When I sent a young associate attorney to try his first case, I asked him if he was prepared. He responded he was. The case involved a summary ejectment action in which our firm represented the landlord. The landlord and tenant had entered an oral lease for over five years, thereby violating our state’s statute of frauds regarding oral five-year leases. With no lease, the relationship became a tenancy by will that required reasonable notice of default prior to termination. In order to prevail on our claim, we only needed to present one piece of evidence: a notice of default letter.
When the young associate returned with a scowl on his face, he muttered that he had lost the case. The magistrate obviously found the oral lease was invalid and that it was a tenancy by will. When I asked if he had introduced the letter, he said he had forgotten until after the both parties had rested their cases.