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Preparing for a Trial

Article By Johnson Jensen in Helpful Articles


Going to trial can be an emotional and stress-ridden experience. When our clients come to us, we want to prepare them as best we can for what lies ahead. We make it a point to not only help our clients prepare for the trial itself, but what can happen immediately following the trial as well.

Winning the trial doesn’t mean you get what you want

It’s important to prepare our clients for all possible outcomes of a trial. In particular, we like to remind them that just because the verdict is in their favor, they may not really be “winning” their case. This can happen when what they were offered before the trial began is more than what they are ultimately awarded by the jury.

It may not be over when you think it’s over

After any verdict for the plaintiff, the defense has the right to appeal. This threat of an appeal makes the “trial” last longer, because new questions are raised that we must analyze and discuss with the client. For example:

  • •   What are the chances of their appeal?
  • •   Did the judge make a mistake that will require a new trial?
  • •   Should we consider negotiating a settlement for less than the verdict to avoid an appeal?
  • •   Should we double down and defend the appeal knowing that there is a 1 in 3 chance the judgment could be taken away?

Preparation is imperative 

There is a lot of discussion and time spent with our client when they first come to us. The decision to go to trial can be a very difficult choice for them if there is a substantial, but not satisfying, offer on the table.

Regardless of whether the offer before trial is good, bad, or nothing, we have to prepare our client for the trial. This means a lot of face-to-face meetings. We will take our clients to the courtroom to see what it looks like, so they can become more comfortable with the room and better visualize how everything will go. We also make it a point to discuss and go over every step of the trial process from jury selection to verdict.

We explain to the client that you must be aware of your conduct from the second you park your car at the courthouse until you go home. They should assume jurors or potential jurors are everywhere and may be observing them and their behavior. And, we do the same thing ourselves. Courthouses can be very busy places with lots of people coming and going. You never know who can be watching you.

We’re here to relieve the stress and anxiety

We also prepare our client for the stress and anxiety caused by having their whole life open to scrutiny by a jury. The jury will not only hear testimony and see evidence about our client’s medical history in great detail, but they will be watching our client’s every move in the courtroom. They will be reading body language of our client.

We make sure our client is ready for these things to relieve as much stress and anxiety as possible. With the proper preparation, we can help them to have a much more confident and successful experience.