Trial Advocacy

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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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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