Trials are hard and stressful. Every lawyer knows this, and they all get nervous when standing in front of a full courthouse. The fear of being embarrassed can make new lawyers nervous and derail their trial. That said, there are a few things you can do to make sure your first trial goes as smoothly as possible.
Always Understand the Charges
The judge will know about the charges and the opposing attorney will too. So, you should too. Start by reading the complaint as this will tell you what the judge is looking at and will give you a better chance to prove or disprove the charges as alleged. Once you understand the charges, you then need to ask yourself what evidence you need to gather, which witnesses you need on your side, and if anything significant has changed with the case such as the defendant pleading guilty or entering into a plea agreement.
You will also need to look at the complaint to see if the key facts of the case are established there and if there are any key elements to the charges that you need to investigate.
Analyze Your Case
You will need to understand what you need to prove or disprove to win the case. In doing this, you must ask yourself if you have the evidence to persuade the judge and jury. Also, poke your arguments to see if there are any obvious weaknesses you need to take care of before you go to court.
If you are defending a third-party, you need to understand what the opposing lawyer needs to prove so you can find out how to disprove it. It is important to be honest with yourself and your client. If you have a strong case, let them know. If there are weaknesses you cannot take care of, let them know too and work together with them to minimize the damage the opposing lawyer will do.
Prepare Documents and Evidence
The right documents and evidence will help you either win or lose the case. But, before you prepare the evidence and documents for court, you need to gather them. Since you already understand the case, you know what evidence you need to prove or disprove the arguments that will be brought forward.
To make things easier on yourself, you can use a document retrieval service. For example, American Retrieval is the perfect companion in any case involving medical records, as their job is to help you retrieve hard-to-find medical records. There are companies that will help you retrieve other types of documents and evidence you need too.
Ensure you have copies of all these documents and evidence and do not give out the originals unless explicitly asked to do so.
Prepare Your Witnesses
Witnesses, as with good evidence, can help you win your case. The witness must support key points of your case, have first-hand knowledge of what happened, have no reason to lie, have the right expertise if they are an expert witness, and be available and willing to testify on the day they are called upon.
Getting ready for your first court case can seem daunting but good preparation can help alleviate any fears or nervousness you may have. When doing these preparations, ensure that you double-check everything. The opposing attorney might know you are new and try to intimidate you, but if you are well prepared, that tactic will not work.