Advice for novice lawyers appearing in court

Always remember the five P’s: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare, Prepare and Prepare. Study the case thoroughly, refute any evidence from the opposing party, build a case strategy to the end, and read the documentary evidence over and over again. Studying your opponent is the first step to success.

Visit the scene of the accident, crime, etc.: Never try to recreate the scene without having been there. Recreate the situation, model what the witness saw from his or her “vantage point” and bring this information to the court’s attention.

Visit the courtroom where the case will be heard in advance: This is necessary so that if you are delayed for the hearing, you do not have to run around in a hurry in search of a place to sit. Also, if possible, take a look around the courtroom: where the secretary sits, the place where witnesses are being questioned, etc. The fewer surprises you have for the first time, the less nervous the process will be.

Your appearance: For a litigator, appearance is still of great importance. I recommend wearing dark, rich colors and always, I emphasize always, clean shoes. Do not put anything in your shirt or trouser pockets to avoid bulges.

Fully control what is happening in the courtroom: You must show that you are sufficiently organized and prepared, make notes on any motions and statements of your opponent, keep everything that will refute your opponent’s evidence at hand, as well as lists of witnesses who have already been questioned. Arrange your documents so that you can get the one you need at any time (use post-it notes), as the judge gets annoyed when a lawyer starts digging through his papers and cannot find the right document for a very long time.

Prepare questions for witnesses in advance: Think about what information you want to get from a particular witness. Tactically, when questioning, I recommend starting with strong questions and ending with strong questions. Secondary questions should only confirm the presence or absence of what has been said. Make the questions so that they line up in a logical chain.

Prepare your objections to your opponent’s evidence in advance: Commit the objections to memory. Later, in the course of your speech, state these objections for each of your opponent’s evidence. There is nothing worse than forgetting to refute a piece of evidence that may be important to the court.

Develop a theme for your case (the author cites this point for use in a jury trial – approx. IQ Lawyer): No matter how complicated the case may be, you should find a theme that explains the case to the jury in simple terms. For example, you can develop the topic “What would happen if everyone started doing whatever they wanted without any consequences?” “How would you feel in similar circumstances?” The main concept of any topic should be: “betrayal-trust,” “lack of evidence,” or something that the jury will have to identify with.