What you need to know as a party to prepare for trial. This guide does not establish an attorney-client relationship or any legal duty on the part of the answerer. It is for general information only. Use at your own risk! Actual legal advice can only be provided when you retain a lawyer.
Meet with your lawyer
Find out what the issues are, who the witnesses will be and what the important documents are.
Review all previous testimony
These could be deposition transcripts, interrogatories, informal witness statements. Not just your statements — review everyone’s.
Familiarize yourself with the important exhibits
You do not have to be as familiar with them as your lawyer, but you should know what will be going into evidence.
Sit in on a trial
They are open to the public. So, pick one similar to yours. That is a jury trial if you have a jury, bench trial if you do not. Commercial, personal injury, criminal — try to get one close. You might try to get one in which the opposing lawyer is an advocate. You might try to get one in front of the same judge. Sitting in on a trial will help to put you at ease.
Set aside enough time for the trial
You may not have much advance warning of the scheduling of the trial. Give as much notice as possible to whomever you need to tell — spouse, boss, children, pet-sitter, etc.
Think about settlement
I mean realistically. Settlement is up to you, not your lawyer. there are almost always settlement overtures made at trial. Be ready.
Make sure you have nice clothes for trial
This may be more important than it first seems. Some jurors will judge you on your appearance. For men, this means a suit, shirt and tie. For women, this means a conservative suit, dress, or similar wear. Nothing overtly sexual. No flashy jewelry, no loud colors. Nothing garish. Think of what you would wear to go to a funeral.
Clifford M. Miller
Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer
Miller Law Offices
3760 20th Street
Vero Beach FL 32960-2464