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Practice Tips

Dec 31, 2015

Solo doesn’t mean alone

Solo practitioners are constantly faced with tackling multiple jobs while trying to achieve the most important goal: building a successful law practice. If you’re a solo, in addition to being a lawyer, you have to be a small business owner, an accountant, a marketer, a networker, an IT specialist and often times a manager of […]

Nov 18, 2015

Learn the unwritten rules

In every walk of life, there are unwritten rules that must be learned through experience, observation or training. So it is with trial practice. You can learn the rules of evidence and the rules of procedure, but much of what happens in court is governed either by how those rules are applied in practice or […]

Oct 21, 2015

Borrowing and the art of trial advocacy

Whether you are just starting out or an experienced hand, you should take every opportunity you can to watch other lawyers try cases. When a trial lawyer stands up in open court, the lawyer is not only pleading the case, he is demonstrating his skills, style and technique. Watch, listen and learn. That is one […]

Oct 14, 2015

Five reasons why you lost your jury, and your case

Litigating is a mix of science and art. It takes the right amount of craft, knowledge, intelligence, evidence and personality to get the people in the box to see things your way. Sometimes it’s easier to do in some areas than in others; for example, if your case has very strong evidence, other elements can […]

Jul 27, 2015

Prepare your witness for questions about preparation

It was like watching a slow-motion train wreck. As a young prosecutor, years ago, I was sitting in court and saw a witness self-destruct over something that should’ve been an easy preliminary. Witness preparation is an important topic. Generally, we prepare our witnesses to testify about the case, but do we also prepare them to […]

Apr 20, 2015

Lawyer debunks traditional trial maxims

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Throw away your copy of the 10 Commandments, urges Gerald F. Ivey. He doesn’t mean the book of Exodus. He means the 10 Commandments of Cross-Examination, a popular guide and lecture series by the late noted trial advocate Irving Younger. Ivey said some of the old methods need to be […]

Mar 31, 2015

To better gauge damages, you should get to know your jury

When it comes to analyzing a jury’s determination of damages, everyone has a theory. After all of the expert preparation, conjecture and plain guesses, in the end jurors often decide according to no formula, with the exact number virtually unpredictable. You disagree? You say you know where a jury will land? Sometimes you can guess […]

Feb 16, 2015

The witness’s 4 magic words: ‘Please rephrase the question’

In the futuristic movie “I Robot,” Will Smith’s detective speaks to a computer-generated hologram of the scientist whose death he is investigating. When the detective’s questions veer off from being clear and simple, the hologram intones, “I’m sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right questions.” Real witnesses, even more than holograms, have […]

Feb 3, 2015

Tell your witnesses they should be relentlessly polite

Don’t just tell witnesses to be polite. Tell them to be relentlessly polite. And relentlessly positive. That’s not etiquette advice. It’s a survival technique. Being polite in this environment can be a tough, often thankless job, but it is essential to being a good witness. It’s hard but necessary work. The experience of being a […]

Jan 2, 2015

Lawyers, start your questions

Depositions are such a common part of today’s civil litigation landscape that much of how they are conducted has become routine. That includes the opening “admonishments” to the witness. But every witness and every situation is different. Everything you do in the witness environment, right from the start, should be for a reason, not just […]

Dec 29, 2014

7 things to say to a potential divorce (or other) client

Hiring an attorney can be a stressful and time-consuming task for people who suddenly find themselves in need of legal representation. The following are my top seven items that I discuss during an interview with a potential client: 1) “There may be a more effective option to solving this issue than using the courts.” If […]

Sep 8, 2014

Turn your bio into a business magnet

The smart lawyer can turn a bio into a marketing magnet that generates leads, as opposed to a mere resume or a CV, which recite only education and experience. The trick is to turn one of your features into a benefit to the client. In other words, if you’ve partaken in a particular activity, you […]

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