Well I made it though my first major trial prepping endeavor. I suppose that in the world of litigation, it wasn't as big a beast as I originally thought. However, it was big enough to require multiple hands and several long days. Now, thanks to the backstage team, the attorneys should be fully prepared for whatever this trial throws at them.
But where does that leave me? With a brand new trial to prep, of course. October-November appears to be trial season in the great city of Memphis (probably just like every other time of year), so I have the chance to learn a lot of different styles and techniques. After helping to tame the recent beast, I was surprised to find that not every case will threaten to devour my life and career. The newest one only took me about a day and a half to put together, all on my own.
I have learned a couple of new things over the past few weeks. First, not everything can fit into a condensed trial notebook. Binders can be my best friend. We created binders for all of the important pleadings in the case: complaints/answers, discovery pleadings, any pleadings relating to a particular party or motion of interest, etc. We also create binders for all parties, fact witnesses, and expert witnesses. In some cases, one expert took up an entire three-inch binder, while in others, all of the plaintiff's experts fit into one notebook. Obviously, the binders can be tailored to the specific needs and major focuses of each case. The notebook system comes with the benefit of allowing easy access to the most important information to be referenced at trial, whatever that may be. No rummaging through loose paper and digging through redwells, or searching through a fifteen volume pleading index to find a party's responses to requests for admission.
Every case is different, as is every attorney, as is every paralegal prepping the file. Being new to litigation, I have found the notebook method to be helpful and enticing when preparing my first two cases, but I am sure there are plenty of other efficient ways to meet the same goal. Feel free to comment with your suggestions. I'm sure I could use them all, and other readers might benefit, as well.
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