Trial Advocacy

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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About Cross-Examining Eyewitnesses

About Cross-Examining Eyewitnesses

In any trial involving some event whether an interaction, accident, or transaction, the evidence presented in the form of testimony by eyewitnesses is typically immensely persuasive. There are some simple principles for lawyers to remember when formulating a plan to cross-examine a witness. Jurors place great weight on eyewitness testimony, especially if the witness has no apparent bias and is simply a neutral, disconnected party who happened to allegedly observe the event under scrutiny. The evidence offered through eyewitness testimony is promising to a juror, assuming that the witness is credible and reliable. If a juror believes that an eyewitness has...

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Florida Court Conducts Jury Selection Over Zoom

Florida Court Conducts Jury Selection Over Zoom

With the pandemic continuing to rage in the late summer of 2020, courts continue to adapt all over the United States. Florida’s courts have been operating under emergency guidelines since a March 13, 2020, order suspended jury trials and implemented other actions to restrict potential virus spreading activities in Florida state courts. Some jury trials have resumed in parts of Florida using remote teleconferencing technology for all or part of the proceedings. As a way to assist in planning how to safely resume jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida, recently conducted a jury trial...

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Attorneys, Advocates, And The CDTA Vision

Attorneys, Advocates, And The CDTA Vision

From the time the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) accepted its first class of students in 2012, it provided them with a unique, innovative, genuinely modern focus on legal education. While this emphasis implements the same comprehensive learning curriculum as traditional law schools, it contemplates and remedies the common shortcomings of law school graduates. At CDTA, we educate students to be lawyers, but we also train and develop them to be exceptional trial advocates. The Attorney Upon leaving law school with a JD, ideally, a graduate should understand the substantive law and be in the position to start her own practice or assume the role...

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Knowing The Minority’s View

Knowing The Minority’s View

A minority or dissenting opinion is an opinion by one or more judges in a legal case who disagree, or dissent, with the decision reached by the majority. Any law student knows that a dissenting opinion creates no binding precedent as any applicable part of case law. Yet, it is not uncommon for judges to cite them as persuasive authority for an argument the holding of a court should be overturned or limited. John Patrick Dolan founded the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA) based on the philosophy of not only teaching students the substantive law, but on training, educating,...

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Some Thoughts About Trial Strategy

Some Thoughts About Trial Strategy

Trial strategy is an attorney’s comprehensive plan that when executed will provide the best chance of success in a litigated matter. Attorneys may use certain tactics throughout a trial as tools for specific purposes designed to implement this strategy. Since every legal matter differs when considering the underlying facts of each matter, applicable law, the measure of damages, defenses, etc., so must every trial strategy differ. Approaches to trial strategy may be far-ranging. There are basic, straightforward ideas as well as concepts that delve into the psychological realm and utilize other advanced approaches. The basic concepts of trial strategy involve the simple...

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Ten Tips For Voir Dire

Ten Tips For Voir Dire

Generally. voir dire involves the preliminary examination of a juror by counsel. Frankly, voir dire is the mechanism through which attorneys select, or perhaps more appropriately reject, certain jurors to sit and hear a case. It is also a phrase used for a variety of procedures related to jury trials. Here are ten tips for effective voir dire. Adopt the proper orientation. Questioning during voir dire should be “conversational” rather than like an interview. Tell jurors why they are there. Explain the process to jurors requesting, if not cordially demanding, their honesty and candor, while helping them acknowledge their biases. Get jurors...

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Tools Of Trial Advocacy – Direct Examination

Tools Of Trial Advocacy – Direct Examination

The ability to effectively question witnesses and elicit information is a necessary and crucial skill for an attorney advocate to develop and master. Any attorney who plans on a legal career that involves litigation must address this valuable skill and tool of trial advocacy. According to one judge, direct examination of a witness is one of the rare times that an attorney has a substantial measure of control over how the story of a witness, including client, gets told to the jury in the most compelling manner, logically presented and uninterrupted. The direct examination of witnesses is the most important component...

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Tools Of Trial Advocacy – Preparing For Voir Dire

Tools Of Trial Advocacy – Preparing For Voir Dire

There are many tools of trial advocacy that are important for attorney-advocates to perfect in law school and their practice. One tool that is often overlooked is the voir dire process – choosing a jury. The process of selecting those individuals responsible for fact-finding and deciding a legal matter is not one to be taken lightly. Voir dire may help attorneys identify jurors who can be fair and impartial, rather than unfair and biased. Attorneys are seeking those members of the jury pool who need to be removed and the questions of attorneys should be structured to expose them. As a preliminary...

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