Self-representation is almost always a bad idea if you’re part of a civil or criminal trial. The stakes are too high, and most clients lack the requisite legal knowledge. You need a skilled trial attorney who has what it takes to fight in court. This article outlines how a trial attorney can help you win your case.
Experienced Colorado Trial Attorneys
The trial attorneys at Robinson & Henry, P.C. are your lighthouse in the storms that come with a complicated legal matter. We will thoroughly analyze every aspect of your case outside the courtroom so we can zealously advocate for you inside the courtroom. Call 303-688-0944 today to begin your free case assessment.
How a Trial Attorney Can Help You Win Your Can
We all have something that comes easy for us. Maybe you’ve always had a knack for playing sports. Perhaps you’re musically inclined – no instrument is a stranger. Well, you can think of lawyers in the same way. Some attorneys shine when it comes to writing rock-solid contracts. Others have the necessary qualities to be successful trial lawyers.
Let’s find out how a good trial attorney can help you win your case.
Preparing for Trial
Develop a Story
Trial attorneys are excellent storytellers. An experienced trial attorney will develop a theme and a theory of the case that offers a persuasive argument.
It’s human nature to search for a compelling narrative, especially in complicated situations like trials. The more captivating your story is, the better your chances are of reaching a favorable outcome.
Focus on the Facts
While crafting a compelling story is important in Colorado trials, that narrative cannot come at the expense of the facts.
Your trial attorney will base the theme on the facts of the case. The facts will have been thoroughly studied and analyzed in the context of Colorado law. A good trial attorney always provides evidence to support the facts.
Preparation is Key
The courtroom is not the place to hone your improvisational skills. The best trial attorneys begin preparation far in advance of the trial date.
This doesn’t mean your case won’t experience any curveballs. However, the well-prepared trial attorney will have a contingency plan in place in anticipation of any surprises.
Selecting and Organizing Trial Exhibits
In preparation for trial, parties must “attach to the proposed trial management order a list of exhibits including physical evidence which the party intends to introduce at trial.” Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure 16(f)(3)(VI)(B)
There are different ways to organize the list of exhibits, and some judges may mandate a particular format in their pretrial orders. Trial Preparation: Preparing Visuals, Trial Exhibits, and Demonstrative Exhibits (CO)
A seasoned trial attorney will organize trial exhibits in a logical way that tells a story. Note that:
- “Exhibit 1” or “Exhibit A” is a critical document in the case
- Avoid burying a critical document in between other exhibits that are peripheral to the case
- Wherever possible, the trial exhibits should be grouped in a logical way (i.e. chronologically, by topic, or by witness)
Use of Visual Aids and Demonstrative Exhibits
Many people believe that if a trial attorney provides enough visual aids and trial exhibits, the court will see his or her client’s side of the case.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of visuals doesn’t stem from color or other aesthetics. Their effectiveness depends on how clearly they communicate the message and how the visual tone impacts the court’s perception of the client’s credibility.
“The visuals, the trial exhibits, and demonstrative aids all must message the same thing — credibility.” Trial Preparation: Preparing Visuals, Trial Exhibits, and Demonstrative Exhibits (CO)
Trial preparation doesn’t mean just formulating your arguments. A successful trial attorney will make sure the client feels confident walking into the courtroom.
A good trial attorney prioritizes client involvement at every stage. Together, the trial attorney and the client will decide on the legal and factual story to tell. From there, they will determine how best to organize the evidence so that they can tell the story effectively.
Going to Trial
Opening Statement: Connecting with the Jury
An opening statement is essentially a road map of what the evidence will be at trial and what it means:
Melton v. Larrabee, 832 P.2d 1069, 1070 (Colo. App. 1992)
The opening statement is paramount. It’s the court’s first impression, and you have their full attention. This is the time for your trial attorney to connect with the jury and set the tone for your case.
According to the American Bar Association, opening statements have the most impact when they:
- make sense
- are plainly stated
- have a clear beginning, middle, and end
Stick to the Theme
The theme of your case will be immediately clear in your trial attorney’s opening statement. The theme should be succinct, but also make enough of an impression to stay with the jurors throughout the court proceedings.
Clarifying Key Details
An effective trial attorney will touch on the following in an opening statement:
- the nature of the matter
- facts about all involved parties
- identification of legal issues
- identification of facts in dispute
- what evidence will be presented
- the outcome that is sought
During the Trial: Evidence and Witnesses
An experienced trial attorney knows what kind of and how much evidence to present during the trial.
Take cumulative evidence, for example. Cumulative evidence can help reinforce an issue that has already been established. However, calling dozens of witnesses who provide no unique testimony bogs down the trial process.
In fact, the court can exclude cumulative evidence if it feels that it’s a waste of time, misleads the jury, and confuses the issues.
“Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.” Colorado Rules of Evidence Rule 403
A good trial lawyer possesses excellent judgment on when to present evidence, how much to introduce, and when to object to evidence being presented.
Listening to Witnesses
Trial lawyers are excellent listeners. If you think these qualities are only important during cross-examination, you would be wrong.
A good trial lawyer must be able to listen to what their own witnesses are saying so their client’s narrative is adequately told through each witness.
And, of course, a skilled trial attorney will carefully listen and analyze the other side’s witnesses so as to ask the right questions on cross-examination.
This is where the trial attorney can help jurors make sense of everything they’ve heard. Closing arguments are a time to tie all the evidence together and prove your case.
If possible, the closing argument should be consistent with the opening argument.
Hire an Experienced Trial Attorney
A courtroom trial is one of the most stressful experiences of a person’s life. Few people can understand the anxiety you how you are feeling if you are part of a civil or criminal trial. In addition to reducing your stress, a trial attorney can help you win your case. Robinson & Henry trial attorneys know how to present the facts of your case in the best possible light for a judge or jury. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your free case assessment.