Trial Prep 101: Tips on What to Think About, What to Focus on, How to Behave, and What to Wear

In this day and age, the vast majority of cases never see a courtroom. Statistics show that more than 90 percent of cases filed are resolved in some fashion short of trial. But if you’re a litigator, odds are good that at some point in your career, you’ll have at least a case or two go to trial. And there’s no way around it. Trial work is hard. It’s time-consuming. And stressful. But if you prepare properly, it can be the most fulfilling aspect of practicing law. If you go into each case with the expectation of long, hard hours, pay attention to details, and expect the unexpected, you will increase your chance of succeeding. You almost certainly won’t win every case. But if you work hard and prepare properly, you’ll do the best possible job for your client every time. This article discusses how to do that in the context of trial preparation. What to think about and when to think about it. What to focus on and what to delegate. Even what to wear and how to behave. Because everything you do in the courtroom counts. And preparation is the key to making sure the courtroom experience is smooth and successful.

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Joseph S. Simms is a partner at Koehler Fitzgerald LLC in Cleveland, Ohio.

Copyright © 2017, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).


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