Preparing for Court
If no settlement can be reached, you and your attorney will have to prepare for trial. Your preparation will depend on what type of case you have.
Bench or Jury Trial
Your case will either be tried by a jury or by a judge, called a bench trial. Depending on the case, you or the opposing side may have the opportunity to request a jury trial. In making such a decision, you should consider who the assigned judge is, the location where the trial will take place, and the case’s subject matter. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Plan your case
Your attorney will assist you in reviewing all of the documents and evidence in your case and will come up with a strategic plan for presenting your case at trial.
You may require the testimony of expert witnesses or other witnesses. Expert witnesses are those who have specific expertise in a subject matter involved in your case. Lay witnesses are those who may have witnessed the incident or who have some other knowledge about the specific details of your case. Your attorney will subpoena any necessary witnesses for the trial and will prepare questions for each witness.
Exhibits are documentary evidence used to support your case in court, and can include photos, diagrams, videos, accident reconstructions, or a disputed contract. Your attorney will prepare an organized plan for presenting the evidence that proves your case at trial.
Your attorney will prepare jury instructions for the court if you are involved in a jury trial. The judge will read these instructions to the jury to assist them in making the ultimate decision. While the attorney drafts the instructions, what is read to the jury is ultimately up to the judge.
Practicing for Trial
A good attorney is well prepared for the case before it goes to trial. Your attorney will likely go through mock questioning with you before you go on the stand, and may even conduct a mock trial to make sure your case is presented in the best manner and that you feel more comfortable when the actual trial gets underway.
If you are involved in a lawsuit, an experienced litigation attorney to guide you through the process is invaluable.