July 01, 2015

Trial Practice: A View From the Bench

Joseph S. Kiefer
From From the Trenches: Strategies and Tips From 21 of the Nation's Top Trial Lawyers, Chapter 1

As an attorney, I have had an opportunity to try numerous cases, both civil and criminal. I have served as a prosecutor, criminal defense counsel, and civil defense counsel. Consequently, I have had an opportunity to participate in trial practice in many different roles. Over the last several years, I have also had the opportunity to serve as a trial judge, adding another unique perspective on trial advocacy. This experience as a trial judge has allowed me to observe courtroom proceedings without the same pressures and constraints as the trial advocates. Without a stake in the outcome, other than serving justice, the experience has given me the chance to analyze what works and what doesn’t, as I have the opportunity to serve as fact finder on a variety of issues. The sum total of theses advocate and judicial experiences has taught me that different players involved in courtroom proceedings see the process in different ways. The trial advocate who understands these unique roles and perspectives is better prepared to satisfy the varied interests and complexities of courtroom advocacy.

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