparing what you want to say in your opening and closing statements is critical to the formation of a successful overall argument. Your statements should be cohesive and clearly connected to one another, forming a circular argument that presents like a story to jurors. Since stories are more memorable than stand-alone facts, crafting a narrative out of your arguments ensures that the judge, jurors, and audience remain not only attentive but also empathetic toward your client.
Although preparing for trial may intimidate even the most experienced attorneys, you can employ a number of useful tips to make the process more manageable and ensure that your day in court runs as smoothly as possible.