A Quick One on Trial Preparation

The key to effective trial advocacy has always been preparation - Schoenfield (1978)
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Simply put, trial preparation has to do with putting together materials needed for a court hearing. It is that phase where parties (plaintiffs and defendants) involved in a case have to think through every aspect of the case. This is a very crucial part of a trial for defendants and plaintiffs as it brings about the confidence they need to start with the facts of the case and work towards the law in a trial. It’s a period where the parties involved must be the master of the facts and know the good and bad before a case starts. Trial preparation can also give the judge and jury an overall, better understanding of the facts and information that are presented in a case. 

The process of trial preparation may differ according to cases and they can include activities like evidence gathering, forensic investigation, medical investigations, evidence analysis, private investigations, creation of investigation reports, preparing witness testimony, etc. In an article published by The Ontario Bar Association, here are pro tips for trial preparation;

  • Master the facts of the case as well as the law you will be relying on
  • Create a narrative that is simple, cohesive, and seemingly inevitable from the evidence
  • Spend time preparing your witnesses for cross-examination
  • Don’t underestimate the value of visual aids, chronologies, summaries, etc.
  • Understand the human condition and tell the story.

In essence, with trial preparation, an effective attorney is bound to be the most prepared person in the room and know about the case more than anyone else. The end goal is to equip the attorney with the necessary tools and defenses needed to win a case.

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