Having practiced law for many years, I’ve had an occasion to try dozens upon dozens of cases, jury trials, bench trials, arbitration, and clients often ask me, “What can I do to put on a good case? What are some effective trial strategies? So I’m gonna give you three tips to put on a good case.
Number one, show up. I cannot stress how important it is to be physically present throughout trial. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in trials, where one or more of the parties are not there. The jury will notice the empty chair. Think about it. You’re asking the jury to take time out of their day to sit there and listen to your trial proceeding. The least you can do is to be there. Similarly, I’ve seen situations where the person who is sitting there knows nothing about the case, particularly in corporate situations. It’s important that the decision-maker, the person who had a role in the case, is physically present throughout the entire proceeding. When the jury comes in, they should see them. When the jury leaves for the day, they should see them. Trust me, juries notice empty chairs.
Dress the Part
Number two, dress the part. Clients ask me, “What should I wear to trial?” Well, do you wear boots to work? Wear boots to trial. If you wear company attire to work, wear company attire to trial. If you do not wear three-piece suits on a day-to-day basis as part of your job, do not wear a three-piece suit to trial. Why is that? Because you want the jury to see you in your role in the case. And so if you’re wearing a three-piece suit, and you don’t typically do that, then the jury may be confused. And worse, they may confuse you and think that you’re putting on a show or performance and you don’t want that. You want the jury to see you in your role in the case.
And finally, be yourself. And this of all the tips is the most important. Be yourself at all times. Trust me, judges and juries will see through acts and performances. You don’t want that. You want the jury to see you for who you are. So, if you’re loud and gregarious and passionate, that’s okay. When you’re on the stand, show your passion. The jury will appreciate that and they’ll see you for who you are. On the other hand, if you’re soft-spoken, more mild-mannered, that’s okay too. But make sure you tell your story. Tell the judge and jury why it is that you should win your case. Be authentic, be yourself.
So with those three tips, show up, dress the part and be yourself, you’ll be well on your way to putting on a good trial and effective trial strategy.