Litigation is a lengthy, expensive, complicated and time-consuming process. Using a specific game-plan and precise focus shall greatly enhance your client’s case and improve your case’s chances of a timely and effective resolution.
A successful trial initiates with several, principle concepts, which are: 1. Establish trust; 2. Create communication; 3. Implement a plan; 4. Attack credibility; and, 5. Protect witnesses. From the very first client meeting, no matter what kind of case you have or what side of the case you are on, you should seek to establish trust between the client and the attorney. Cultivating trust is absolutely key to a case’s success. Trust sets the stage for open discussions of the case’s evidence, both positive and negative, and allows the client and attorney to work together towards a common goal.
The attorney must also seek from the initial contact through the case’s duration to have effective communication. Combined with trust, competent communication avoids negative surprises and significant questions when the case starts the process of discovery, litigation, trial and even appellate stance.
From the moment the case comes in through the door, or lands on your desk, the litigation attorney should have a clearly articulated plan of prosecution of the case or defending one. Having a plan provides focus and direction, avoids wasting time and resources, and enhances as quick a resolution as possible. The plan should be discussed between attorney and client, so that both parties are familiar with, and embracing the litigation process, and both parties have a keen idea on the end result sought and how every step advances towards the most favorable resolution possible.
The most critical issue, no matter the case or the side of the case you are advocating, is the credibility of the case or of the defenses, of the parties and of the evidence in support of your cause. Juries are most attuned to credibility. Juries universally do not reward a party that is not credible, no matter which side of the case involved. Ensure that you are advocating the most credible position that is possible for your case’s interests and you shall go lengths to avoid critical integrity and credibility attacks. Consistently, from the initiation of the case, formulate a plan and take steps to attack the credibility of the opposing case, from the theories advanced, to the witnesses’ testimony, to the damages sought or defenses advocated, to the very integrity of the claims asserted against your case.
Credibility is so critical that, as strongly as you advance attacks on the case against your client, you must work to protect your case, client, witnesses and theories from credibility attacks. Having your client or witness impeached or criticized is just as damaging, if not worse, than your successful credibility attacks on your opponent’s case. The trust and communication discussed at the initiation will assist greatly in protecting your client and witnesses from credibility assassination.
Following these five frameworks lay the critical foundation for any case that approaches resolution to be decided by a third party—such as a judge, jury or arbitrator.