April 12, 2019 view from the bench

Final Pretrial Conference: Are You Ready?

Improve the "quality of the trial through more thorough preparation"

By Hon. Karen L. Stevenson

I recently finished a civil jury trial. The lawyers on both sides did a fine job. The jurors were attentive, and the verdict reflected thoughtful consideration of the evidence and careful adherence to the jury instructions. In a word, it went smoothly.

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This was not a coincidence. It was the result of a thorough final pretrial conference with the parties. One of the express purposes for pretrial conferences listed in Rule 16(a)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is “improving the quality of the trial through more thorough preparation.” Here are some tips on preparing for your final pretrial conference.

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