You have conducted as much research as possible and prepared your case. You know all the facts inside and out, and now it is time to enter your first criminal trial. The first court trial can be overwhelming – where to stand, what to say, how to say it. Unfortunately, reality is nothing like the television shows, so there’s no way for a person to tell you what to really expect. You will be nervous, but never allow the jury to see you sweat. This article will provide some practice tips to help criminal lawyers entering jury trials to keep their cool (or at least look like they have).
1. Keep A Trial Notebook
Notebooks may be considered old-hat by the younger generation, but a trial notebook can sometimes save your skin in jury trials. Trial notebooks are binders that you can add notes to and take notes from when not using them during the trial. It helps a person remain organised, particularly if you choose to use colour-coding for different sections of the case. It is recommended that you have at least three copies of everything for yourself, the judge and to mark with the court reporter.
2. A Legal Pad
As the trial notebook keeps all your current documents contained, you should have a pad to help you take notes as the trial progresses. You want to provide the jury with the impression that your client is interested in the case; as well as being able to speak with your client during the trial by writing down comments. Legal pads also allow you to make notes of items that arise during testimonies which could support or kill your case. Try to bring at least two or three pads to ensure you don’t run out of paper.
3. Rules Of Evidence
To ensure you always have an objection, it is recommended that you keep a pocket-sized rules of evidence booklet with you. This has saved many criminal lawyers in jury trials, more than once or twice or three times over. It’s not always possible to remember all rules, particularly when you’re nervous, so if you have the rules of evidence with you, you can be certain you will follow the legislation.
While there are various resources a person can use when acting as a criminal lawyer in a jury trial, the top three are some of the most important to help you appear competent in the court. If you are just beginning your career as a lawyer, it may inspire you to read about successful criminal lawyers and the journey they took to reach their current positions.