As president of the State Bar of Georgia, I often have occasion to speak at events that extend beyond my own personal injury, wrongful death and commercial trucking law practice. The following is excerpted from my presentation — “Trial Preparation: 30 tips in 30 Minutes” – at the Georgia Law of Torts seminar at Mercer University Law School in Macon on September 23, 2011.

7. Draft jury instructions early.

Judges are understandably most comfortable using pattern jury instructions. Prior to drafting the complaint and discovery, compile all the applicable pattern jury instructions and prepare a preliminary draft of additional charges not covered by the pattern.  Research statutes and case law rather than simply relying solely upon patterns and forms. Then develop pleadings, interrogatories and deposition questions with the probable jury instructions in mind.