Thursday, December 01, 2005

Back in the Blogging Saddle

I just finished my first real trial and we won. The case involved the dissolution of a business partnership in a small restaurant that never made any money, and I was part of counsel for defendants.

Although I didn't try the case alone, I think I probably could have and still won given that plaintiff's counsel did just about everything you shouldn't do in a case that has gone to trial. First and foremost, call the court if you think you're going to be late. In an age where cell phones are as common as traffic jams in Southern California, there really is no excuse for not informing the court that you aren't going to make the designated trial time.

Second, don't list a witness and call that person to the stand if you've never talked to him or her before, and have no idea what he or she is going to say. On two separate occasions, with the same witness, plaintiff's counsel was chewed out by the presiding judge for conducting an examination that was really a deposition. (Depositions are conducted during the discovery phase of litigation, not trial).

Last, if you're arguing that your client is entitled to money, give a specific dollar amount. If you don't, and you have a winning argument (which wasn't the case here), the judge or jury just may give you what you're asking for: nothing.