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.
1. Begin with the end in view.
It is tempting to assume that cases are likely to settle rather than go to trial. While most cases do settle, that assumption leads to laziness and lack of preparation. From the first phone call from a prospective client, evaluate and prepare the case with the assumption that you must be prepared to try the case. If the case would not play well at trial, it may be prudent to turn it down. This will protect you from taking cases that lack merit, clients who lack credibility, strategies that are not likely to be cost effective, and expenses that cannot be recovered.