If you are heading into a “trial by fire” just weeks before its start, you will find yourself frantic and struggling to pause other matters to focus all your attention on the case at hand. Preparing expert and fact witnesses, drafting direct and cross examinations, compiling deposition designations and exhibit lists, briefing on a variety of issues, and committing to memory technical studies—these will be among your long list of to-dos. As a “Big Law” associate, going to trial nowadays is a rarity, but if you do get to experience the madness, you will certainly view a case’s trajectory and tactics differently going forward. Will a jury understand the science and our theories? Are our experts objectively qualified and commanding communicators? Can we front our flawed documents? Where are there gaps and patterns among the productions? Can demonstratives better convey this story? If available, especially to junior associates, trial can provide vital litigation and life-skills training.
Although it is challenging to prepare a substantive work product for each day of trial, it is harder still to learn the tips and tricks that will keep you sane, help you be successful, and keep your stamina strong. Consider the following six overlooked steps to survival.