Trial Advocacy

Five Aspects Of The CDTA That Make It A Special Experience

Five Aspects Of The CDTA That Make It A Special Experience

The California Desert Trial Academy is a special place. At least those of us who have experienced it feel this way. We’re confident that you will feel the same way once you have the opportunity to visit the CDTA and discover all that it has to offer. Here is a list of those aspects of academic life at the CDTA that make it special. *Most law schools educate, the CDTA educates, trains, and develops attorney-advocates While the vast majority of traditional law schools view teaching the substantive law as their only function, the CDTA goes beyond this and offers regular instruction in...

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Areas of Practice That Require Understanding of Multiple Legal Subjects

Areas of Practice That Require Understanding of Multiple Legal Subjects

Attorneys practice law in many different contexts, including law firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Within each of these environments, attorneys may focus on one or several practice areas. Many, if not most, areas of legal practice involve the understanding of multiple legal subjects. Of course, an obvious example is that any attorney must understand the subject of civil procedure regardless of the area of law in which they practice. Some areas of practice, more than other areas, require an understanding of many different subjects. The practice of bankruptcy law is an excellent example. *Bankruptcy Bankruptcy lawyers represent individual and corporate creditors...

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What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part Two

What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part Two

The types of experts that may be retained are as varied as the subjects that lawyers may litigate. Expert witnesses. The primary purpose of an expert witness is to provide knowledge and insight into a technical area that may not be readily known or understood by the average fact finder. The more complex that a legal matter is, the more likely one or more expert witnesses will be required to testify. Expert testimony often addresses those facts which determine liability. As a result, expert witnesses may make or break a case. Lawyers must find an expert with more than an impressive resume...

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What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part One

What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part One

Normally, courts prohibit witnesses from testifying based on their own opinions or analysis. Federal Rule of Evidence 602. Courts relax these rules for expert witnesses testifying about matters within their field of expertise. Expert witness rules vary by jurisdiction. In federal courts, expert witness testimony is governed by Article VII of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Expert witnesses may testify about their conclusions in a case provided that their analysis is scientifically sound. In reaching a conclusion, an expert witness may proffer an opinion on the same types of evidence that those in their profession normally rely on in their field and work, even if such evidence is...

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Advice On Trying Your First Case

Advice On Trying Your First Case

Here are some tips and advice for any new lawyer about to enter the courtroom and try his or her first case. Do some advance work and scout the courtroom Legal scholars differ as to how an attorney should act while moving around the courtroom during a trial. Some believe that an attorney should always request permission to proceed while others believe that it is acceptable to move around until a judge directs otherwise. Many judges allow attorneys to freely walk around the courtroom provided they do so with purpose. A simple solution is to observe the judge in action when he...

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Surviving Discovery Disputes

Surviving Discovery Disputes

Regardless of the area of law, at some point, every lawyer must endure the challenges caused by a dispute with an opposing lawyer over some aspect of discovery. Unfortunately, for the expedient resolution of litigation, these discovery disputes occur far too often for  most lawyers even though most would do the same if they were in the same situation as opposing counsel. Discovery disputes inherently are like a tug-of-war, ever dynamic, as lawyers push and test each other’s boundaries and patience. It is also not uncommon for clients requesting that an attorney pursue a particular inquiry and avenue of discovery with...

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About Jury Instructions

About Jury Instructions

One of the most important components of a trial is the case’s jury instructions. These instructions or directions help jurors pinpoint a case’s specific issues, as well as those laws that are applicable and determinative of the outcome. The importance of jury instructions to the outcome of a legal matter may not be emphasized or stressed enough. Jury instructions identify those issues that the jury will be required to decide so jurors may understand the legal principles applicable to the case. Jurors may not reach a proper verdict if they do not understand the jury instructions or the instructions fail to adequately...

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Five Things To Avoid During A Hearing

Five Things To Avoid During A Hearing

Whether it is the first time or the hundredth time, it is an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience to walk into a court hearing. On one hand, an attorney’s attention is directed at asserting and protecting the rights of his or her client. On the other, he or she must act within the decorum required by the court and avoid any mistakes that may be detrimental to a case’s outcome. No lawyer is invulnerable to mistakes but some mistakes are more detrimental than others. The following lists five things that any attorney should avoid when handling a hearing, whether live and in-person...

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Litigating In The Age Of Social Media

Litigating In The Age Of Social Media

Social media has “deprivatized” society and, as a result, people have varying opinions about the true usefulness of social media. While these opinions may correlate to certain age demographics, almost everyone to some extent finds some use for social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest.  While social media may truly be significantly useful, it presents the potential to have deleterious effects on litigants. The availability of social media’s endless sea of information, much of it unchecked and unverified, presents various challenges for litigators. Litigating in 2020 requires attorneys to review and monitor any types of social media in...

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Factors Affecting Trial Strategy: The Client

Factors Affecting Trial Strategy: The Client

A lawyer’s plan of attack for a case that goes to trial utilizes certain trial tactics to implement an overall trial strategy. Because every case is different, the trial strategy of each case will be different as well. Just the same, specific universal principles may be applied in every case to formulate the best trial strategy for the case at hand. One factor that affects trial strategy in every case is the client. In personal injury cases, plaintiff’s attorneys are free to choose their clients while defense attorneys, who are retained by insurance companies, do not possess this same luxury. A...

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