DSCN2933.JPGMy mother brought a 73 year old palm reader to Thanksgiving dinner. 

Mom:  I want to bring my friend Ed.  He is really bright.  He is an attorney and a palm reader and I share my energy with him.

Me: Mom, I have already set the tables for 27.  We do not have room.  I don’t have any plates left and had to get extra silverware from the office.

Mom:  (guilt tripping me) I never bring anyone.   He doesn’t have anywhere else to go. 

Me:  (guilt tripped yet again) Ok mom, that’s fine.  But tell him no palm reading.

Ed shows up late.  With a suspicious looking briefcase and a box of chocolates.  We have already finished our dinner.  Mom makes him a plate.  He is a nice, jovial fellow.  As soon as he’s done eating, he starts reading people’s little fingers.

I’m trying to ignore all this.  Am in another room.  Noelle comes in and says that he has declared that Ben (my 6 year old nephew) has paranormal capabilities.  Oh great.

Mom corners me.  He really wants to give you a reading Karen. 

I’m busy mom.

She bides her time.  Corners me 15 minutes later.  I sigh.  Walk to the living room. 

Okay Ed, I say with a smile.  Read away.

Sit down on the couch next to him.  Mom perches on the chair across from us.  With a flourish he whips open the briefcase.  Pulls out a magnifying glass just like the Pink Panther uses.  Puts on a large pair of spectacles.  Holds my little finger under the glass.  Shines a flashlight (where did that come from).  Quite the show.

You are very very honest, he says admiringly.

Well, that’s good, I say.

He is studying my little finger.  Turning it this way and that.  Hmming and Hawing. 

Yes, you are very honest.  You also…

He looks intently into my eyes.

You also live in the moment…you aren’t a planner.

I smile.  Well, actually Ed, I do live in the moment but I am also a planner.

Hmmm.  He says.   Let me see your little finger again…

Ed is actually quite wrong.  Trial lawyers are planners.  Our ability to act in the moment stems from our painstaking preparation. 

Preparation isn’t optional.  It is essential.  In Washington we have fairly strict pretrial discovery rules.  If we don’t disclose witnesses, evidence, and opinions on time, we can be barred from using them in trial.  This may vary  depending upon the judge.  But why take the risk.

Here is the most current version of my trial checklist.  

  • Court paperwork
    • Trial brief
    • Jury instructions uncited emailed and hard copy
    • Jury instructions cited emailed and hard copy
    • Anticipated pocket briefs
    • Joint statement of evidence
    • Evidence notebooks
    • General voir dire

 

  • Voir dire
    • Neutral statement of the case
    • Tracking chart
    • Key topic outline
    • Key points  from focus group
    • If possible – heads up juror information
    • Scissors (recommended when re-seating jurors during preemptory process)

 

  • Liability
    • Incident reports
    • Incident documentation
    • Standards, rules, codes
    • Written witness statements
    • Recorded witness statements
    • Photos
    • Video
    • Animations
    • Story boards/Visualizations
    • Poster boards of key visual evidence
    • Models
    • Physical evidence
    • 30b6 deposition designations
    • Party deposition designations
    • Original depositions for filing
    • Perpetuation deposition videos with edits per court’s rulings on objections
    • Identify all lay witnesses who will be testifying
    • Identify all expert witnesses who will be testifying and their opinions
    • Impeachment material

 

  • Damages
    • Photos/video of plaintiff before incident
    • Photos/video of plaintiff after incident
    • Relevant preincident medical records
    • Relevant post incident medical records
    • Medical bills and Medical bill summary
    • Xrays, MRI, CT films
    • Medical animations
    • Medical Diagrams and charts
    • Wage loss documentation
    • Life care plan report
    • Economic report
    • Life expectancy analysis
    • Poster boards of key visual evidence
    • Physical evidence
    • Original depositions for filing
    • Perpetuation deposition videos with edits per court’s rulings on objections
    • Identify all lay witnesses who will be testifying
    • Identify all expert witnesses who will be testifying and their opinions
    • Impeachment material

 

  • Equipment
    • Projector and screen (get preapproval from Bailiff)
    • Projector stand
    • Ipad loaded with all exhibits and deposition transcripts via an app
    • Laptop
    • Laptop stand
    • Remote Clicker for laptop
    • elmo
    • speaker
    • computer cords
    • Post its
    • Easel
    • Butcher paper
    • Pointer or laser pointer (if using television instead of projector need old fashioned pointer)
    • Powerstrip
    • Painters tape
    • Permanent marker pens in several colors
    • Thumb drive

 Photo:  John setting up trial equipment in King County Superior Court September 2012.